Bluesfest 2024

Michelle East
27th Mar 2024

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2024 35th Anniversary Guide

Is there a better way to spend the Easter break than at Byron Bay Bluesfest?

Over 125 performers, 700 musicians, 5 stages. 5 days of quality music in the company of 90,000 + of the nicest music enthusiasts, solo adventurers, friends, and families. People of all ages living their best lives in the glorious Byron and surrounds. While Byron Bay Bluesfest is grounded in blues and roots, it embraces rock, country, soul, jazz, folk, pop, hip hop, world and just about every other genre you care to name. A carefully curated program of international and local artists, balancing legacy acts with mid-career and up and coming acts. A well-engineered site making the mud-fests a thing of the past. 35 years of organising one of the highly anticipated festivals globally, you are in good hands.

Haven’t decided whether to go yet? Let me make the decision for you. Jump online and buy tickets for as many days as you can afford. You will not regret it. 5 day pass = cost of 3 headliner city shows. 3 day pass = cost of 2 headliner city shows. 1 day pass = cost of 1 headliner show. The value is undeniable. Sure, you’ve got to factor in accommodation in a time of tightening belts. If you can swing it, it will be the best value holiday on offer this year.

Top Five Headliners

Who's counting?

Thursday: Elvis Costello & The Imposters were a Covid casualty last year, so their legion of fans will be overjoyed that they are playing 90 min sets on Thursday and Friday. With 40 years of classic songs across 33 albums, you might have some catching up. Will break away to catch US rockers Portugal. The Man whose only set is tonight.

Friday: Snarky Puppy are an impossibly sized collective of virtuoso musicians. Bringing twenty members of the rotating collective is just nuts but I am so happy they are playing Friday and Saturday. Music with a joyous groove plus intelligence to keep jazz heads nerding out. If you didn’t catch one of their sets, you’d be doing yourself a great disservice. Not the headliners tonight but my pick of the day. The headliner Jack Johnson who is doing a 2 hour set. It’s almost against the law not to invite Jack each year. Happily, you can see both as well as catch The Dead South for their modern take on folk-bluegrass today.

Saturday: Tom Jones is one of the greatest live performers of all time, his 90 min set is not to be missed. His rich baritone is still magnificent at 83 years. Yes, expect underwear and a very good time. If guitar driven roots rock is more your thing, you are going to need to catch Tedeschi Trucks Band today or tomorrow.

Sunday: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals first appeared at Bluesfest in 1996 and are regular visitors responsible for many special Bluesfest moments. Essential as longtime fan of Ben Harper as incredible songwriter, social activist, and slide guitarist. 18 albums and several Grammy’s, able to bounce across blues, gospel, soul, reggae, and pop genres. Their only Australian show and first here since 2019. Latest album ‘Wide Open Light’ includes a duet with Jack Jonhson. Harper has also written songs for other acts on today (Taj Mahal, Rickie Lee Jones, The Blind Boys of Alabama) Expecting they’ll drop into each other’s sets. Jimmy Barnes will be warmly welcomed back to the stage after recent health dramas.

Monday: If I have somehow made it through the weekend without catching Here Come The Mummies, I’ll be up for some of their funk-rock chaos. Infectious Grooves are a mind-boggling supergroup with Suicidal Tendencies’ Mike Muir out front, bandmate Dean Pleasants is joined by Velvet Revolver’s Dave Kushner on guitar, Metalica’s Robert Trujilo on base, and former Slipnot drummer Jay Weinberg. What an insane wrap up to Bluesfest. I will be bouncing out on a funk metal high!

Five home grown acts you should see

Taj Farrant is only 14 years old and already wowing the industry as an exceptional guitarist. Think Steve Ray Vaughan. Playing early but do make the effort to go see him. Fiona Boyes has been nominated for 8 USA Blues Music Awards and the only Australian to be so highly recognised. Indie folk blues duo Pierce Brothers hard work touring as support band was rewarded with first headline tour last year and chart success. Likely to be your last chance to see them in the intimate setting of Delta on Saturday. Brad Cox is well known to country music fans, but have you seen him live? Sunday is your chance. Roshani’s one woman show was the ‘breakthrough artist’ from last year. Many of our favourite blues rock singers are on the program (Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, Peter Garrett, Dan Sultan, The Cruel Sea, The Teskey Brothers etc) but my challenge to you is to also see someone you don’t know or would not normally see.

Five pro-tips from a Bluesfest veteran

Preparation. You’ve got your festival tickets, but have you got your bus or parking tickets? This year all transport requires prepaid daily tickets, so jump online and buy now. Do not forget your photo ID for the initial wrist banding or you’ll be going back to your accommodation or all the way home to get it. The weather is looking good with only 3-5 mm rain forecast each day, that’s barely enough to wet your hair. Bring your gumboots and poncho/rain jacket anyway. Those tricksters at the BOM might be wrong. Comfy shoes for the 10,000+ steps you’ll easily do each day. Refillable water bottle for the free water onsite. Hat and sunscreen for the day, mozzie repellent for dusk, hoodie for the way home. The hyper prepared will rent a locker in advance to stash their carry. Check the website for the lists of things you can and can’t bring.

Arrive Wednesday. Skip the Thursday airport chaos and the slow crawl up/down the Pacific Highway. Arrive relaxed. Stock up. Have a swim. Soak up the cruisy vibe in town. If camping, stake out the best site and settle in with the extra Welcome Wednesday night program (Brotherhood of the Blues, eMDee, Taj Farrant). Look beyond the headliners. Every year I diligently plan my schedule using the Bluesfest app and [Spotify playlist] ( Then I turn up and just go with the flow. Reliably the best of the festival will have performed in one of the smaller tents. Here you will see some of the best acts in the world in an intimate setting, the early career artist who has been given several years to build an audience and the joy of new discoveries. Watching a talented artist progress from a small tent to the Mojo is a particular joy of Byron Bay Bluesfest commitment to artist development. Don’t be a dick head with a chair. If you do bring a folding chair, respect the instruction not to bring it inside the tents. There are designated areas for sitting outside and large screens, so you won’t miss anything. Don’t be that person who ‘reserves’ the provided seats they are not using for the next half hour. Let other festival goers take a load off.

Buy a ticket for next year before you leave. Biggest discount for next year is only available onsite. Make sure you invest before the last day.

See you there!

Byron Bay Bluesfest Thursday 28 March to Monday 1 April 2024

Byron Events Farm, Tyagarah, NSW Australia

Tickets 1 day, 3 day and 5 day entry. VIP packages. Camping, glamping, and RVs. Parking and bus transfers.