Australia’s Byron Bay Bluesfest will celebrate its 30-year anniversary, and has recently announced the first round of star-studded artists in the lineup.
The festival, set to take place from April 18 through April 22, will feature Hawaiian legend Jack Johnson and folk artist Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals. Other notable artists on the bill include Kasey Chambers, Kurt Vile, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Snarky Puppy, Tommy Emmanuel, Allen Stone, Richard Clapton, and many others will also take the stage.
“Our 30th anniversary Bluesfest will be a major event in a long line of great festivals,” Festival Director Peter Noble said in a statement. “We will only turn 30 once, and we intend to make this edition truly memorable.”
While only the first round of artists have been confirmed, concertgoers can expect many more announcements to come, especially because this is a special year for the festival. Check out the full list of artists here.
After the announcement, the activist group LISTEN took to Facebook, bashing the festival for not being diverse, and only announcing a male-dominated lineup.
The festival responded to criticism, claiming that they are “conscious of booking a variety of acts from all walks of life.”
“Take a look back over the years at our lineup and you’ll see the amazing diversity of cultures and genres,” the festival said. “We host the Boomerang festival in conjunction with Bluesfest and celebrate Indigenous and local acts as well. Unlike other festivals we have more than one major announcement in the lead up, don’t judge too soon and stay tuned for more to come.”
While LISTEN agrees that the festival is bound to announce female artists in the coming weeks and months, they said the festival should still acknowledge that a male-dominated lineup “sends a message.”
“Your job is to reflect the diversity of the industry,” LISTEN said.
Five day, three day and single day passes to the festival are now available. For more information, visit their website.