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Robert Planhorit
Bluesfest has undoubtedly become one of the world’s finest music festivals, one which delivers year after year and 2018 will be no different. The first line up has just been announced and includes some genuine music icons. The 29th annual Bluesfest will run from Thursday 29 March to Monday 2nd April, 2018

Here’s the first artist announcement:

Bluesfest’s first artist announcement for 2018 is their biggest ever.  Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters return to thrill audiences with their much loved music. 2018 is the 50 year celebration of Led Zeppelin’s first ever performance. This milestone event will be celebrated at Bluesfest when they perform a number of Led Zeppelin classics. International superstar Lionel Richie will bring his full arena spectacular to Byron Bay this Easter. Local legends The John Butler Trio and Tash Sultana head up the Australian contingent, and CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers and The New Power Generation will bring the funk during their electric, high-energy sets.

Bluesfest director Peter Noble comments on the announcement:
“Well here it is, the first of our announcements for Bluesfest 2018, and what an announcement it is! Lionel Richie, Robert Plant, The New Power Generation, CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers, Jose Gonzalez, First Aid Kit plus two of Australia’s greatest artists The John Butler Trio and Tash Sultana, who is on fire right now.”

“There is lots more from Morcheeba, the amazing Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real! Eric Gales and the California Honeydrops returning by popular demand from the last festival. We have lots of Blues in this announcement too….and we are just getting started. We are going to have a great festival in 2018! Hope to see you there.”

Music lovers from across Australia will visit the beautiful Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, just outside Byron Bay over the Easter long weekend (Thursday 29th March to Monday 2nd of April 2018) for the 29th Annual Bluesfest. During the Festival they will enjoy 12 hours of music each day on multiple stages, incredible food and market stalls and on site camping in a range of accommodation options.

Robert Plant, the legendary singer of Led Zeppelin returns to Bluesfest along with his band, The Sensational Space Shifters. With his new album ‘Carry Fire’ due out next month, and the incredible milestone of 50 years since Led Zeppelin’s their first performance, it promises to be a powerful performance that is not to be missed for any true fan.

Lionel Richie has a discography of albums and singles second to none and is part of the fabric of American pop music. In fact, Lionel Richie and Irving Berlin are the only two songwriters in history to achieve the honour of having #1 records for nine consecutive years. With hits including “Hello”, “Endless Love”, “Brick House”, “Easy”, “Dancing on the Ceiling”, “Three Times a Lady” and of course “All Night Long” Bluesfest attendees are in for a real treat as this true icon of modern music plays All The Hits at Bluesfest on Easter Monday.

The John Butler Trio will be making their 13th appearance at Bluesfest in 2018. A live set from the JBT is an awe-inspiring show which captivates the audience and always includes a good dose of those all-time favourites such as ‘Zebra’, ‘Better Than’ and the incredible instrumental ‘Ocean’, as well as songs from their latest album “Flesh & Blood”. Their inclusion in the line-up will make loyal JBT and Bluesfest fans very happy as they continually rate in our most requested artists list.

Bluesfest welcomes Tash Sultana, one of Australia’s most talented up and coming artists to their stage in 2018. As a young, dynamic Melbourne artist, Tash has been creating waves and generating massive buzz by playing sold out shows all over the world. Her vocal shines with a magical quality, she has a natural gift for melody and her virtuosic guitar playing is from another planet. Tash is the very definition of a Bluesfest artist, and will no doubt play one of the most talked about sets at the festival

Those who knew Prince knew that he was always pushing himself and experimenting with new sounds, and the musical chemistry of working with new musicians was a part of that process. When he formed The New Power Generation (The NPG)  in 1990 they went on together to create ‘Diamond & Pearls’ a record that sparked more hits on the Billboard charts than any other Prince album released since Purple Rain. It is an honor to welcome original members of The New Power Generation to the Bluesfest stage in 2018. Their intent is to honor their boss, their mentor and his music, and to give fans a chance to celebrate and say goodbye to one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

One of the most influential artists in modern music Nile Rodgers along with his band CHIC will also be playing Bluesfest next year. The “Le Freak” singer is also responsible for hits by artists including David Bowie, Madonna and more recently Get Lucky by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams.

Known for his meaningful lyrics and artfully arranged songs, Bluesfest is thrilled that José González will make his debut at the festival in 2018. Mastering the rare craft of spellbinding audiences armed with his classical guitar and gentle melodies, José González and his band will astound Bluesfest with performances imbued with his daringly understated song-craft and lyrical air of reflection.

The heavenly sounds of First Aid Kit will ring out through Bluesfest in 2018. The Söderberg sisters (also known as First Aid Kit) had been earning a stellar reputation recording and performing as a teenaged duo in Sweden when their 2008 cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” started turning heads around the world. Their breakthrough LP ‘The Lion’s Roar’ was extremely well received by fans and critics, who are now eagerly anticipating the groups upcoming album Stay Gold –due out later this year. Bluesfest audiences will fall in love with their beautiful folk inspired harmonies.

Get ready to bliss out on the sweet, sensual vocals of Skye Edwards as Morcheeba return to Bluesfest in 2018. Morcheeba define the ‘chill out’ genre and are the perfect antidote to a big night, with songs like “Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day”, “The Sea”,  “Even Though” and “Otherwise” have been played in café’s, lounge rooms and at Sunday sessions around the world.

Jam band fans rejoice! Legendary Rock torchbearers, Gov’t Mule are returning to Bluesfest hot off the back of the release of a new archival album entitled The Tel-Star Sessions. Gov’t Mule has showcased its virtuosity, intelligence and breadth for more than two decades, which have encompassed 15 studio and live albums, millions of album and track sales and thousands of performances. The band has become a human encyclopaedia of timeless American music while adding to that canon with their signature sound. Their many fans at Bluesfest will relish the chance to hear their early improvisational interplay, an impressive skill that has since become a signature of Gov’t Mule’s albums and live shows.

Electric Blues legend Joe Louis Walker returns to Bluesfest for the fifth time in 2018. Walker is a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner. His latest acclaimed album ‘Everybody Wants a Piece’ was nominated for a Grammy and cements his legacy as a prolific torchbearer for the Blues.

The buzz around the Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real was immense when they last played Bluesfest in 2016, and has done nothing but intensify over the past 2 years. Lukas first piqued music lovers’ attention on his dad Willie Nelson’s 2012 album, Heroes when their voices blended with potent DNA. Two years later, life took another turn skyward when Neil Young decided to make Promise of the Real his touring and studio band. Young has guided the grateful young musicians ever since as they’ve backed the legend on tour and on his two most recent albums.
Bluesfest will be in for a treat when Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real deliver their self-described blend of ‘Cowboy Hippy Surf Rock’ in Byron Bay next Easter.

They were the talk of the festival in 2017, so with it is with great pleasure that Bluesfest welcomes back The California Honeydrops in 2018. The California Honeydrops don’t just play music—they throw parties. Led by dynamic vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski, and drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line, the Honeydrops bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to their shows.

Eric Gales had Bluesfest audiences screaming for more in 2017, so we had to bring him back to play again in 2018. As both an African-American left-handed guitarist of extraordinary ability and an expressive vocalist, it is natural for people to compare Eric to Hendrix but Eric has developed a unique hybrid Blues/rock sound that also draws upon influences as diverse as Albert King and Eric Johnson. With a unique blend of rock, funk and Blues styles, Eric Gales stands head and shoulders among other guitarists in his genre and is out to blow your mind and expand your musical horizons. As many people at Bluesfest 2017 can attest, there has never been a better time to see Eric Gales live. If you missed him last time, don’t make that same mistake again!

Due to popular demand Dumpstaphunk are coming back to Bluesfest in 2018. The group stand out among New Orleans’ best as one of the funkiest bands to ever come out from the Crescent City. In Big Easy tradition, the former band members of Keith Richards band, The X-Pensive Winos, Ivan and Ian Neville send the groove into overdrive with Hammond B3 keys and funky guitar riffs, all backed up by duelling baselines from Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III, the dirtiest rhythm section on the planet.

Bluesfest is proud to welcome 2017 Grammy winning Blues legend, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, and Rolling Stone magazine named “King of the Chitlin’ Circuit” Bobby Rush to the festival for the first time. A true Mississippi Bluesman, Rush estimates that he has cut over 300 songs in his 60 year career. He has been honored with four Grammy nominations, as well as 41 nominations and 10 awards from the Blues Foundation, and a 2006 induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. Don’t miss this legend as he makes his long awaited debut at Bluesfest.

Rick Estrin and The Nightcats are bringing the party to Bluesfest in 2018! Every night that award-winning harmonica player, singer and songwriter Rick Estrin and his cohorts The Nightcats perform live— wherever in the world that may be—a crowd of dancing, shouting, laughing and cheering people will be enjoying some of the best live music they’ve ever heard. The band will serve up fresh and modern original Blues injected with a solid dose of gritty roadhouse Rock ‘n’ Roll which is sure to delight Bluesfest audiences.

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