East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival
|Location(s)||Byron Bay, Australia|
|Founded by||Keven Oxford|
|Date(s)||Easter long weekend|
The East Coast International Blues & Roots Music Festival, also known as Byron Bay Bluesfest, is an annual music festival held for five days over the Easter long weekend at Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia. It features a large selection of blues and roots performers, both international and Australian.
The festival began in 1990 as a four day indoor event at The Arts Factory in Byron Bay, drawing a capacity crowd of 6,000 people in its first year. The event moved outdoors to Belongil Fields (1993–1996), then Red Devil Park (1997–2007), where in 2007 capacity was 16,000 attendees a day. The festival moved back to Belongil Fields in 2008–09. After running four stages for some years, it has run five stages since 2008. In 2010 the event moved to a new permanent home at Tyagarah, about 15 minutes drive north of Byron Bay. On most days performances begin around noon and end at midnight.
The festival won the Robert Helpmann Award for Best Contemporary Music Festival in Australia for 2004 and 2005. It was a finalist in the US-based Pollstar Concert Industry Awards for two years, placing the festival alongside names like Montreux and Glastonbury.
In December 2004, Keven Oxford, a director and founder of the event, left the festival and sold his 50% share of the company to a consortium comprising Michael Chugg (managing director of Sydney-based Michael Chugg Entertainment), Daryl Herbert (CEO of Melbourne-based Definitive Events) and Glenn Wheatley (CEO of Melbourne-based Talentworks), who ran the festival with co-founder Peter Noble. Noble bought out the consortium in 2008 and now owns the festival alone.
The festival has sister events including West Coast Blues & Roots Festival, put on by Sunset Events in Western Australia, and the Point Nepean Music Festival which ran in Victoria in 2008, which feature similar artists.
The line-up for the 2007 festival included:
The 2008 festival was held at the 26 acres (110,000 m2) Belongil Fields, the original outdoor venue. The 2008 festival had more food and craft stalls, a covered area where festival goers could eat at tables, a chill-out area, plus an area for an additional, fifth stage.
Artists in 2008 included Buddy Guy, Eskimo Joe, The John Butler Trio, Gotye, The Beautiful Girls, Newton Faulkner, Seasick Steve, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, John P. Hammond, John Hiatt, Ray Davies, Maceo Parker, Loudon Wainwright III, Ozomatli, Ruthie Foster, Jake Shimabukuro, Keith Urban, Amali Ward, Lior, MOFRO, Dan Sultan, Jeff Lang, The Cat Empire, Clare Bowditch, Raul Midon and Xavier Rudd.
The line-up for the 2011 festival included:
The line-up for the 2012 festival included:
Thursday, 28 March
Friday, 29 March
Saturday 30, March
Sunday, 31 March
Monday, 1 April
- "Bluesfest buy-out". dBMagazine (451). 15 October 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2009.
- East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival (December 1, 2004). Bluesfest Change Of Ownership.