One of the most beloved festivals in Australia, the Byron Bay Bluesfest attracts some of the best blue and roots performers from across the globe. This year's lineup includes The National, City and Colour and UB40. The festival also boasts wonderful camping grounds and a number of great food and beverage outlets.
Reasons to attend
1. Chill out as you listen to iconic stars who in years past have included Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, Robert Plant, Joan Armatrading, BB King and Elvis Costello – musicians whose careers have only lasted this long because they are really good. The event has a reputation for securing very big names and in recent years acts such as the Blind Boys of Alabama and Crosby, Stills & Nash and Paul Simon have also performed here.
2. Wander round the seven stages of the purpose-built festival site and make your own discoveries among the new acts. It’s an unforgettable thrill watching a master you’ve always dreamed of seeing live, but it’s just as good being there at the start of new musical career. And with 100 different bands performing over 230 gigs over the festival duration, there’s plenty of talent to choose from.
3. Prepare yourself for the abundance of great food stalls from Japanese, Indian, Italian, Brazilian and Mexican just to name a few, there is something to satisfy all palates!
4. Prepare to be surprised. It’s not unusual at Bluesfest for musicians from one band to get up on stage and make guest appearances with other acts which means you’ll be seeing unique performances.
5. Pack your tent and enjoy the authentic music festival experience under the night sky. More than 5500 fans sleep out on the festival's designated campsites. Of course, if you prefer the comfort of a bed there is plenty of accommodation at Byron Bay and other local towns.
6. Relax knowing that Bluesfest is extremely well organised and safe. After 25 years, you’d expect it to be. It’s regularly acknowledged as Australia’s best run and pre-eminent music festival.
7. Don’t worry about being too old or too young. One of the great charms of Bluesfest is its appeal across all ages. Everyone is in harmony, with music from every genre from blues and big band to reggae and soul.
8. Don’t feel guilty about the impact on the planet. All leftover food from Bluesfest Catering is donated to local charities, and in 2014 four tonnes of organic waste from the festival was given to a local pig farmer.
9. Bluesfest is great for people watching, get amongst it and dress up for the festival or just enjoy the colourful and creative array of outfits.
10. After the festival, you can hang out in Byron Bay. Australia’s most easterly town, with fabulous beaches and parks, restaurants and shops, is celebrated for its alternative lifestyle and huge range of activities. You can expect temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius during Easter – perfect conditions in which to unwind after a five-day music festival.
What to look out for
Don’t feel you need to wait until the 2015 line-up is announced in late August before you book. The headline acts are always household names, and you can make big savings on the tickets if you book early each year.
Veteran festival-goers recommend camping on site. That way there’s no parking or travelling time, and you're just a few steps away from the Bluesfest entrance. If you haven’t got a tent, the organisers offer a “Tent Motel” or upmarket “glamping” at the Tipi Village.
Follow Bluesfest on Facebook or Twitter so you get to know who is playing and when, and check out “the Director’s Pick” in the program, always a good guide.
How to get there
The closest airports are Ballina and Gold Coast Airports, both 45 minutes by car. Brisbane International Airport is another option, two hours by car.
Byron Bay is well served by buses, and once you're in the town, regular shuttle buses run to the Bluesfest site.
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