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Bluesfest wins top tourism award as extra big lineup announced

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D'Angelo will play Bluesfest with his band The Vanguard. Image Forest Hills
D’Angelo will play Bluesfest with his band The Vanguard. Image Forest Hills

Byron Bay Bluesfest, which has just announced its latest lineup for its star-studded bill next year, has won the award for major festivals and events at the 2015 NSW Tourism Awards.

The festival was one of a number of northern rivers organisations picking up a gong at the awards’ gala dinner at Dockside Pavilion in Darling Harbour, Sydney.

Cape Byron State Conservation Area (CBSCA) won the award under the tourist attraction category, the Arakwal Dolphin Dreaming and CBSCA won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism award, while Flash Camp won the specialised tourism services award.

Managed by the tourism industry division of the NSW Business Chamber, the state’s peak business organisation, and supported by Destination NSW, the NSW Tourism Awards celebrate tourism businesses that have demonstrated outstanding achievement and success throughout the year.

Thirty award winners were announced in a range of categories with Taronga Zoo recognised as the state’s best Major Tourist Attraction, entering the NSW Tourism Awards Hall of Fame.

Winners from 26 categories will advance to the 2015 QANTAS Australian Tourism Awards to be held at the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre on Friday 5th February 2016.

Bluesfest’s contemporary focus

Meanwhile, the 27th Bluesfest lineup for Easter 2016 keeps getting bigger and better.

Only three weeks after the last announcement, which was headlined by Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds & His Greatest Hits for the last time, Bluesfest managers say the latest artist release focuses on contemporary musicians ‘who are fast becoming the avant-garde of music today’.

With the addition of two time Grammy Award winner D’Angelo (touring with his current talent-fuelled band, The Vanguard) to the Thursday night of Bluesfest, the tally of Grammy Winners performing at Bluesfest 2016 to date has risen to 10 artists, sharing a total of 22 Grammys between them.

D’Angelo’s star has been rising since he dropped his debut, platinum selling album, Brown Sugar in 1995.

From winning two Grammys in 2001 (for Best R&B Album & Best R&B Vocal Performance for his second album, Voodoo) and three Soul Train Music Awards in 1996 to his latest and universally acclaimed album, Black Messiah which marked his triumphant return to music after nearly a decade, debuting at number five in its first week of release on the Billboard 200 music chart.

This multi-faceted, multi-talented, genre bending artist fuses the best of R&B, soul, blues, gospel, jazz-fusion and psychedelic rock.

Also added to the Bluesfest bill are indie rock and blues rock Californian band Cold War Kids, bringing their multiple hits to Bluesfest, including their most recent hit ‘First’ which peaked at #1 on Billboard’s alternative songs chart and rock airplay charts.

Also joining are US folk rock and Americana group Houndmouth, Oakland’s Black Roots star Fantastic Negrito, who was the winner of the US National Public Radio’s (NPR) Tiny Desk Concert contest in April for best new artist and San Francisco funk stars Con Brio.

Hawaiian roots reggae rising star Mike Love, Iceland’s current #1 band Kaleo and Canada’s exciting new Juno Award winning Americana/country group The Bros. Landreth are also featured.

This announcement also includes the first round of Australian artists added to the bill and features two artists who have been endorsed by music icon Prince; Future Soul band Hiatus Kaiyote who are nominated for Best Urban Album at the 2015 ARIA Awards and Melbourne’s Harts (who Prince flew out to the US to meet and perform with).

Other Aussie artists featured in this announce include Mojo Juju, Kim Churchill, Pierce Brothers and Steve Smyth, who won over many fans at Bluesfest 2015.

Many of the new artists added today will be performing on the opening night of Bluesfest, Thursday 24th of March. Check out the daily playing schedule on www.bluesfest.com.au.


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