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May 18, 2024

Byron bids farewell to a blue-sky Bluesfest

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The big tops are slowly coming down, instruments are being carefully stowed back in their cases, and out-of-town punters are recovering on the beach or slowly turning their attention toward home.

Such is the gradual wind down from the 34th edition of the Byron Bay Bluesfest, an event bathed in golden sunshine and tasty tunes from across the euphonic universe.

Attendance numbers may have been down this year, but around 60,000 people still poured into Tyagrah for the five-day festival.

Buddy Guy was in full swing at his last Bluesfest performance ever! Photo Tree Faerie

The slightly smaller crowd made it easier for people to move around the site and get close to their musical heroes, as well as easing the access and egress issues that impacted last year’s event.

Incredibly the weather was fine across virtually the entire length of the festival, meaning punters could trade in their wellies for shorts and thongs.

Allan and Cait. Photo Tree Faerie.

The general consensus was that this year’s Bluesfest was a success, at least from the people’s perspective, and for some the show will roll on with a number of artists now embarking on local, state and nation-wide tours.

Gang of Youths at Bluesfest 2023
Gang of Youths. Photo David Lowe.

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  1. The article highlights the economic and social benefits of Bluesfest, including job creation, increased tourism, and support for local businesses. It’s also inspiring to hear from festival-goers who share their experiences and memories of the event.

  2. Enough false reporting, it was very ordinary. The numbers were not even close to the figures being thrown around. Perhaps someone should interview vendors who have just done their arses. The exorbitant charges, and the don’t care attitude of management.

  3. Great to have the picture off the local girls from husseys hicks as the first picture you see when I opened up my google new.so proud off these gi r ls yeha.remember the name HUSSEY HICKS get a chance to see them you are mad if you don’t.

  4. Long term, this year’s BF illustrated why it is dying and why it will die. In short – the changes to tent capacity and the loss of the smaller, more intimate tents. When I first went, there were 7 tents of varying size. Now there are 4. The destruction of the “village” atmosphere as they lock down shops and smaller food vendors to build beer tents. More money in beer than the blues it would seem, but the festival owner is inordinately fond of money. When I first went to bf there were about 183 sets by around 140 different artists. This year there were 134 by 70. Holding prices is a canard when you are actually selling less for the same money.
    The bookings are so repetitive year to year. How many times has Mavis Staples or Xavier Rudd been booked? Or the Cat Empire?
    And worst of all BF has to start booking more entertainers and fewer activists. It is positively soul crushing to hear the same old lefty agenda from so many acts. Shut up and play yer guitar.

    70000+ fewer tickets sold proves my point I think – but Benjamin the breakdancer is a legend!

  5. Bus fares @ $20 round trip, too much rock n roll/pop, merch, food and beer prices way too high, and not enough Blues!!! But you get to see Keb Mo, Jo Bonnemassa, Buddy Guy and Beth Hart up close. It was my 28th Bluesfest and I agree dollars are taking precedence over the Blues. Still a good festival but it needs a rethink.

  6. Festival well organised this year after 2022 debacle (tradgedy on all fronts) Good work on drainage too . Kinda dumbed down event with not enough artists and too many no shows. Drinks (and food although felt sorry for vendors with no customers) prices ridiculous and obscene.


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