Let there be no doubt: Bluesfest has celebrated a triumphant 35 years of amazing live music, and we’re not done yet.

Under the stewardship and deft musical ear of festival director Peter Noble OAM, Bluesfest has blazed trails, helped break new talent, reintroduced masters to new audiences, rolled with the punches, adapted to the times and earned pride of place in the hearts and minds of artists and patrons alike to cement its status as one of the world’s leading contemporary music festivals.

Taj Mahal, photo Alex Hallag

There’s a reason the event is one of Australia’s most awarded – from six Australian Event of the Year awards and 10 nominations by industry bible Pollstar, as Best International Festival of the Year, Bluesfest and Peter Noble are renowned for consistent excellence.

It’s a reputation built on trust. Trust that the bill will thrill with old favourites, new discoveries, and strange delights. Trust that the team that puts the event together never rests on its laurels.

Bluesfest’s rich 35 years of fine-tuning and improving the experience for artists and their audiences have enabled the festival to create and nurture a space for the past and the future to meet in the present and tip their hats to the blues.

And this year’s tale of two Taj-es was a perfect example.

GRAMMY-winning Blues Hall of Famer Taj Mahal, who played an exclusive Australian show at Bluesfest to mark his 10th appearance at the event, and homegrown 14-year-old guitar wonder and certain future Grammy winner Taj Farrant beautifully bookend the marvellous musical alchemy blues embodies.

In between, well, we’ve enjoyed it all.

From returning favourites Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Blind Boys of Alabama and The Cruel Sea to Playing For Change, the mastery of golden-voiced showman Tom Jones, live superstars Tedeschi Trucks Band, and 19-Twenty, the depth of talent on show was staggering.

Bluesfest is a team sport from the team of paid and volunteer workers to stallholders, crowds and campers, the performing artists and their crews, and the wider musical and local communities.

And nowhere was that more evident than front and centre across our stages.

Ziggy Alberts joined Jack Johnson during his set; the Blind Boys turned choir for Tom Jones, and Bluesfest star punter Kasey Chambers joined Sweet Talk and The Teskeys Brothers.

Of course, as far as Easter resurrections go, it was hard to beat the heartfelt, overflowing Mojo tent welcome for national treasure Jimmy Barnes’s return to live performing on Sunday night after life-saving heart surgery.

Jimmy was joined by some of his favourite fellow performers, including fellow Bluesfest stars Tommy Emmanuel and Josh Teskey, as well as musical royalty Bernard Fanning.

The best was saved for last when Ian Moss joined the Barnes family onstage for three blinding Cold Chisel classics: When the War is Over, Flame Trees, and Khe Sanh, in one of the extra-long weekend’s biggest singalongs.

Taj Farrant wasn’t the only discovery on many punters’ programs this year.

Here Come the Mummies rocked our socks off while Infectious Grooves’ festival debut was a masterclass in tight, phat fun!

The brains behind it all, Peter Noble, has assured fans the event’s future is not in doubt but urges one and all to join the rallying cry for more Federal, State and Local government support for the live music sector.

Steve Poltz, one of my highlights, photo Kurt Petersen

Tickets for the four-day Bluesfest 2025 are on sale now.

About Bluesfest Byron Bay

Bluesfest is Australia’s most awarded music festival and was recognised as one of the TOP 10 Festivals of the Decade by industry bible Pollstar in 2021. From its humble beginnings in 1990, the festival now takes place at the beautiful Byron Events Farm (formerly the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm) and has attracted audiences of over 100,000. Located just 10 minutes north of Byron Bay, NSW, Australia, Bluesfest is well-situated and surrounded by the charming village of Mullumbimby and the beach towns of Byron Bay and Brunswick Heads.