Bluesfest: Keeping the Blues Alive

Music lovers from across Australia will visit the beautiful Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, just outside Byron Bay over the Easter long weekend for the 29th Annual Bluesfest. During the Festival they will enjoy 12 hours of music each day on multiple stages, incredible food and market stalls and on site camping in a range of accommodation options. And this 29th annual event is a big one. Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters headline the festival with Lionel Richie, Kesha, John Butler Trio, Tash Sultana, Seal, Jackson Browne, Sheryl Crowe, Melissa Etheridge, Gomez, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Jimmy Cliff and Ásgeir also on the bill. And if that wasn’t enough to get you down the road for Easter, Ms. Lauryn Hill has also just been announced.

You can imagine the undertaking involved in such a massive event and the challenges you’d have to face leading that ship.

Well, the efforts of Bluesfest Director Peter Noble OAM and his team, were last month recognised and rewarded by none other than the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee. He was awarded the “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” by the premiere blues organisation in the USA.

Blues Foundation president and CEO Barbara Newman said the recipients of the award are all wonderful examples of blues flame keepers… “each working in their own sphere of influence to move the genre forward while honouring its past”.”

I accepted the award on the behalf of everyone who has worked on and performed at the festival over the past 29 years,” Peter Noble said. “It is so amazing to travel to America and be honoured in this way.

“We plan (the festival) every single day of our lives,” Peter has previously told Blank GC. “It’s a never-ending process. Of course the public doesn’t understand the process and nor should they be expected to.”

Noble has been involved in the festival since 1993 but he supplied acts as a tour promoter before then – he’s gone from pretty much being what you’d call a site manager and preparing all contingencies to 20-odd years later sitting in an office with 11 staff – the minimum in the lead-up to the festival.

“We blow up to an amazing amount of people once Bluesfest rolls around,” Peter said as he gives a roll-call of some of the positions. 1000 paid staff with more than 300 of those in the bar. 600 volunteers. There’s drivers and recycling workers and people who look after those arriving in wheelchairs.

This latest award is just another feather in the Bluesfest cap. The festival has had eight wins at the NSW Tourism Awards for Major Festival and Events, six wins at the North Coast Tourism Awards, four wins at the Helpmann Awards for Best Contemporary Music Festival, six wins at the Australian Event Awards for Australian Event of the Year and eight nominations at the Pollstar Awards in the USA for International Festival of the Year.

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Find out for yourself why Bluesfest Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most loved festiavls. It takes place 29 March to 2 April less than an hour’s drive from the Gold Coast. Get tickets and sort your logistics at bluesfest.com.au.

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