Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020: all you need to know about dates, lineup, tickets, sideshows and more

The long-running festival has unfortunately been cancelled for 2020, but will return in 2021

Long-running blues and roots festival Bluesfest was set to return to Byron Bay in 2020 for another extensive Easter weekend party. Keep an eye on this page for all the latest details and updates on Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020.

What’s the latest news?

  • Bluesfest teases 60 artists confirmed for 2021 lineup
  • Bluesfest announces rescheduled tours for Patti Smith, George Benson and more
  • Bluestfest will not refund stallholders despite 2020 cancellation, to criticism by small businesses
  • Bluesfest confirms dates for 2021 return
  • Bluesfest announces 2020 festival will not go ahead, following a government ban on mass public gatherings

When and where does Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020 take place?

Byron Bay Bluesfest is a five-day festival that usually takes place over the long Easter weekend holiday. It was scheduled to kick off on Thursday, April 9 and wrap up on Monday, April 13.

The festival was supposed to be staged at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, which is just 11km north of Byron Bay in New South Wales. Bluesfest has been held at that location for 10 years now, and considers Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm its permanent home.

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On March 16, Bluesfest confirmed it would not go ahead this year, following a government ban on non-essential public gatherings of more than 500 people.

“It is obvious we will not be on this Easter,” Bluesfest Group of Companies executive chairman Peter Noble wrote in a statement. “We are heartbroken as we believe we were presenting one of the best ever bills of talent for you.”

The festival bowed out less than a week after it announced it would proceed as planned with additional safety measures implemented in light of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Days after its cancellation, Bluesfest director Peter Noble confirmed the festival would return in 2021 over the Easter weekend.

In May, Bluesfest announced it would not refund stallholders left in the lurch by the festival’s 2020 cancellation, due to a clause stating the festival “has no liability or obligation to refund their deposit or stall fees” due to a “force majeure” or unforeseen event. Most of the roughly 100 stallholders were food vendors.

In a May 28 update to fans, Bluesfest said that 60 artists had been confirmed for the 2021 festival with an approximate 50-50 split between international and Australian artists.

Who was on the lineup for Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020?

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The lineup for Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020 was due to vary by day. Headliners who were slated for the festival included American outfit Dave Matthews Band, influential homegrown rockers Crowded House, guitarist George Benson, and Patti Smith And Her Band, who also headlined Bluesfest 2017.

Patti Smith
Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020 headliner Patti Smith. Credit: Ferial / High Road Touring

On Wednesday, February 25, Bluesfest announced 12 final additions to its 2020 lineup. They include Melbourne outfit The Bamboos, singer-songwriter Daniel Champagne and Sydney musician Nathan Cavaleri.

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020 revealed on February 24 that it would host the 2020 edition of the Australian Americana Music Honours. The ceremony was due to take place on April 11 and will be hosted by singer and radio presenter Henry Wagons, with performances by John Butler, Troy Cassar-Daley, The Waifs and more.

Grammy-winning country music veteran John Prine pulled out of Bluesfest 2020. On February 20, the festival announced in a statement that the singer-songwriter canceled his appearance “following the advice of his doctors regarding an existing hip injury”.

On February 12, Bluesfest announced its 12-act ‘Discovery Artists’ lineup. It included X Factor Australia Season Five winner Dami Im, former Australian Idol contestant Roshani and Indian-Australian singer Harts, who will perform a full set of Jimi Hendrix classics. Other performers included Micki Free, Here Come The Mummies, Morgane Ji, Emily Wurramara, Dirty Honey, My Baby, Hussy Hicks, LamBros. and The Regime.

Bob Marley’s backing band The Wailers joined the Bluesfest lineup on February 6, on what would’ve been the reggae icon’s 75th birthday. They would have performed songs from the seminal reggae album ‘Legend’, as well as other Marley classics.

On January 21, Alanis Morissette and Tori Kelly were added to Bluesfest’s already stacked lineup. Morissette was set to perform her classic album ‘Jagged Little Pill’ in full, in celebration of its 25th anniversary.

The lineup, in alphabetical order, was:

Alanis Morissette
Allen Stone
Amadou And Mariam
Ani DiFranco
Ash Grunwald
Brandi Carlile
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Chain
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles
Crowded House
Dami Im
Daniel Champagne
Dave Matthews Band
Dirty Honey
Dweezil Zappa
Electrik Lemonade
Emily Wurramara
Eagles Of Death Metal
Erja Lyytinen
Frank Turner
George Benson
Greensky Bluegrass
Guy Sebastian
Harts (plays Hendrix)
Henry Wagons
Here Comes The Mummies
Hussy Hicks
Kool & The Gang
Jimmie Vaughan
Joachim Cooder
John Butler
John Mayall
John Prine – CANCELLED
LamBros.
Larkin Poe
Lenny Kravitz
Little Georgia
LP
Micki Free
Morcheeba
Morgane Ji
My Baby
Nathan Cavaleri
Pacey, King & Doley
Palm Valley – NEW
Patti Smith And Her Band
Ray Beadle
Roshani
Round Mountain Girls
Steve ‘N’ Seagulls
Tal Wilkenfeld
The Allman Betts Band
The Bamboos – NEW
The Cat Empire
The Gipsy Kings
The Marcus King Band
The Regime
The Sensations
The Waifs
The Wailers
The War And Treaty
The Waterboys
Tori Kelly
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Troy Cassar-Daley
Walter Trout
Xavier Rudd
Yola
Zucchero

To see the lineup by day, head to the official Bluesfest website.

What are the set times for Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020?

Bluesfest unveiled its 2020 set times on March 4, just weeks ahead of its official cancellation.

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020 set times
Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020 set times. Credit: Bluesfest

Who’s playing Bluesfest sideshows this year?

A slew of Bluesfest 2020 artists had announced sideshows and Aussie tours around the festival.

On May 20, Bluesfest Touring confirmed rescheduled tours for 14 acts that had been due to tour the country around Bluesfest 2020, including Patti Smith, George Benson, Tori Kelly, Amadou & Mariam, Buffy Saint-Marie and more.

On February 10, The Wailers announced a run of Australia shows for April which would have followed their appearance at Bluesfest. The reggae group were set to play five shows on the east coast from April 13 to 18, including concerts in the major cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Alanis Morissette was set to perform her classic ‘Jagged Little Pill’ – which turns 25 this year – at sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne following her Bluesfest appearance on April 10. On February 18, the tour was expanded to include a new stop at Perth’s RAC Arena as well as an additional show in Melbourne. In April, Morissette announced new November dates for the tour.

dave matthews band byron bay bluesfest 2020 headliners
Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020 headliners Dave Matthews Band. Credit: Red Light Management

Patti Smith was set to appear at the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2020 prior to Bluesfest 2020, for a special one-off event in conversation with Paul Kelly. She also had a six-date Australia tour planned for after the festival. The tour included two shows at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre, one at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre and three at The Forum in Melbourne.

American singer-songwriter LP – aka Laura Pergolizzi – was scheduled play two solo shows in Sydney and Melbourne on April 11 and 13, respectively. Prior to her sideshows, LP wuld have appeared on the Thursday and Friday (April 9 and 10) lineups of Bluesfest.

Tori Kelly was set to headline two solo concerts around her April 12 and 13 appearances at Bluesfest 2020, as part of her Inspired By True Events Tour. The sideshows were planned to be held in Sydney and Melbourne on April 10 and 15, respectively.

Is there an age limit for Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020?

There is no age limit for Bluesfest. The festival is a family-friendly all-ages event with special kids’ zones and activities. Children from the ages of 6 to 14 would have required a ticket and must have been accompanied by a responsible paying adult. Entry for kids under the age of 6 is complimentary with a paying adult.

brandi carlile byron bay bluesfest 2020 performer
Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020 performer Brandi Carlile. Credit: Alysse Gafkjen

How do I get tickets for Bluesfest? How much do tickets cost?

Tickets for Byron Bay Bluesfest 2020 were available via Moshtix. Prices for tickets varied based on which days, the number of days as well as age.

Single-day tickets for Bluesfest 2020 ranged from $165.16 to $205.94. 18+ VIP upgrades were an additional $124.38 for all single-day tickets.

Three-day ticket packages were available for Thursday/Friday/Saturday, Friday/Saturday/Sunday and Saturday/Sunday/Monday configurations. They ranged from $440.42 to $460.81, with the 18+ VIP upgrade available at $306.87 for all three packages.

For punters who were looking to stay throughout Bluesfest’s entire run, tickets for all five days were available at $639.23, with the 18+ VIP upgrade coming in at an additional $408.82.

Cheaper tickets were available for those 17 and under for all single-day, three-day and five-day packages.

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