Big Freedia joins The Soul Rebels’ Bluesfest 2023 sideshows with GZA and Talib Kweli

The Bluesfest acts will perform in Sydney and Brisbane in April of next year

Big Freedia has been added to a pair of sideshows for next year’s Bluesfest, which had already been announced to feature The Soul Rebels alongside GZA (of Wu-Tang Clan fame) and Talib Kweli.

The standalone shows will take place in Brisbane and Sydney – the former on Wednesday April 5 at the Fortitude Music Hall, and the latter at the Enmore Theatre the following night (April 6). Big Freedia will co-headline both of them with The Soul Rebels; Kweli and GZA will appear as guests during the latter’s sets, just as they will as Bluesfest itself. Opening for both shows will be Robert Glasper.

Freedia is currently in Australia as part of the LGBTQI+ festival Summer Camp.


Meanwhile, The Doobie Brothers will perform sideshows at Sydney’s State Theatre on Wednesday April 5 and Thursday 6, both featuring their classic lineup of Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald and John McFee. Tickets to all of the sideshows are on sale now – find them here.

The original announcement coincided with a handful of artists joining Bluesfest’s sideshow roster. Allison Russell was confirmed to be joining the shows headlined by Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit, while Vintage Trouble were announced as the support for Marcus King‘s shows in Sydney and Melbourne.

Last month, The Doobie Brothers and Counting Crows were announced as part of Bluesfest’s expanded line-up, alongside fellow recent additions Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, St. Paul & The Broken Bones and more. They joined the likes of Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Jackson Browne, Mavis Staples and Gang Of Youths, all of whom will perform at Bluesfest when it hits the Byron Events Farm in Tyagarah over the week of April 6-10. Beck was also announced for the line-up at the start of November.

Also announced this month was the debut of Bluesfest Melbourne, which will run concurrently with the Byron Bay edition. It’ll be a smaller affair, running over two days, with the line-up including Lucinda Williams, Paolo Nutini, Ash Grunwald, Kasey Chambers and Xavier Rudd.

In September, Bluesfest announced sideshows for several of its acts, including Lucinda WilliamsSteve Earle, LP, Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram and Keb’ Mo’.

Additional reporting by Ellie Robinson