George Benson, Marcus King, Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram and more added to Bluesfest 2022 line-up

Eight international acts are joining the previously all-Australian and New Zealand bill, with sideshows locked in to boot

The line-up for next year’s Byron Bay Bluesfest has grown once more, this time with the addition of eight international acts.

The five-day festival – set to run between Thursday April 14 and Monday 18 – was previously touted with an all-Australian and New Zealand programme.

However as international border restrictions continue to ease in the lead-up to its mid-April kick-off, organisers have secured a handful of names that were either scheduled to appear at Bluesfest 2020 (before its COVID-incited cancellation) or will be returning from previous years’ editions.

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Leading the pack is legendary American bluesman George Benson, who last performed in Australia in 2013. He’ll play Bluesfest 2022 on Sunday April 17, with sideshows lined up for Sydney’s State Theatre on Monday April 11, Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14, and Melbourne’s Palais Theatre on Tuesday April 19 and Wednesday 20.

Jamaican reggae mainstays The Wailers will perform four sets at Bluesfest, skipping only the Friday (April 15). They’ll also play headline shows at Sydney’s Metro Theatre on Thursday April 21, and 170 Russell in Melbourne on Friday 22.

The Marcus King Band are locked in to play Bluesfest on Friday April 15 and Sunday 17, as well as their own shows in Sydney on Monday April 18 and Melbourne on Wednesday 20. Afro-pop icons Amadou & Mariam will play the festival on Friday April 15, Sunday 17 and Monday 18; at the time of writing, they’re the only artists not secured to play any sideshows.

Returning from the last Bluesfest to go ahead (in 2019), The War And Treaty will play next year’s festival on Thursday April 14, Saturday 16, Sunday 17 and Monday 18. Their sideshows will go down in Melbourne on Wednesday April 13, and in Sydney on Wednesday 20.

Performing the same slate of festival dates is Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram, with his sideshows booked for Sunday April 10 at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel, and Wednesday 13 at Sydney’s Factory Theatre.

Rounding out Bluesfest 2022’s new additions is soul and jazz artist Cory Henry, who’s set to play the festival on Saturday April 16, Sunday 17 and Monday 18. He’ll also play sideshows in Melbourne on Wednesday April 13 and Sydney on Thursday 14.

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More details on the new acts added, as well as their respective sideshows, can be found on the Bluesfest website.

In a statement shared alongside the announcement this morning (December 15), Bluesfest director Peter Noble said: “I have been in communication with managers and agents since our first cancellation and I am so happy that we can finally bring back these internationals in time for Bluesfest as well as some touring dates.

“It feels like a brilliant Christmas present to me and I’m sure our Bluesfest fans will be stoked to hear about these much-loved artists coming back to Bluesfest.”

Bluesfest 2022 was announced back in August when the 2021 edition – slated for October after several of its own postponements – was cancelled. Though it will feature many of the artists that were set to perform at this year’s axed event, a deluge of new acts have been added.

Recent announcements have confirmed the likes of The Teskey Brothers and Missy Higgins, the Hoodoo Gurus, Baker Boy and Sam Teskey, Amy Shark, Crowded House, and The Cat Empire’s final show with their current line-up.

Bluesfest last took place in 2019, with COVID-19 preventing it from going ahead in 2020, as well as both postponed dates in 2021.

After the festival was cancelled one day ahead of its opening back in April, a study found that its postponement to October – which was then knocked back even further – resulted in an economic loss of $181million.

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