Watch Anthony Albanese introduce Jimmy Barnes at Bluesfest 2022

The ALP leader was met with a mix of cheers and boos as he opened the Cold Chisel icon’s headlining set

Anthony Albanese – the leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), who’s vying for the title of Prime Minister in the upcoming federal election – made an unconventional appearance at this year’s edition of the Byron Bay Bluesfest, introducing last night’s (April 17) headlining set from Cold Chisel icon Jimmy Barnes.

The politician garnered a mixed welcome from Barnes’ crowd, with his speech drowned out by an equal mix of cheering and boos. In welcoming Barnes – a vocal supporter of the Labor Party, who has long championed left-wing causes and has, in the past, described himself as a “closet socialist” – Albanese said: “Australians have been magnificent [over] the last couple of years, and what we want is a government that backs the arts sector.”

Though he was met with booing upon his own introduction to the stage, cheers soon grew to a rivalling volume when Albanese started speaking. Take a look at his full appearance (courtesy of news.com.au) below:

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According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Albanese was met with a much warmer response by fans of The Waifs, who cheered him on with chants of “Albo! Albo!” when he was spotted at the side of the Crossroads stage where The Waifs performed. At one point in the afternoon, he stopped to greet and pose for photos with fans.

Albanese’s visit to Bluesfest came ahead of the Labor leader’s promise that as Prime Minister, he – in tandem with fellow MPs Tony Burke (shadow minister for the arts) and Michelle Rowland (shadow minister for communications) – will “support Australian music and promote Australian artists by examining options to expand the reach of Double J on radio”.

Citing recent petitions to enhance Double J’s reach across the country, the Labor Party assured supporters that it will “commission the ABC to undertake a feasibility study into the expansion of Double J on radio as the next logical next step in helping great Aussie artists reach more ears”.

In a press statement shared with the news, Albanese said: “It’s no secret I’ve always been a huge music fan. I want more people in regional Australia to experience the joy I have of listening to Double J, singing along to songs they love or maybe discovering something new.”

The forthcoming federal election is currently slated for Saturday May 21. Albanese’s primary opponent, Liberal Party leader and current PM Scott Morrison, has been widely derided by Australia’s arts and entertainment industries, thanks in no short part to his documented lack of support for the sectors. Amyl And The Sniffers frontwoman Amy Taylor, for example, has slammed Morrison as an “absolute tosser”.

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Meanwhile at this year’s Bluesfest, The Cat Empire performed their last ever show as a full band. They’ll continue to perform and release new material, however only frontman Felix Riebl and keyboardist Ollie McGill will be remain involved, as they plan to reboot with “a new incarnation of The Cat Empire” in the near future.

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