Bluesfest have delivered an early Christmas present, announcing another 19 artists on their 2019 bill fronted by one of Australia's finest songwriters of all time – Paul Kelly.
With Jack Johnson (exclusive), Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals (exclusive), Ray LaMontagne and George Clinton among others already part of the 2019 bill performing at the Byron Bay classic next Easter, they will be joined by Irish indie-rock bluesman Hozier, 'Babylon' folktronic singer David Gray, US blues rocker Gary Clark Jr, Celtic-punk band Flogging Molly, Australian folk queen Julia Stone and soul, gospel and rhythm and blues living legend Mavis Staples (exclusive performance).
Festival organisers have revealed that 2019 tickers are 'selling faster than at any other Bluesfest in history'. With 2019 marking the 30th anniversary, punters can expect plenty more gifts from Bluesfest which takes place 18-22 April, 2019.
"We have an amazing array of blues, roots, First Nations, rhythm & blues, gospel, indie rock, classic artists and emerging artists showcasing what Bluesfest is famous for," Bluesfest Festival Director Peter Noble OAM says.
"With the rise of the Americana music movement, we have added Shakey Graves, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Anderson East and The War & Treaty, the latter two, both debuting at Bluesfest, in exclusive performances.
"Gary Clark Jr. is hailed as THE blues guitar player of today who is taking blues music forward to a new generation.
"We are delighted to announce that Australian, Indigenous artists Mojo Juju and Caiti Baker are making a return for our 30th anniversary celebration, both of who have released great new music in recent months.
"We have a stellar list of artists topped by three exclusive performances by Mavis Staples. She is a Grammy-winning, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer as well as Blues Hall of Fame Member, former lead singer of family band The Staples Singers AND a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winner!
"She's an actress, a civil rights activist who took part in the Freedom Ride bus trips to Mississippi in the fight for civil rights in the '60s. Bob Dylan famously asked for her hand in marriage… she turned him down.
"Mavis just co-wrote and sang on Hozier's new single 'Nina Cried Power'. Mavis Staples is 110 per cent music royalty. At 79 years of age, she continues to astonish. We pay homage to her as one of the greatest of the greats.
"Meshell Ndegeocello is a 10-time Grammy-nominated musician, bassist, rapper, singer and astonishingly creative artist performing soul, jazz, reggae, hip hop and rock who is making her Bluesfest debut in 2019.
"There will be exclusive performances by Ruthie Foster, returning by popular demand with her soulful music. Samantha Fish won Best New Artist at the Blues Awards in 2012. Samantha is a truly great guitarist and singer. Her much anticipated Bluesfest debut is sure to be the first of many returns to Bluesfest. Another Bluesfest exclusive.
"Melody Angel is a Chicago blues singer and guitarist. She wowed the audience two years back on her Bluesfest debut. She is young and nothing will hold her back. You truly are witnessing the emergence of a major artist.
"Also, a Bluesfest exclusive showcasing emerging talent from our very own Bluesfest Busking Competition which is now considered Australia's premier showcase of emerging talent.
"We have had so many artists compete, and win, and go on to bigger things over the years. Kim Churchill, Hussy Hicks, Lucy Gallant are just a few who now tour internationally.
"Hussy Hicks, Bluesfest Busking Competition winner from 2010, tours the world nowadays and have gone to another level. They are a don't miss tour de force. Roots music at its finest.
"We have already announced Jack Johnson and Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals in exclusive performances, plus George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic's final EVER performances, Kasey Chambers performing The Captain, Kurt Vile, Allen Stone, Snarky Puppy, Rockwiz and so much more.
"This truly is an all killer, no filler announcement from top to bottom with many more to come. And we are very proud of it."
Once again, festival-goers will have the chance to camp for the full five days of the festival at the lovely Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, just outside of Byron Bay.
Festival and camping tickets are now on sale. Bluesfest organisers expect the 2019 event to sell out in advance. Click here for more information.
2019 Bluesfest Second Line-up
Gary Clark Jr.
Mavis Staples (exclusive)
Ruthie Foster (exclusive)
Anderson East (exclusive)
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
Samantha Fish (exclusive)
The War And Treaty (exclusive)
Deva Mahal (exclusive)
+ more artists to be announced