9 Unmissable Acts at this year’s Byron Bay Bluesfest!

We’re stoked to be spending Easter weekend out at Bluesfest, a return to the amazing Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm for another five day series of live music spanning a diverse array of genres. Featured artists represent for hip hop, jazz, blues, experimental and more, and below are just some of the fantastic talent we can’t wait to see!

Kamasi Washington

We’ve already seen what he has in store for his live show this past weekend on our excursion to Auckland City Limits, and we can assure you that this is an unmissable set of magical musicianship. The tone and pitch rapidly changing so fast that it’s like one constant, an unforgettable cosmic slop of jazz, rock, soul, and funk. There’s a few surprises along the way as well!

Catch Kamasi Washington…

Thursday at 7pm – Mojo Stage (75 mins)
Saturday at 6:15pm Mojo Stage (90 mins)



We described his Sydney Opera House performance earlier this week as a bucketlist moment, and we meant it. This is an icon and one of the most influential singers in the realms of soul, R&B and funk, letting us know that he is officially back on his feet and is ready to give us a masterclass of soul, rock, and funk.

His Saturday set is two hours long, an exciting and unpredictable prospect seeing as he’s been performing older material alongside Black Messiah selections this time ’round.

Catch D’Angelo…

Thursday at 8:45pm – Mojo Stage (90 mins)
Saturday at 10pm – Mojo Stage (120 mins)


St Paul & The Broken Bones

Brassy, bluesy, and epic with a take-em-to-church vibe, this collective have been on a solid run lately, delivering jaw-dropping and powerful, sanctified performances across the globe. Look for this act to be one of the sleeper hits of the entire festival.

Catch St Paul & The Broken Bones…

Saturday at 3pm – Crossroads Stage (75 mins)
Monday at 5:30pm – Jambalaya Stage (75 mins)


The Wailers present Legend

Bob Marley and the Wailers created one of the most successful and important records off all time with Legend, a greatest hits of sorts with classics upon classics. This will be a special moment for Marley fans (ie, everyone) and while The Wailers will be performing different albums each day at the festival, this is the most necessary.

Catch The Wailers…

Sunday at 6:45pm – Jambalaya Stage (100 mins)



Fresh off his SXSW debut, this increasingly popular Aussie guitarist/singer/songwriter will be looking at one of his biggest sets to date, as part of a line up in which he fits perfectly.

Of course, there’s already the strong endorsement from none other than Prince driving the hype, but once you hear this set, the music pretty much speaks for itself.

Catch Harts…

Thursday at 4pm – Crossroads Stage (45 mins)
Saturday at 12pm – Mojo Stage (60 mins)

Credit: Will
Credit: Wilk

Hiatus Kaiyote

One of Australia’s most innovative, interesting, and acclaimed bands right now, this funky neo-soul collective will perform two times throughout the weekend. On the Thursday, they are part of a hugely anticipated main stage run that includes, Kamasi, D’Angelo, and then Kendrick, so you can be sure that they will be giving it their all, and their all is one if the best things you’ll hear at Bluesfest this year.

Catch Hiatus Kaiyote…

Thursday at 5:30pm – Mojo Stage (60 mins)
Saturday at 8:15pm – Mojo Stage (70 mins)

(Credit: Michelle Grace Hunder)
(Credit: Michelle Grace Hunder)

Kendrick Lamar

All eyes are on Kendrick this weekend. One of the biggest names in music right now, who released one of the most universally praised albums of the 21st century, will undoubtedly be bringing a special moment to Bluesfest. He has reshaped Jazz, poetry, and funk right back into the main current if hip hop and pushed the genre forward by fusing sounds of the past. It’s going to be interesting to see how diverse the crowd is here and how they feed off if his energetic, highly lyrical, live show.

Catch Kendrick Lamar…

Thursday at 10:45pm – Mojo Stage (75 minutes)


Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds

The Beach Boys are one of the most distinctive and love bands in history and Pet Sounds is an icon. This will be a special moment, watching Wilson and his band bring this to life and shape it for a festival.

Catch Brian Wilson…

Monday at 6:45pm – Mojo Stage (90 mins)


Steve Smyth

A festival favourite, seeing Steve Smyth absolutely dominate the stage at Bluesfest is almost a rite of passage now. His commanding and powerful performance will be one of the defining, non-headliner moments this weekend.

Catch Steve Smyth…

Thursday at 6:30pm – Juke Joint (45 mins)

Stay tuned to the AU for unground coverage from Bluesfest Byron Bay!


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.