The writing has been on the wall for a few weeks now as most of the country was plunged into extended lockdowns and so today organisers have confirmed that Bluesfest will not go ahead at all in 2021. This all followed its shock last-minute cancellation back in April amid an outbreak of locally transmitted coronavirus cases.
The confirmation comes just a few weeks after director Peter Noble acknowledged the likelihood that the October event would have to be scrapped, admitting that the festival was “not confident” it could deliver a safe event this year “as the clusters begin to pop up in more places and continue to grow exponentially”.
In a statement shared today, Noble confirmed that reality while also announcing that Bluesfest would return to its usual Easter dates in 2022.
“We are a resilient bunch. We have worked so hard since May 2019 to make Bluesfest happen and, guess what, we are not giving up. We are immensely proud of who we are: we are proud of the Bluesfest name and what that represents, immensely proud, and we are already looking forward to Easter.
“I thought this decision would be hard to make, but it was the reverse. The safety and protection of our loyal Bluesfesters, our festival staff, our performers, our volunteers, stallholders and suppliers is paramount, and I will not put anyone at risk right now. So the decision to re-schedule was a ‘no-brainer’.”
In brighter news, Noble now has his focus set on the 2022 event, espousing confidence that by that stage Australia will have achieved at least a 70-80% vaccination rate and be within “at least” ‘Stage Three’ in the plan to open up the whole country. He even hinted at a return to international artists on the 2022 lineup, proclaiming, “IF THEY CAN COME WE WILL BE PRESENTING THEM!”
“Now we concentrate on the future, and it’s a bright future – and the return of Bluesfest over four days next Easter: Friday, April 15 – Monday, April 18 2022, plus we are working on something special for Thursday, April 14.”
In terms of the lineup so far, Noble assures that almost all the October 2021 artists will return (as The Music Network reports, it seems The Cat Empire, Ocean Alley, Tash Sultana and Ziggy Alberts will be missing) while they’ve also added a few new names, including Fat Freddy’s Drop, Josh Teskey & Ash Grunwald, John Williamson, C.W. Stoneking, and Rockwiz Live.
More artists are expected to be announced soon.
Festival staff are appealing to every ticket holder to hold on to their October ticket until the 2022 Easter event, while assuring punters that they will continue to offer refunds until after the new artist announcement.
“After all – it’s only 35 weeks to Easter.”
Bluesfest 2022 lineup
FAT FRERDDY’S DROP
THE LIVING END
MARK SEYMOUR & THE UNDERTOW
VIKA & LINDA
ALL OUR EXES LIVE IN TEXAS
ROSS WILSON and THE PEACENIKS
TEX PERKINS THE MAN IN BLACK
JOSH TESKEY & ASH GRUNWALD
WEDDINGS PARTIES ANYTHING
THE BLACK SORROWS
MELBOURNE SKA ORCHESTRA
MAMA KIN SPENDER
FIONA BOYES & THE FORTUNE TELLERS
PACEY, KING & DOLEY
MICK THOMAS’ ROVING COMMISSION
ROUND MOUNTAIN GIRLS
BYRON BUSKING COMPETITION