bluesfest melbourne
Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic

Kee’ahn, John Butler, Russell Morris and More Added to Bluesfest Melbourne

A handful of artists have been added to the inaugural Bluesfest Melbourne event in April, including veteran singer-guitarist John Butler and Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal and Zenadth Kes soul singer Kee’ahn.

‘The Real Thing’ singer Russell Morris, 50s blues enthusiast Rod Paine, “oceanic blues” artist Karen Lee Andrews, and winner of the 2023 International Blues Challenge Frank Sultana also join the lineup.

Kee’ahn: ‘Better Things’

The lineup for the two-day Bluesfest Melbourne is headlined by Buddy Guy, The Doobie Brothers, Lucinda Williams, Robert Glasper, Keb’ Mo, and more. The upcoming event, which is being held at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, marks the first time that Bluesfest has expanded into Victoria from its home in the Northern Rivers.

It hasn’t exactly been a smooth run-up to the festival: in mid-February, Bluesfest announced that controversial band Sticky Fingers would be added to the lineup, which caused a significant backlash across social media and from high-profile artists such as Jaguar Jonze.

Festival Director Peter Noble dug his heels in, defending the band in interviews and in subsequent press statements, urging the public to “give the band a chance at rehabilitation”. He described the band – who have faced accusations of racism, sexism, and transphobia – as the “bad boys” of Australian music.

Following the announcement, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard publicly cancelled their appearance at the festival, writing in a statement that Bluesfest had chosen to promote content that was in opposition to their values. A few days later Sampa The Great was also removed from the lineup. In a statement to Double J, the Zambian artist’s team explained that they contacted Bluesfest “within an hour of receiving the embargoed press release and seeing the remainder of the lineup”.

The Soul Rebels with Big Freedia, Talib Kweli and GZA will no longer appear at Bluesfest’s Byron Bay and Melbourne events. Their scheduled co-headline shows with Robert Glasper have also been cancelled. Instead, Glasper will headline Sydney’s Metro Theatre on Thursday, 6th April.

Bluesfest Melbourne 2023

  • John Butler
  • Kee’ahn
  • Frank Sultana
  • Russell Morris
  • Rod Paine
  • Karen Lee Andrews


  • Ash Grunwald
  • Backsliders
  • Buddy Guy
  • Chain
  • Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram
  • C.W. Stoneking & His Primitive Horn Orchestra
  • The Doobie Brothers
  • Eric Gales
  • Eugene Hideaway Bridges
  • Fools
  • Geoff Achison & the Souldiggers
  • Greensky Bluegrass
  • Henry Wagons
  • Kaleo
  • Kasey Chambers
  • Keb’ Mo
  • Lucinda Williams
  • Melbourne Ska Orchestra
  • Paolo Nutini
  • Robert Glasper
  • Shaun Kirk
  • Southern Avenue
  • Steve Earle
  • Xavier Rudd

Dates & Venue

Saturday, 8th April – Sunday, 9th April 2023 – Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, VIC

Tickets on sale now via Ticketmaster

Further Reading

Sampa the Great is the Latest Artist to Pull Out of Bluesfest

Bluesfest’s Peter Noble Releases Statement Regarding His Decision to Give Sticky Fingers a “Chance at Rehabilitation”

Bluesfest Is Coming To Melbourne In 2023

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