Bluesfest 2010 @ Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm

Bluesfest 2010

The first round of artists to perform at the 21st Anniversary Bluesfest has today been announced! Australia’s most awarded and internationally renowned festival officially begins a new era (and with any luck another excellent 21 years) with the purchase and move to its permanent new home for the 2010 event – the Tyagarah Tea Tree farm just off the Pacific Highway, 10 minutes north of Byron Bay.

Bluesfest 2010 takes place over Easter from Thursday April 1 through to Monday April 5, 2010. The first artist announcement includes a massive array of the best local and international blues, roots, folk, soul, and world artists – with an emphasis on some of the best guitar players of all time.

The Bluesfest team is extremely honoured to present Crowded House for the first time ever as the first announcement headliner, following knock out performances over the years from both Neil Finn and Tim Finn. One of our region’s GREATEST bands, Crowded House is responsible for unforgettable songs such as 'Weather With You', 'Four Seasons In One Day', and ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ to name but a few. Get set for a dynamic musical journey that will draw from the band’s acclaimed 2007 platinum album Time On Earth and their exceptionally deep catalogue of fantastic songs.

Festival director Peter Noble said, “We are so energised about the amazing artists in this first announcement – it’s easily our best ever first announcement just looking at the depth across the entire list. We promised a touch of classic rock and a guitar lover’s focus for this festival – and to see how that’s played out, you just have to look at axe shredding maestros like Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Al Di Meola, Peter Green (original Fleetwood Mac founder and hero of BB King, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page!), the Gipsy Kings who are the world’s best flamenco players, Bèla Fleck (stunning banjo virtuoso), and Joe Bonamassa a young blues guitarist who’s recently sold out London’s Royal Albert Hall.

“There’s also tonnes of local and global roots friendly artists too many to mention, Roger Hodgson the incredible singer and songwriter of all those timeless Supertramp hits, Jessica Mauboy who is such an outstanding and genuine artist verified by her recent four awards at the Deadlys and her record seven ARIA award nominations! There’s also Oumou Sangarè who joins Bèla Fleck’s new project and is one the greatest African singers you will ever hear.

“And all this is just the beginning – our second announcement is just around the corner and a stunner too! In fact, we know we have the best Bluesfest bill ever this year, which is a very satisfying way to celebrate our 21st birthday and move to our new home.

“Now at Tyagarah, we’ve got even more room to grow the vision, and give our patrons the REAL festival experience. What we stand for is keeping the counter-culture alive – and the very real notion that music can help heal the world – we’re bringing in artists from Cuba, Mali and even Gypsies all together to support this vision. Longer term, my intention is that Bluesfest will outlive me, and remain a beacon of light that continues presenting the highest quality music on the planet,” concluded Peter Noble.

Bluesfest 2009 was held at Belongil Fields and accommodated 1,800 campers. Bluesfest 2010 looks forward to welcoming patrons on its own land – and will accommodate approximately 6,500 campers! The very spacious and natural environment is right next to the festival grounds and will include a general store, showers and toilets.

The festival itself will feature more space, more music, more stalls, and more areas to chill out, but is all about keeping in the Bluesfest tradition, which is about creating an environmentally sound, peaceful, relaxed and happy home for everyone. Regular shuttle buses will be included to and from the festival into Byron Bay, Mullumbimby and surrounding towns.

And the Bluesfest awards keep on coming. September 2009 saw Bluesfest recognised as an international winner in The Greener Festival awards. This was for an impressive three years in a row, more than any other Australian festival - and a tribute to the event’s ongoing and long-term commitment to environmental sustainability.

Bluesfest was also the first music festival to be nominated for a prestigious Australian Events Award. Bluesfest was nominated for the Best Cultural or Arts Event alongside the Sydney Festival 2009 and Adelaide Fringe 2009. The award eventually went to the 16th Biennale of Sydney. Bluesfest was also recently nominated as the Best Overseas Festival in the UK Festival Awards!

Unlike any other Australian event, Bluesfest has twice had the honour of being nominated as Best International Music Festival by US concert bible “Pollstar” in 2005 and 2006 alongside world renowned events such as Britain’s Glastonbury and Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival. And closer to home, Bluesfest has twice won the prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Contemporary Music Festival in Australia, also in 2005 and 2006.

CROWDED HOUSE - Bluesfest is extremely proud to present Crowded House for the first time ever in 2010. One of our region’s greatest ever bands, Crowded House don’t perform all that often, making their appearance at Bluesfest 2010 a real event! With incredible songs ranging from 'Weather With You' and 'Four Seasons In One Day', to ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’, ‘Fall At Your Feet’ and ‘Locked Out’ – this band is one for the ages. Back to their best following their 2007 reunion and studio album of new critically acclaimed material, Time on Earth, Crowded House are ready to shake up Byron Bay over Easter. The band also has their new 2010 album due early in the year, so there will be even more exciting new material to showcase along with their hits! So how did it all happen? The tragic death of original drummer Paul Hester in 2005 further concentrated main songwriter Neil Finn's mind: "I thought, these relationships that you have in your life are rare and precious. Why wouldn't you just grab them?" So Finn and original member Nick Seymour decided if it was going to be like what they had, they had to have a brilliant drummer. Enter Matt Sherrod, who has previously played with Beck, along with U.S.-based keyboard player Mark Hart, a veteran of the line-up who made Together Alone in 1993. And thus, with live music once more in the ascendant and strong songs at as much of a premium as ever, this happy few with its strong bond with a worldwide audience and its exceptionally deep catalogue of songs, set forth on a new voyage with something of the dauntless, damn-the-torpedoes spirit of third agers on an adventure holiday. Bring it on!

BUDDY GUY - What can you say about this Bluesfest favourite and absolute blues legend? Buddy Guy is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a chief guitar influence to rock titans like Hendrix, Clapton, Beck, and Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago's fabled West Side sound, and a living link to that city's halcyon days of electric blues. While firmly ensconced in his blues roots, Guy has always tried to keep his music looking forward – even at the risk of alienating lovers of traditional blues sounds. His last album, Bring 'Em In, found Guy trading licks with the likes of Carlos Santana and John Mayer on a set of songs featuring covers of classic soul songs. On his latest album, Skin Deep, Guy offers an endorsement to such younger players as pedal steel virtuoso Robert Randolph and husband-and-wife guitar slingers Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. These musicians serve as a living response to the question Guy raises on the song "Who's Gonna Fill Those Shoes," featuring pre-teen guitar whiz Quinn Sullivan, in which he reflects on the future of the blues beyond his revolutionary generation. "I just try to get the best players, and hope I can pop the top off this can and show that the blues are back," he says. "I learn from them–bring them in and see what they can do. And these guys got me feeling like when I was 22 years old and went into the studio with Muddy Waters." Buddy has received five Grammy Awards, 23 W.C. Handy Blues Awards (the most any artist has received), the Billboard Magazine Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement, and the Presidential National Medal of Arts. Yet despite this long list of achievements, Buddy Guy and his music remain as vital as ever.

ROGER HODGSON FROM SUPERTRAMP - Roger Hodgson is recognised as one of the most gifted composers, song writers and lyricists of our time! As the legendary voice, writer and arranger of most of Supertramp’s greatest hits that led to more than 60 million record sales, he gave us amazingly enduring songs like: “Give a Little Bit,” “Dreamer,” “It's Raining Again”, “Take the Long Way Home”, “The Logical Song,” “Breakfast In America,” “Fool’s Overture” and so many others that have become the sound track of our lives. And don’t think it’s all in the past. Festival director Peter Noble recently saw Roger perform all those Supertramp classics in Europe and said “my jaw dropped – you could practically feel the earth move!” Hodgson co-founded the progressive rock band Supertramp in 1969 and was with them for 14 years. He wrote and sang most of the classic hits that brought Supertramp worldwide acclaim. His songs have remarkably stood the test of time, and Roger recently received 2 awards from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) for his songs being in the top played songs in their repertory. Bluesfest is honoured to present Roger Hodgson for the first time ever.

THE GIPSY KINGS - The Gipsy Kings are that rare thing – a household name famous solely for their music. Without peer, they are the planet’s most successful world music artists, and probably the best flamenco guitar artists in the world too! While they are the most successful French music group in history and they have sold more than 18 million albums worldwide, the Gipsy Kings make music as communion, artistry rooted in the past yet focused on the future. The Gipsy Kings consist of two bands of brothers: the Reyes (Nicolas, Canut, Paul, Patchaï, André) and the Baliardos (Tonino, Paco, Diego). Initially, the Reyes and Baliardos busked on the streets of Cannes, and played weddings and parties, flavouring flamenco with Western pop and Latin rhythms. When an American admirer told the band their name Los Reyes meant "The Kings" in English they realised they were born to be Gipsy Kings. In 1987 their selftitled debut album introduced the world to rumba gitano—the sound of South America's rumba rhythm married to flamenco guitars—and the track “Bamboleo” was a huge international hit. Since then the Kings have never stopped singing to the world. Today the Gipsy Kings still live with their families in the south of France. Life may have changed for them—they no longer busk on streets or pick crops when times are hard or travel in caravans – but still, at heart, they remain Gypsies, the proud descendants of an ancient people who seduced the world with music and dance. On their new album, Pasajero, the Gipsy Kings continue their epic musical journey. When the Gipsy Kings hit Byron Bay over Easter 2010, they are sure to set your soul on fire!

Responsible for the highest ever selling world music record, Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club® is the formidable thirteen-piece band direct from Havana, featuring legends of Cuban Music and the stars of the Buena Vista Social Club film and World Circuit's much acclaimed albums! Folks – this is the genuine article, the real deal – transporting audiences to the heart of Havana's clubs and dancehalls. Guajiro Mirabal's distinctive trumpet sound and characterful playing has earned him the monicker 'The Trumpet of Cuba'. Aguaje Ramos' trombone has been an integral part of World Circuit's Cuban recordings for the past decade. Grammy-winning guitarist Manuel Galbán made his name with seminal 1960s Cuban doo-wop group Los Zafiros. Amadito Valdés is considered Cuba's leading timbales player, and Barbarito Torres is widely regarded as the world's leading virtuoso laoud player. Each of these artists has their own take on the gamut of Cuban music, and they've put their individual stamp on son montunos, danzón, cha cha cha, boleros, and Cuban jazz. Having honed their skills over many years their passion for the music has remained undimmed, and this remarkable group of musical giants perform with an exuberance that is as vital as ever. A must-see at Bluesfest!

JEFF BECK - Who is the guitar player’s guitar player, the man that has inspired so many greats, the man regarded by many as the world’s finest guitar player? The answer is Jeff Beck. Beck burst onto the music scene in 1966 after joining the Yardbirds. Although his stint with the band lasted only 18 months, Beck played on almost all of the group’s hits and his innovative style, heard on classics like “Heart Full of Soul” and “Shapes of Things”, helped influence the psychedelic sound of the ‘60s. At the height of the Yardbirds’ popularity in 1967, Beck left the group and embarked upon unpredictable journey of musical discovery that has lasted nearly four-decades as an Epic recording artist. During that time, Beck has left his distinctive mark on hard rock, jazz-fusion and modern music history. While many of his contemporaries are satisfied with musical inertia, Beck added to his legacy as an innovator with the release of his 14th album, simply titled “Jeff” which reflects how Beck’s fascination with electronic music continues to evolve. A rare breed of guitarist, like Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix, Beck is not only compelling for what he plays, but for how he plays it. While some guitar players use racks of gear to create sound, Beck prefers a simple, natural approach that emphasises manual dexterity over gadgets. As Eric Clapton once said, “With Jeff, it’s all in his hands.” Like few guitarists before him, Beck plays the entire guitar. Using his fingers instead of a guitar pick for greater speed and control over the fretboard, Beck adds deft twists of the volume and tone knobs to shape the notes as he’s playing them and further bends sounds into a rubbery tangle with his controlled cruelty on the whammy bar. Beck says “I play the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest sounds possible. That’s the point now isn’t it?” As far as Bluesfest is concerned, yes that is very much the point. Make sure you catch this amazing musician at Bluesfest!

LYLE LOVETT - This is a rare treat for Bluesfest fans! Lyle Lovett is one of the all-time great American singer/songwriters. In his work two roads come together, ¬the trail blazed by the great Texas storytellers of whom Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark are the best known, and the crooked highway navigated by sophisticated wise-asses such as Randy Newman and Tom Waits. Lovett’s first gift was to combine these two potent strands to generate songs as brilliant and double-sided as “If I Had A Boat,” “God Will,” “If I Were the Man You Wanted,” “Family Reserve” and “Her First Mistake.” That would be plenty for any composer to base a career on, but Lovett was also capable of both flat-out humour – “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas)”, “Here I am”, “Church” – and heartbreakers that were poignant without ever descending into sentimentality – “She’s Already Made Up Her Mind”, “Nobody Knows Me”, and “The Road To Ensenada”. What emerged was a picture of a smart and complicated man, whose good humor and generosity of spirit were holding back a darker character. Out of such tensions, many artists are born. Lovett also displays a literary talent that has made him part of the tradition of American ironists. This is probably the aspect of Lovett that interested director Robert Altman, who cast him in four films (“The Player,” “Short Cuts,” “Pret-a-Porter,” “Cookie’s Fortune”) and had him score a fifth (“Dr. T and the Women”). Do yourself a favour and do not miss Lyle Lovett perform. His wry observations and fantastic song-writing will stay with you for many years to come.

The RocKwiz team is breaking out of the confines of the Gershwin Room and hitting the stage at Bluesfest for three amazing shows on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights! In case you didn’t already know, Julia Zemiro and Brian Nankervis host Australia’s premier music trivia quiz show recorded live in St Kilda’s hallowed Gershwin Room, deep in the bosom of the legendary Esplanade Hotel. Each episode of RocKwiz gob smacks its audience with two mystery musical maestros. Four extremely lucky punters from the audience, having survived the preliminary ‘death match’, have little time to bask in the honour before said maestros storm the stage for epic solo performances. No one is unsure of the incredible stakes (bragging rights) when Brian unleashes Julia on the stage and the two teams are pitted against each other in six rounds of fearsome music trivia! And just when you think this is too much entertainment for even the most jaded viewer we ice the cake and astound you with entirely live music! That’s right. The RocKwiz Orkestra of Peter ‘Lucky’ Luscombe, James ‘maestro’ Black and Mark ‘felt-tipped’ Ferrie, not only perform every lick of melody, every cliché of genre, every chop of tune, but, in an orgy of genuflection, they bring the stars to the show’s musical climax with the legendary, ARIA award winning, duets.

No one can craft a tribute album quite like Jimmy Barnes. It's a musical treat that comes along every decade or so and one that always hits the spot with his many fans. His latest record, The Rhythm And The Blues, has already gone platinum and is his most successful for many years. For style, think Little Richard. Think Ray Charles. Think Billy Lee Riley, Big Joe Turner, Bo Diddley and Otis Clay...getting the picture? Largely a brand of ever-evolving music from the 1950s, and which Barnes says is a "prequel to the Soul albums", he's aptly titled record swings, is chock-full of killer grooves, rocks infectiously and has a couple of spellbinding ballads thrown in for good measure. Icing the cake are bedazzling horn arrangements and old-school backing vocals that only lend the album an alluring, old-fashioned charm. Barnes explains: "Without trying to sound too trendy, The Rhythm And The Blues is a prequel to the Soul albums. This record covers from about 1948 to the early '60s and covers all the ground that led to what became soul and what became rock and roll.” As legendary band Cold Chisel’s frontman Jimmy Barnes has been there and back. He's tasted glory as the most successful Australian rock & roll singer. He's also struggled with the pressures of being a tall poppy and he's wrestled his own demons. It's certainly been a wild ride. So make sure you are part of the next stage in the ride, and catch Jimmy Barnes Plays The Rhythm And The Blues live at Bluesfest!

JESSICA MAUBOY - Jessica Mauboy could well be the most exciting young artist in Australia right now. She counts Beyonce as a big fan, recently won a whole stack of Deadly Awards (Album and Single of the Year, plus Female Artist of the Year and APRA Song of the Year) and is nominated for several ARIAs too – a massive seven in fact, which is the most ever for an Aboriginal artist. The real deal, Mauboy virtually hasn't stopped since being proclaimed runner-up on 2006's tightly contested fourth season of Australian Idol. In 2008, Jessica released her debut album, Been Waiting which has racked up platinum sales and four hit singles. Jessica co-wrote many of the tracks on the album and her song Running Back has been nominated for an APRA award. Born in Darwin, the striking Mauboy boasts a unique heritage. Jessica's father has a Timorese Indonesian background, while her mother is an Indigenous Australian. Prior to Idol she won the country—yes, country—Road To Tamworth. Jessica still has a soft spot for country and western queens Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline. “Growing up, there were so many different kinds of music.” she says. “I grew up in the backyard singing with my relatives, my family, and they were my influences, too. My family introduced me to different music, and I took it on board. Country music is always going to be the roots of my career.” In 2009, the accolades have kept coming for Jessica, who was also voted 'Best Aussie' at the MTV Australia Awards in March where she performed to a worldwide audience of millions across 162 countries. Amongst her many music commitments Jessica also found the time to make her acting debut in the Australian film Bran Nue Dae. Now with a platinum album, a number one single (Burn), a fourth single release (Because) a heartfelt ballad also co-written by Jessica) and an upcoming feature film, Jessica Mauboy is shaping up to be Australia's newest superstar.

THE SWELL SEASON - The Swell Season is the Oscar-winning duo of Frames front man Glen Hansard and Czech pianist and vocalist Marketa Irglova. This Australian visit for Bluesfest follows mesmerising Australian performances in early 2009, including multiple sold out Sydney Opera House concerts in January. The new Swell Season album, the sensational Strict Joy, is the follow up to their Once film and soundtrack. Marketa and Glen acted in the film out of necessity—otherwise it wouldn’t have been made. The film seemed a perfect chance to bring a new audience to Glen’s music, and introduce Marketa’s. Miraculously the plan worked and people responded not only to the movie but the music as well. Once centred on two star-crossed musicians, “him” a Dublin street busker, “her” a pianist from eastern Europe, who in the course of a brief few weeks make a record, fall in love, decide against acting on it and go their separate ways. The film, shot in two weeks in Dublin without permits on a few handy cams, was far more art house than Hollywood, making their adventure all the more unbelievable. As buzz around the film grew so did the belief that their characters, “him” and “her” were indeed the lives of Glen and Marketa. Once became the surprise hit of Sundance 2007 and won the World Audience Cinema Award. For many the duo shot to fame overnight after performing on the 80th Academy Awards and taking home the Oscar for their song, “Falling Slowly” from the film Once. For others the film, the music and its two unlikely leads became a benchmark in conversations about music, art, life and movies, passed along with a secret handshake, a nod and a smile.

NEWTON FAULKNER - After wowing Bluesfest audiences in 2008, Newtown Faulkner is back! For a little history, his debut album, Handbuilt By Robots, was released in 2007 and secured platinum status in Australia and his home, the UK. The single ‘Dream Catch Me’ was a top ten hit in both countries and held the number one position on Australia’s airplay chart for eight consecutive weeks. Faulkner toured extensively before releasing the follow up Rebuilt by Humans in 2009 – which also did so well it reached Number 5 on the ARIA charts! He has an intensely devoted fanbase in Europe and has supported John Mayer, Paolo Nutini and the John Butler Trio as well as playing festivals like Glastonbury, Lollapalooza and South by Southwest. The 24-year-old singer-songwriter makes music full of serendipity and happenstance, coincidence and luck. He croons in a voice shaped by years spent listening to Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Tom Waits and plays guitar with a distinctive tap-pick-and-strum technique that allows him to use the instrument as guitar, bass and drums all at once. "'Tapping,’ explains Faulkner, ‘is prodding the strings really hard with your other hand, your picking hand. You can have stuff coming from both sides of the strings. There are certain frets which work really well—you get two notes and they harmonise with themselves. It sounds like there’s more than there actually this. You’re getting stuff out of both sides of the guitar." With his wonderfully dexterous approach to guitar, Faulkner is as exciting to watch as he is to hear.

DR JOHN AND THE LOWER 911 - There’s no other New Orleans musician operating today who is as great as Dr John, pure and simple. Best of all, the man has a real fire in his belly again, proven by the new Dr John and the Lower 911’s album City That Care Forgot, which deals with various aspects of post-Katrina New Orleans outrage. Facts speak for themselves and this remarkable album won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2009. Dr. John’s very colorful musical career began in the 1950s when he wrote and played guitar on some of the greatest records to come out of the Crescent City. A notorious gun incident forced Dr. John to give up the guitar and concentrate on organ and piano. Further trouble at home sent him west in the 1960s, where he continued to be in demand as a session musician, playing on records by Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin to name a few. A legend was born with his breakthrough 1968 album Gris-gris, which established his unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm and blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots. His many career highlights include the masterful album Sun, Moon and Herbs in 1971 which included cameos from Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger and 1973’s In The Right Place which contained the chart hits “Right Place Wrong Time” and “Such A Night.”. Dr. John won Grammy awards in 1989, 1992, 1996 and 2000 (and of course 2009). After a half century of creating music for others and himself, Dr. John continues to write, arrange, produce and interpret with a passion that has yet to wane. Don’t miss Dr John – he continues to dazzle and delight audiences across the globe.

Another huge treat for Bluesfest fans, as Béla Fleck will be joined by the inspirational African singer Oumou Sangarè and her band from Mali! New York City native Béla Fleck is regularly considered the premier banjo player in the world. He made a name for himself on countless solo and ensemble projects as a virtuoso instrumentalist unbounded by genre. The man has won eleven Grammy awards and has received 25 nominations in more diverse categories than any other musician in history. His latest album, Throw Down Your Heart is a companion to the award-winning documentary of the same name, which premiered in 2009. Motivated by a deep love of African music, the film follows Béla on a boundary-breaking musical adventure to explore the little-known African roots of the banjo and record an album. Transcending barriers of language and culture, Fleck finds common ground with musicians ranging from local villagers to international superstars such as the Malian diva Oumou Sangarè to create some of the most meaningful music of his career. Here at Bluesfest you will get the rare opportunity to see this documentary come to life as Béla Fleck is joined by Oumou Sangarè – one of the greatest African singers you will ever hear. She is recognised as the greatest female African star of her generation, in fact Oumou Sangarè has enjoyed a long and illustrious career, touring internationally and becoming an ambassador for the music of Mali. On stage her natural presence, huge charisma, irrepressible energy and joie de vivre is very much in evidence. Oumou’s latest album Seya (Joy) was released in 2009. Yet another “must-see” at Bluesfest 2010!

BLUE KING BROWN - Serj Tankian from System of a Down describes Australia’s Blue King Brown as “one of those unique truth-telling outfits in our business that defy time. Amazing musicians with a powerful message.” The infectious energy and passion from lead singer, guitarist and percussionist Natalie Pa'apa'a has led Blue King Brown through an impressive touring history playing major festivals and venues in Australia the USA, Canada, Japan and Europe. They have also opened for greats such as Santana, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, The John Butler Trio, The Cat Empire, Silverchair and Powderfinger. With recent recording trips to Jamaica and New York now under their belt, the 8 to 11 piece powerhouse band is once again pushing genre boundaries. Blue King Brown return to Bluesfest with their world-renowned live show packed with hard-hitting lyrics and urban roots grooves.

A bona fide guitar hero, perennial poll-winner and virtuoso of the highest order, Al Di Meola has also been recognized over the past 30 years as a prolific composer and respected artist with over 20 recordings as a leader. He is perhaps most widely known for the six million copies sold of Friday Night in San Francisco – a 1981 live album by Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucía. His dazzling technique on both acoustic and electric guitars has afforded him regal status among the hordes of fretboard aficionados who regularly flock to his concerts, the depth of Di Meola’s writing along with the soulfulness and his inherent lyricism of his guitaristic expression have won him legions of fans worldwide beyond the six-string set. A pioneer of blending world music and jazz, going back to early Latin-tinged fusion outings like 1976’s Land of the Midnight Sun, 1977’s Elegant Gypsy and 1978’s Casino, the guitar great continues to reflect the rich influence of flamenco, tango, Middle Eastern, Brazilian and African musics on more recent outings like 1998’s The Infinite Desire, 2000’s The Grand Passion, 2006’s Consequence of Chaos and 2008’s La Melodia, Live in Milano. Di Meola's ongoing fascination with complex rhythmic syncopation combined with provocative lyrical melodies and sophisticated harmony has been at the heart of his music throughout a celebrated career that has earned him critical accolades, three gold albums and more than six million in record sales worldwide. Al Di Meola World Sinfonia blends classical, jazz, and tango music with Middle Eastern overtones. The result is an electrifying mix complete with sophisticated rhythms, haunting and alluring melodies, and of course some thrilling guitar action.

GOGOL BORDELLO - Get set for some genre-busting excitement! Gogol Bordello is a multi-ethnic Gypsy punk band from the Lower East Side of New York City that formed in 1999 and is known for its theatrical stage shows. Much of the band's sound is inspired by Gypsy music, as its core members are immigrants from Eastern Europe. The band incorporates minor-key accordion and violin (and on some albums, saxophone) mixed with punk and dub. In fact, Gogol Bordello has been breaking down musical barriers since 1999 with a supercharged music based on a brutal gypsy two step rhythm that sounds like an Eastern European cousin of ska, augmented by punk, metal, rap, flamenco, roots reggae, Italian spaghetti, Western twang, dub and other sounds generated by gypsies and rebels from across the globe. With their new album, SUPER TARANTA! Gogol Bordello is going to conquer the world,” boasts Eugene Hutz, Gogol bandleader and agent provocateur. “Everything on the album is taken to the next level. It’s more direct, more abstract, more focused, with more dark humour. The dub parts are deeper; the fast parts are faster, it’s pure orgasmo hysteria.” You’ve been warned folks!

It’s no surprise that Fat Freddy’s Drop, the seven-piece soul powerhouse from Wellington New Zealand, sell out gigs purely through word of mouth. See this band live, and you will not be disappointed! Since they first toured in Europe in 2003 their success has taken them around the world in 80 days an estimated 11.5 times. They have played at the Roundhouse, London Le Zenith in Paris, Brixton Academy, Columbiahalle, Berlin, Sonar Festival in Barcelona, Glastonbury, WOMAD and the Detroit Music Festival.“We’ve absorbed a few influences along the way: Berlin Bashment, Portuguese Top Forty, Tooting Bhangra Beat and Montmartre TV Shop Techno Hi-Life”, reports trumpet player Tony Chang on the musical stopovers of the bands creative process. In 2009 Fat Freddy’s Drop released their second album Dr Boondigga & The Big BW in 2009. It shipped Gold on release in New Zealand, hit platinum in four days and went straight to number one on the New Zealand Music Album charts where it stayed for five weeks straight. Dr Boondigga & The Big BW was named Best Aotearoa Roots Album along with nominations for Album of The Year, Best Group and People's Choice Award. The album is the successor to the band’s 2005 debut album Based On A True Story, which also went straight to number one in New Zealand, reached eight times platinum and won a raft of awards including Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Album of The Year in the UK.

JOE BONAMASSA - Part of Bluefest’s 2010 focus on great guitar players, Joe Bonamassa is so good, he recently sold out London’s The Royal Albert Hall! He’s being watched as potentially the next big thing in the blues, but could he even be the one to bring the blues back to mainstream success? Sam Leach, one of the Beatles earliest promoters in the U.K., compared the first time he saw Joe Bonamassa to his initial glimpse of the Fab Four– “I got that same feeling of excitement.” He went on to call Joe the “premiere blues/rock artist on the planet.” Remarkably, the 2009 release of The Ballad Of John Henry coincides with Joe Bonamassa’s twentieth year as a professional musician, an extraordinary timeline for a young artist just into his thirties. A child prodigy, Bonamassa was finessing Stevie Ray Vaughan licks when he was seven and by the time he was ten, had caught B.B. King’s ear. By age 12, Bonamassa was opening shows for the blues icon (something he also did recently as the opener on King’s 80th birthday tour), and went on to tour with venerable acts including Buddy Guy, Foreigner, Robert Cray, Stephen Stills, Joe Cocker and Gregg Allman. He was named Guitar Player’s “Best Blues Guitarist” in 2007 and 2008 and has won Blues Wax’s “Artist of the Year” an unprecedented three times. Bonamassa circles the globe playing an average of 200 shows a year, and his mind-blowing guitar wizardry and electrifying stage presence are selling out progressively larger venues all the time – leading to that incredible debut at Royal Albert Hall. Classic Rock magazine wrote, “They’re calling him the future of blues, but they’re wrong – Joe Bonamassa is the present; so fresh and of his time that he almost defines it.”

PETER GREEN & FRIENDS - Bluesfest is very proud to present one of the all time musical legends and one of the absolute greats of British blues. Peter Green’s appearance at Bluesfest 2010 is very special indeed, as all lovers of great 60s music will know. In fact, Rolling Stone ranked Peter Green at 38th in their list of the ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time’. Here’s how it all started: at the age of 19, Peter Green took on the ‘Clapton is God’ mob when he replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and soon won them over. Then a year or so later he started one of the most successful bands in rock history—Fleetwood Mac (then called Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac). Green wrote and recorded early hits such as “Black Magic Woman” (later covered by Santana), “Oh Well” and “Albatross” - to name but a few. Since then, legends like BB King and Carlos Santana have expressed huge admiration Green’s playing finesse and unique interpretation of many blues guitar styles (BB King famously said, “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.”) After several years out of the public eye, Peter Green is enjoying the performance experience – this is not a Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac greatest hits band. Naturally no Peter Green appearance would be complete without a few of his classic compositions, but now the focus is on fresh renditions of Peter’s personal blues, R&B and soul favourites. The repertoire is an exciting and unpredictable mix. Band leader Mike Dodd has brought together a cracking group of musicians: keyboard ace Geraint Watkins (Van Morrison, Nick Lowe, Bill Wyman) the cool stand-up bass of Matt Radford (Peter Molinari, Nick Lowe) and the blues-driven grooves of drummer and ANdalucian resident Andrew Flude, plus the chunky rhythm guitar of Mike Dodd. Festival Director Peter Noble comments, “After a time of difficulty and struggling with illness, it is just wonderful to behold Peter’s re-emergence in the past two years on the live music scene. So after sell-out shows in the UK and a full-scale European tour, Peter Green & Friends are ready to seriously wow the audience at Bluesfest!

THE FLATLANDERS - People – take note – The Flatlanders are one of the best and legendary alt-country bands in the world. The fact that Texas music titans Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock - on their first go-round as The Flatlanders in 1972 - were completely rejected by the country music establishment is surprising in retrospect but, ultimately, poetic. That each went on to have formidable solo careers is a testament to their talent and determination. Add to this their diverse yet complimentary styles – Joe the street-wise rocker, Jimmie Dale the mystic with the classic country voice and Butch the cerebral folk singer – and you’ve got a story of one of the most extraordinary kinships in American musical history. Joe, Jimmie and Butch initially reunited as The Flatlanders in 1998 to do a one-off recording, at the behest of Robert Redford’s people, for the soundtrack of The Horse Whisperer. It was so much fun, the trio regrouped and cut an entire album. The result, Now Again, was unanimously received as a triumph. Mojo Magazine dubbed them a “country Beatles.” Rolling Stone gave it three and a half stars. The Washington Post said, “Given the jaw-dropping quality of the disc, three decades almost seems a reasonable wait.” Now Again spent 17 weeks at number one on the Americana charts and 21 weeks on the Billboard Country charts. In March 2003, the Flatlanders and their band—Robbie Gjersoe (guitars, banjo, vocals), Steve Wesson (musical saw), Tony Pearson (vocals), Gary Herman (bass), and Chris Searles (drums)—recorded Wheels of Fortune. The band then reunited in 2009 to record their latest record Hills & Valleys for which they have embarked upon another extensive North American tour. Lucky for us, they’ve agreed to bring their formidable live show to Bluesfest too!

AVETT BROTHERS - A favourite support choice for the Dave Matthews Band, the Avett Brothers have ‘next big thing’ written all over them. Their major label debut album (their 6th overall) has just been released on Sony and was produced by Rick Rubin (Johnny Cash, Jakob Dylan, Tom Petty). This excellent record further cements their intriguing southern roots sound which the San Francisco Chronicle describes as having the “heavy sadness of Townes Van Zandt, the light pop concision of Buddy Holly, the tuneful jangle of the Beatles, the raw energy of the Ramones.” Festival Director Peter Noble is already betting they will be the talk of the festival! There is no harmony like brotherly harmony. Something indelible in the weave of voices and play of sensibilities is stamped into the fraternal DNA and also stems from a lifetime of shared experiences. You can clearly hear fraternal magic at work on I and Love and You, which is the Avett Brothers’ big-label debut— a rootsy amalgam of folk, country, bluegrass, rock and pop with a jab of punk-style dynamics here and there. The band formed in 2001 in Charlotte, North Carolina when banjoist Scott Avett and guitarist Seth Avett joined forces with standup bass player Bob Crawford. Since then the Avett Brothers have built up a sizable following based on their rowdy, infectious stage shows. On their own, they’ve filled a 7,000-seat venue in Cary, North Carolina, and sold out two nights at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon – one of their strongholds. In June 2009, they performed back-to-back sellouts at New York’s Fillmore East. In concert, the high-flying ensemble tears through tunes with unbridled energy, popping banjo and guitar strings right and left while inciting stomping singalongs among audiences that appear to know every word. At times they would seemingly create their own subgenre onstage - “punkgrass,” for lack of a better word. This much is for certain: the Avett Brothers are a grassroots phenomenon, built from the ground up. See them at Bluesfest and just try and wipe the smile from your face!

JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE - This is one for lovers of great songwriting. Justin Townes Earle's age belies his experience. Growing up in Nashville he mis-spent his youth playing in bluegrass/ragtime combo The Swindlers and the louder, more rocking The Distributors and developing some very bad habits. During tours as guitarist and keyboardist (“…and not a very good one,” laughs Earle) in his father Steve Earle's band, his problems became untenable and he was fired. Ultimately he cleaned up his act, dropped his self-destructive habits and began to focus on songcraft. “You don’t have to torture yourself to write songs,” explains Earle, “I used to write a lot, a whole lot, and half those songs I don’t even remember. Now, I sit there and I write it and I finish it and I keep it.” With inspirations as diverse as Townes Van Zandt (he was named in honor of the elder Earle’s hero), Jimmy Reed, Kurt Cobain, The Replacements, Ray Charles and The Pogues, Justin forged his own brand of American roots music. calls Justin Townes Earle “living proof that despite the freak show that is modern day Nashville, there are still artists out there who revere the deep roots of the American musical tradition while still pushing the boundaries to create something new and wonderful." Yet another high quality artist that supports what Bluesfest is all about.

RENEE GEYER - An absolute Australian legend, Renee Geyer is a consummate entertainer with a proud body of work that still transfixes a room with the power of her song. Her career began around 1971 in Sydney, when a girlfriend took her along to the rehearsal of friends who were forming a band. From there, things began to snowball. Her reputation found its way to America and led to an invitation to record an album in Los Angeles with famed Motown producer Frank Wilson. While the album Movin' Along provided another hit at home, in America "Heading in the Right Direction" created confusion. R&B stations loved the record, but didn't know what to do when they discovered Geyer was a white Jewish girl from Australia. For the next few years, Geyer bounced between Australia and America and released albums, which include So Lucky, Difficult Woman and Sweet Life. Her career has never stalled. Now an ARIA 'Hall Of Fame' member, Renee Geyer released her career spanning album Reneessance in 2009. “Reneessance is almost like putting those old songs to bed and starting afresh,” she says. “Maybe it is a bit of a corny title but that’s OK. To me it does feel a bit like a renaissance.” Renée sings as if she’s feeling every song for the first time; reconfirm her unassailable position as Australia’s premier soul vocalist.

COLIN HAY BAND - Ever prolific, Colin Hay’s 10th solo album American Sunshine was released to great reviews in August 2009 on Nashville based Compass Records. As front man and principle songwriter for eighties hit machine Men at Work (probably still the most successful Australian band to have hits in the United States), Colin Hay is responsible for one of the most identifiable sounds in pop music: infectious, Caribbean-spiked blue-eyed soul with a pointedly quizzical lyrical outlook. Classic songs like "Down Under," "Overkill," and "Who Can It Be Now" unfold before the ears like miniature movies, with timeless twists and a bittersweet sense of humour. Whether he is fronting an electric band, contributing to a Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band performance, or in a more low-key acoustic setting, Hay's everyman charm, familiar voice, and clever observations always resonate with an audience. The past ten years have found him quietly re-introducing himself to new generations of fans. The frequent use of his music on soundtracks—including the hit television show Scrubs (on which he has also had several cameos) and the sleeper-hit soundtrack to the film Garden State—has proven the timeless appeal of his songs’ personae: quizzical, curious, cynical yet open-hearted. Combine that with tireless touring and an ongoing successful partnership with Nashville-based indie Compass Records, and Hay is poised to enter a new phase in his already storied career. Hay’s solo shows intersperse classic and new songs with hilarious, poignant, and downright surreal stories drawn from his often unbelievable experiences over the past three decades. A very special artist sure to be a knockout at Bluesfest.

OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW - Old Crow Medicine Show (OCMS) blend American roots, folk, blues, gospel, bluegrass with a little bit of gritty rock to create their own brand of American roots music with a rock and roll attitude. The quintet met in New York in 1998 and hit the road, travelling from city to city in a van and busking in the streets. They eventually settled for a year in North Carolina, where they ran into a bit of good fortune while playing in front of a local pharmacy to an impressed Doc Watson; the folk icon promptly scheduled the band to play at his MerleFest. Soon after, OCMS relocated to Nashville and found themselves gracing the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, opening for Dolly Parton, touring with Merle Haggard and regularly appearing on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion. They have released seven albums and received a nomination for an American Music Award. OCMS can attribute much of their success to their relentless touring schedule. Between headlining shows and festivals such as Bonnaroo, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, New Orleans Jazz Festival, the band is constantly on the road and thrives off of their fans and live shows. They have made a name for themselves as energetic performers with an unbridled spirit.

LIL BAND O’ GOLD - Lil Band o’ Gold features the most important musicians to ever have emerged from Louisiana. In fact, Brian Wise, editor of Rhythms Magazine said they were the best band he saw at the recent Jazz Fest in New Orleans! Often described as a Swamp Pop supergroup, Lil Band o’ Gold was formed by vocalist and guitarist CC Adcock, who searched the swamps and flatlands of South Louisiana to form a band of unsurpassed talents. This process was filmed for the documentary The Promised Land: A Swamp Pop Journey. Each musician in Lil Band o Gold is a master of a separate style, both diverse and exciting. Singer and drummer Warren Storm is considered the Godfather of Swamp Pop. At the age of 68, his voice is still second to none. Warren has been responsible for dozens of national and regional hit records since he first broke into the US charts in 1958. Richard Comeaux is flat out the best pedal-steel player in Louisiana and is currently signed to Capital Records with his band River Road. Steve Riley is widely considered one of the world's premier accordion players. His band, Steve Riley and The Mamou Playboys, have recorded seven albums, won countless awards and been nominated for three Grammy Awards. Tommy McLain, born in 1940, is considered the founding father of Swamp Pop music. In 1966 his record 'Sweet Dreams' was a multimillion-selling smash. He has never stopped performing and has enjoyed much success and recognition the world over, touring with the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top and the Yardbirds. CC Adcock has packed a lot of living into his 33 years with long stints slinging guitar with Bo Diddley and Buckwheat Zydeco, two highly acclaimed solo records, two feature film scores, album productions and thousands of live shows worldwide. In short – whatever you do – you must see Lil Band o’ Gold live at Bluesfest 2010!

BRIAN AUGER’S OBLIVION EXPRESS - The legendary Brian Auger's Oblivion Express combines jazz, rock, soul and funk to create a distinct sound that is clearly recognisable to their millions of fans. Famed B-3 and keyboard player Brian Auger has over twenty recordings to his name and has accumulated a Grammy Nomination, ten albums charting in Billboards Hot 100, a number one single, and the title of "The Godfather of Acid Jazz". Brian's bands over the years have featured Rod Stewart, Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll and even Jimi Hendrix. In addition, Brian has recorded with great luminaries such as The Yardbirds, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Eric Burdon and Down to the Bone. The new incarnation of the Oblivion Express is a family affair featuring Brian’s son Karma Auger on drums and daughter Savannah Auger on vocals. They not only live up to the Auger name but make the Oblivion Express smoke! Herbie Hancock said, “Brian Auger is one of the best B-3 artists I have ever heard in my life. His technique is awesome and the amount of energy he generates is unparalleled and relentless. He is a tremendous talent with a wonderfully warm and compassionate personality, a combination that is hard to beat. He deserves all the accolades." While The Beastie Boys say, “Those who remain oblivious to the obvious delights of Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express do so at their own risk.” Once again loyal Bluesfest fans – you have been warned!

Here’s another knock out band with six string prowess for Bluesfest 2010. Listen up – this is going to be heaven for rockabilly fans, and features the phenomenal guitar playing of Chris Spedding from Roxy Music! But wait til you hear Robert Gordon sing – this was the man that inspired the Stray Cats to get together in the first place! The first major rockabilly artist to emerge after the death of Elvis Presley, Robert Gordon put a fist through the heart of the music industry with his first on-fire rockabilly hit, "Red Hot" in 1977. He is credited with lighting up the roots-rock revival and paving the way for real rock'n'rollers to find their niche. With a knack for building his recordings around some of the finest guitarists of his era, he is best known for being a tough-as-nails rockabilly artist, but he is always quick to point out "I'm not trying to recreate something. This is how I feel." That feeling continues to glow red hot on his 2007 release with Chris Spedding, It's Now or Never, a collection of mostly lesser-known Elvis Presley songs. Chris Spedding is one of the most spectacular, versatile, and menacing guitar players to ever come out of the British music scene. He has lit up sessions for everyone from Dusty Springfield to Paul McCartney to Elton John, and is fully entrenched in the legend of rock'n'roll for having produced the Sex Pistols demos that launched a revolution. More recently he has been seen sharing the stage with Roxy Music. Chris' long relationship with Robert Gordon began in the late 70s and they spent the next ten years tearing up America with a particularly vicious version of rockabilly, greased by a good-time lifestyle that left audiences in awe. Now they are back with Glen Matlock from the Sex Pistols and Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats to seriously shake things up again!


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