Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals have been playing at Bluesfest since 1996. Picture: News Corp Australia.


BEN Harper no longer has to make good on his threat to stage invade the 30th anniversary of Bluesfest in Byron Bay next year.

Harper will reunite with his band Innocent Criminals to perform at the iconic festival which is one of the country’s most enduring live music events.

It was revealed he will be joined by his good mate and surfing buddy Jack Johnson as Bluesfest creator Peter Noble unveiled his first of several line-up announcements.

“If I’m not invited, I will show up and hang out anyway,” Harper declared ahead of his recent Splendour in the Grass set.

“There’s no way I am missing the 30th anniversary.”

Noble said Harper was one of the major influences on him broadening the festival beyond its purist roots.

“Ben Harper’s first performance at Bluesfest 1996 remains one of the most important in the history of our event, and actually gave us the inspiration to move out of being a purely blues festival to evolve into being Australia’s first blues and roots music festival,” Noble said.

Another Bluesfest fave who goes every year whether she is playing or not is Kasey Chambers. Next year, she’ll be playing, marking the 20th anniversary of her debut solo album The Captain with a special show dedicated to that record.

The 2019 festival will also be remarkable for the final-ever shows of funk legends George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.

The 77-year-old Clinton announced this year he would retire from touring in May 2019.

Other artists confirmed for the Byron Bay musical celebration next Easter include Australian legends Tommy Emmanuel, Russell Morris, Colin Hay, Richard Clapton, Black Sorrows and Tex Perkins.

International guests include 2017’s scene-stealers Vintage Trouble and St Paul and the Broken Bones, Ray LaMontagne, folk guru Arlo Guthrie, Grammy winning jazz funk collective Snarky Puppy and Laneway regular Kurt Vile.

As usual, there will be at least five more line-up announcements as Noble teases out his 30th anniversary stars over the next few months.

Tickets are on sale now.



Read full article