Bluesfest's 30 year anniversary draws over 105K, among its biggest ever crowds!

This year’s  Byron Bay drew over 105,000 punters to its 30th-anniversary bash over five days.
That puts it among one of its biggest crowds, equalling that of the 2015 event.
It beat its 25th anniversary in 2014 of 104,526 and 2013 which reached 104,244.
The highest remains 115,000 when Bob Dylan headlined in 2011 and the event ran for a one-off six days.
With such crowd numbers, Bluesfest is on target to beat its economic impact last year, when it pumped $32.8 million into the Byron Shire, $54.6 million to the wider Northern Rivers region, and $73.7 million to NSW.
The event’s economic impact figures for 2019 will be officially released in a few months.
It will also be interesting to see if the festival continued its trend of drawing more younger audiences.
The average age was 45.4 last year, and 52.1 in 2017.
The crowd is traditionally 58% female and 42% male.

150 performances from 88 artists
Over 2000 staff to run the event, aided by over 900 volunteers
4 kms of fencing on site
21 days to build the festival site
2 tonnes of organic waste collected post festival and used to feed pigs and chickens locally
2.5 tonnes of vegetables consumed by artists and staff alone!
912kg of meat eaten in the crew and artist catering this weekend!
Over 600kg of avocados sold at the Avocado Hut on site.
1 tonne of fresh produce (7 herbs and 16 veggies!) used by Pink Lotus
1 man’s weight (75kg) in sauerkraut used at Sauerkraut Sisters

Aside from The Veronicas joining Kasey Chambers onstage, as already reported in TMN, the audience was delighted when:
Ben Harper was joined by Kasey Chambers and Jack Johnson.
Gary Clark Jr. brought on Lukas Nelson and Marcus King..
Chambers’ other guests included Ben Harper, The War & Treaty and Tommy Emmanuel.
Mavis Staples and Ben Harper were a crushing couple during a spectacular Saturday afternoon set.
Lukas Nelson invited Leesa from Hussy Hicks for their rendition of ‘Shallow’.
Yothu Yindi & the Treaty Project swelled their ranks with Deline Briscoe, Emma Donovan, Baker Boy, Mojo Juju and indigenous dancers including Rako and Malu Kiai Mura Buai on stage with them for their Bluesfest performances.
Jack Johnson’s Sunday night headliner set was spiced up with Lukas Nelson, Gary Clark Jr. and Paula Fuga.
George Clinton ft. Parliament Funkadelic brought up Little Steven.
Colin Hay was joined by Chris Tamwoy.
Melbourne Ska Orchestra got Allen Stone’s drummer, Jason Holt up for a solo.
RozkWiz brought on Casey Donovan and Ian Moss.

Bluesfest director Peter Noble was particularly excited that new acts who made their presence felt included Deva Mahal, Larkin Poe, the Marcus King Band, I’m With Her, Ray LaMontagne, Anderson East “as well as Jack White with his band the Saboteurs, the incredible Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf and so many more delighted our audience.
“But I would like to take a moment to hail Melody Angel who is emerging as a bonafide star at Bluesfest and we expect to see major things for her, just like Lukas Nelson.”

The Bluesfest team stated: “As always, the (indigenous)  Boomerang festival precinct was the heart and soul of Bluesfest and home to dozens of inspiring performances from artists including Archie Roach, Yothu Yindi & the Treaty Project, Dallas Woods, Benny Walker and many others.
“Not forgetting Baker Boy who drew crowds in their thousands to his performance on Friday afternoon.
“It ended on Sunday afternoon with a powerful Closing Ceremony with artists from across the festival coming together to perform dances, chants and traditional calls form the nations represented to celebrate the beauty and sacred power of First Nations people from Australia and across the world.”
Festival director, Rhoda Roberts said “Boomerang had a spirit this year that resonated across the Bluesfest site, from the eclectic line up of First Nations music, to the dance, story and workshops.
“There truly was something for everyone”.

Contributing Editor