Bluesfest has revealed a stack of clues about the lineup for 2017

Photo via Bluesfest Facebook

Bluesfest promoter Peter Noble has revealed some of the early planning for the 2017 festival, telling fans to expect a lineup featuring “lots of legends, great Blues n Roots artists, many amazing emerging artists and a return to the festival of a number of the new favourites from this year.”

According to a blog post about his recent US trip, the promoter clocked up an impressive 24 meetings in just 17 days with stops in Nashville, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Monterey last month. He also made a four hour drive from Dallas to Austin just to sit down with the team from C3 Management who run Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Festival. C3 also runs the antipodean spin-off Auckland City Limits, which made its debut earlier this year and shared several acts with the Bluesfest 2016 lineup including Kendrick Lamar, The National, Modest Mouse, Kamasi Washington and Cold War Kids.

“It was my idea to bring Kendrick Lamar to Australia and I certainly pushed that very hard onto them, Noble told FL earlier this year. “I think the original idea with that festival was to be more indie rock [but] having a strategic alliance, I guess you’d call it, we had to have discussions about who was suitable for both of us.”

Who’s going to be on the lineup?

Peter Garrett and his mates keep that promise expect to see them kicking off their 2017 reunion tour in Byron Bay next Easter. “The guys from Midnight Oil have always said, that when they get back together, their first show will be at Bluesfest,” Noble told fans in a recent Q&A session on Facebook. Although the band reunited for charity gigs at WaveAid in 2005 and Sound Relief in 2009, their 2017 shows will be part of their first tour since the band dissolved back in 2002.

During the Q&A session, Noble also said that while he’s flattered that fans would think that Bluesfest could secure a lineup similar to Desert Trip – aka Oldchella – the fees those artists command is beyond his event. The capacity of Oldchella is 75,000 daily whereas Bluesfest’s capacity is just 25,000, but Noble says he’ll try to book one of the acts for Bluesfest 2017. So keep your fingers crossed for Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Roger Waters, or The Who.

Noble has also revealed that he’d “love to see Prophets of Rage come to Australia” and that an offer has been put in to book Radiohead – “every festival in the world wants Radiohead [and] of course we have asked”. Other acts mentioned as potential Bluesfest 2017 acts include Ben Howard, Band of Skulls, Keb Mo, Sierra Hull, Elephant Revival, The Strumbrellas, M Ward, Larkin Poe, Mayer Hawthorne, The Suffers, The Claypool Lennon Delirium and acts from Brazil, Haiti, and Africa.

Who definitely won’t be on the lineup?

Lenny Kravitz. The man responsible for the most famous onstage wardrobe malfunction since the 2004 Superbowl was scheduled to play at the festival back in 2015 but bailed at the eleventh hour citing “contractual scheduling conflicts” – an excuse that Noble doesn’t buy. “I have zero interest in presenting Lenny Kravitz in the future,” he explained on Facebook. “Artists who cancel shows for unacceptable reasons are not on my agenda for the future.”

It’s also unlikely that John Mayer will make a return to the festival in 2017. He’s currently playing shows with members of The Grateful Dead as Dead and Company, but according to Noble “there are no plans for John to go out and do dates anywhere [else]”. But fans could get a dose of the Grateful Dead at Bluesfest if Noble books one of the acts who appeared on the recent tribute compilation Day of the Dead, which features covers recorded by The War on Drugs, Wilco, Mumford & Sons, Charles Bradley, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Courtney Barnett.

As for the likelihood of Bluesfest visits from Tom Waits or Van Morrison don’t hold your breath. Noble says that if either of those legendary singers announce a gig anywhere in the world fans should just jump on a plane as there’s almost zero chance of ever seeing them in Australia.

When will the lineup be announced?

The first lineup announcement is scheduled to drop sometime in late August or early September. Noble says that ticket sales are currently the highest they have ever been and has warned fans that it’s likely that the current early bird price will have to rise soon so that the festival can deliver the lineup on offer.

Bluesfest 2017 will be held from Thursday, April 13 – Monday, April 17 at the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm in Byron Bay.