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News May 19, 2021

Peter Noble talks Bluesfest ‘Version 3’ and post-COVID live entertainment: ‘Things are getting better’

Peter Noble talks Bluesfest ‘Version 3’ and post-COVID live entertainment: ‘Things are getting better’

Bluesfest is back, its team a little bruised from recent events. But the old, familiar magic should be there on the fields and the stages Byron Bay this October.

That’s the word according to Bluesfest Director Peter Noble, whose famous event today announced rescheduled dates from Oct. 1-4, featuring headliners Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Tash Sultana and Jimmy Barnes.

“We rose, we’re indefatigable,” Noble told ABC Breakfast’s Michael Rowland following the line-up announcement.

“We have to do that because the Australian live music industry, we all want to get back to work safely. And we can do it.”

Despite its switch from its regular April long weekend slot to early summer, the show will feel much the same as year’s past.

“This is Bluesfest version 3,” Noble enthused. “It’s a four-day event, not five. Apart from that it’s going to be exactly the same as the Easter event,” he explained.

tash sultana black and white seated on studio floor 2017

Tash Sultana


Bluesfest 2021 was scrapped by the New South Wales government on the eve of its 2021 event, due to a single community transmission of COVID-19. It was “a very unexpected” situation, noted Noble, and it came after a gut-wrenching late scratching the previous year, also due to the pandemic.

Noble could be excused for feeling bitter about those external forces. He’s not. There’s too much to look forward to.

“If we get another four months of close to zero COVID cases in our community who know what we’ll be presenting,” he continued.

All promoters have a wish list, and Noble is no different. “I’d love to see standing event in New South Wales, but right now they’re seated,” he explains. “I’d love to see some uniformity on that, some certainty that major live music events can come back. We bring so much to our community, we bring wealth and we bring the arts, and we can’t wait to do it.”

Just north of Bluesfest’s site, the live entertainment world is already opening up. In Queensland, and its capital Brisbane, venues are allowing punters to stand. And they’re standing in vast numbers, with more than 130,000 tickets sold for the NRL’s “Magic Round” last weekend at Suncorp Stadium.

“Things are getting better,” Noble concludes, “we just need to see New South Wales catch up a little bit.”

Bluesfest is the only Australian festival to be nominated for Pollstar’s Music Festival of the Decade, which recognises “the most artistically and commercially successful festival of the last decade providing the most rewarding experience for fans and artists.” 

Winners on the night will be announced during the trade magazine’s flagship conference Pollstar Live!, which is booked for June 15-17 at the Beverly Hilton.

Bluesfest season tickets are on sale from 9:00am this Thursday (May 20) via Moshtix.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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