With the countdown to Bluesfest’s 2023 edition well underway, we’re compiling the picks for the must-see women acts who’ll grace the Tree Farm stages this Easter.
Bluesfest’s 2023 edition is only a matter of weeks away. Boasting one of its starriest and most genre-expansive lineups to date, the Australian festival mainstay is poised to overrun Byron Bay’s Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm with a host of premier local and international acts. This year’s event is headlined by icons Bonnie Raitt and The Doobie Brothers, as well as homegrown stars like Tash Sultana and Gang of Youths.
With new batches of talent added to the already bustling 2023 bill ahead of the festival’s Easter long weekend start date (April 6 – April 10), we’ve already compiled our picks for the must-see local and classic acts. Now, with the countdown ticking ahead of the festival’s first internationally-spanning event since 2019, we’re sorting through our choices for the must-see women’s acts to catch at this year’s Bluesfest.
Dami Im already cracked our list of must-see local acts at Bluesfest, but the singer-songwriter’s illustrious career more than warrants a second-time entry. The 2013 X Factor victor and Eurovision Song Contest entrant has represented Australian music to the nth degree, a feat reflected in the platinum-earning status of her self-titled sophomore album.
Elsewhere, Im has released a string of smash hit singles including Sound of Silence, Alive, Super Love and Gladiator, all of which will no doubt form part of her setlist when she takes to the stage at Bluesfest on Saturday, April 8 and Sunday, April 9.
Set to grace the stage across three days (April 8 – April 10), Lisa Hunt will come armed to Bluesfest with her powerhouse soul vocals and years-long experience as a collaborator with the likes of Jimmy Barnes and Diesel. Elsewhere, the singer has shared the stage with Brian May, Eric Clapton and Dionne Warwick, and made her debut with 1989’s A Little Piece of Magic.
Hunt — who has also contributed to the soundtrack of the Billy Crystal-starring animation Goodnight Mood and starred in multiple off-Broadway shows — will return to Bluesfest 2023 following her crowded set at the 2008 edition.
Following her clean sweep at this year’s Grammy Awards (where she beat out the likes of Taylor Swift and Beyoncé for the coveted Song of the Year trophy) Bonnie Raitt will bring her legendary discography to Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm this Easter. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Guitarists entrant will perform at Bluesfest on April 9 and April 10.
Raitt will no-doubt come equipped with multi-award-winning albums Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw, as well as her experience as a collaborator with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson and Keb’ Mo, the last of whom also forms part of the Bluesfest 2023 lineup.
Pundits will be more than happy to welcome Bluesfest’s Breakthrough Artist of 2022 to the stage once more. The genre-blurring Roshani has gained attention for her transcendence from all-out blues to folk and electro house. Roshani will form part of Bluesfest’s Sunday (April 9) and Monday (April 10) bill, where she’ll enlist her repertoire of foot pedals, loop stations, synths, harmonicas and — perhaps most captivatingly — lush vocal harmonies.
Beth Hart’s first-ever solo Australian appearance will take place at Bluesfest, a milestone that adds to the musician’s already expansive list of accolades. Hart’s 2013 covers album Seesaw — co-created by Joe Bonamassa — earned a Grammy nomination for Best Blues Album, on top of a slew of separate nods at the Blues Music Awards.
Hart’s smash singles include LA Song, I’ll Take Care of You, Better Than Home, Fire on the Floor, and Bang Bang Boom Boom. Be sure to catch Heart’s debut solo Australian set when she takes to Bluesfest stage on Thursday (April 6), Saturday (April 8) and Monday (April 10).
Fronted by sisters Rebecca Lovell and Megan Lovell, Larkin Poe will appear at Bluesfest for a second time following their set at the festival’s 2019 edition. Mixing gospel-like melodies with gritty vocals, Larkin Poe have earned praise from the likes of Keith Urban, Bob Seger and Russell Crowe, and have released two albums in 2020 — titled Self Made Man and Kindred Spirits. Larkin Poe will perform at Bluesfest on Thursday and Friday (April 6 – 7).
With three decades in the industry and as many Grammy wins to her name, Lucinda Williams has little interest in slowing down. Williams’ first two albums — Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone and Ghosts of Highway 20 — were released in 2014 and 2016, with her follow up arriving in 2020’s Good Soul Better Angels.
The latter project earned Williams two Grammy nominations, with its tracks later being performed by the singer on the late night talk show circuit and featuring in The New York Times and Rolling Stone. Williams will grace the Bluesfest stage on Thursday and Friday (April 6 – 7).
Armed with latest 2018 album Feline Roots, Nikki Hill will bring her quintessential blues and roots sound to the bluesfest stage this Easter, with performances slated on the bill of every day of the four-day event (April 6 – April 10). Hill’s three-album catalogue includes 2013 debut Here’s Nikki Hill, and its 2015 follow up Heavy Hearts Hard Fists, the latter of which accounts for the singer-songwriter’s millions-strong streaming numbers.
Rightfully billed as a global national treasure, Mavis Staples’ much-lauded career will include a two-day enthralling stay at Bluesfest 2023 (April 9 – 10). Staples’ full-length collaborative album with Grammy-winner Ben Harper — titled We Get By — arrived in 2019, adding to what was an already illustrious career for the I’ll Take You There singer.
Among Staples’ accolades is a Blues and Rock Hall of Fame induction, twelve studio albums, status as a civil rights champion, Grammy Award wins and a Kennedy Centre honouree. Dubbed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” Mavis Staples 2023 Bluesfest set is no-doubt unmissable.