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Bob Dylan to play Bluesfest

Bob Dylan.
Bob Dylan.

FOR years he refused to play in a town he'd never heard of, but finally Bob Dylan will grace Byron Bay's Bluesfest with his folk saintly presence.

In a huge coup, the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival has confirmed an impressive trifecta of headline acts with influential English troubadour Elvis Costello and blues legend BB King joining Dylan over the Easter weekend.

Dylan is scheduled to play on Monday night, but the day of his performance is subject to change.

Bluesfest director Peter Noble has been chasing Dylan's signature since 2003 when the folk legend was booked to play but was forced to pull out at the last minute.

"Bob Dylan and BB King are rock royalty and we especially wanted to get Dylan because of the counter culture and protest music in his early career representing a lot of what Byron Bay was once about," Noble says.

"Byron used to be such an anti-establishment hippy town and to get Bob to play here has always been the Holy Grail.

"He used to say `don't put me in any town I've never heard of' and finally we've done it, although I think he's heard of Byron now.

"Elvis Costello is the icing on the cake of the best line-up we've had in years."

While the three play their maiden shows in Byron Bay - King returns to Australia for the first time since 1995 - Bluesfest will welcome back some familiar faces including Michael Franti and Spearhead, and Mexican duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela.

Ben Harper will introduce his new supergroup Fistful Of Mercy, comprising also of Joseph Arthur and George Harrison's son Dhani Harrison, as well as playing with his band du jour the Relentless Seven.

Another enticing collaboration sees The Blind Boys Of Alabama paired with soul master Aaron Neville for the first time in Australia.

Other international visitors will include Eric Bibb, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, Robert Randolph & The Family Band and Tony Joe White.

From New Zealand the mighty Trinity Roots return newly reformed and bringing along their side-project Little Bushmen, while local acts include The Cat Empire, Ash Grunwald, Washington, Xavier Rudd, Kate Miller-Heidke, C.W. Stoneking and Saltwater Band.

Two more line-up announcements will be made in the coming months but tickets are likely to move fast on Dylan's inclusion alone and are on sale now.

Bluesfest runs over the Easter long weekend from Thursday, April 21, to Monday, April 25, at Tyagarah, outside Byron Bay.

Official festival website

Official Bob Dylan website


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