Noble said the Bluesfest team worked hard to secure as much of the 2020 line-up for 2021 as they could, with the festival scheduled for April 1 to 5.

“When we had to cancel this year’s festival the first thing we did was contact our insurance company to check we were covered,” he said. “The second thing we did was to go to all the artists and see if they wanted to come back.

“A large majority of the artists said they wanted to come back because they need to do what they do, which is get out there and entertain the public.”

The majority of ticketholders for this year’s festival have already been refunded, with around 20 per cent of claims still being processed. Noble says that should next year’s event also be cancelled, ticketholders will be refunded – despite the festival no longer being able to secure insurance against a pandemic.

The line-up announcement comes as the Victorian government prepares to send large parts of the state back to stage three restrictions after a spike in cases, and Noble said he is aware the situation is constantly evolving and changing quickly. However, audiences are still eager to attend the festival, despite the uncertainty.

Last week the festival opened its early bird sales and Noble said more than 15,000 tickets have already been sold. The festival can usually accommodate around 30,000 people a day but that number may need to be lowered to adhere to any social distancing measures still in place next year.


“I’m sure there will be a bunch of people who won’t want to come but there will be another bunch who want to get out and support the entertainment industry,” Noble said.

“I am sure there are going to be hurdles in the road, but we want to do whatever it takes to be able to put those artists on a stage and make an event that is safe for the public to return to.”

The first artist announcement includes 30 Australian acts and 20 international acts. The ability of the international acts to perform will rely on Australia’s borders reopening or artists coming from within proposed travel bubbles. A second artist announcement will be made closer to the event.

2021 first line-up:

Bon Iver, Patti Smith and her band, Jimmy Barnes, George Benson, The Teskey Brothers, John Butler, Xaiver Rudd, The Cat Empire, Kool & The Gang, The Gipsy Kings, Kasey Chambers, The Waifs, Troy Cassar-Daley, Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Wailers, Morcheeba, The Black Sorrows, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Tori Kelly, Buffy Sainte-Marie, The Marcus King Band, Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram, Jimmie Vaughan, John Mayall, Melbourne Ska Orchestra, Chain, Larkin Poe, Weddings, Parties, Anything, Backsliders, Harts plays Hendrix, Ash Grunwald, The War & Treaty, Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles, Walter Trout, The Bamboos, Mick Thomas’ Roving Commission, Dami Im, Pierce Brothers, Emily Wurramara, Roshani, Ray Beadle, Henry Wagons, Hussy Hicks, Pacey, King & Doley, Daniel Champagne, Nathan Cavaleri, Little Georgia.

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