Blues Festival is an annual event held in Bridgetown, Western Australia
on the second weekend of November from the Friday morning to the Sunday evening. It causes the population of Bridgetown to swell from about 2500 (5000 in the shire
) to 15-20 000 people and is a good excuse for pubs to sell alcohol
at double the regular price.
is filled with a lot of music workshops and bands mostly just play at schools during the day, Friday night sees the marquee
s and pubs come alive with lots of good music, mostly blues
as the name of the festival would suggest, but also a lot of other good stuff as well.
the main street of Bridgetown is closed of for the biggest street party
in the state and while most of the top bands stick to the marquees, which you need a weekend or day ticket to get into, there is plenty to see for free in the pubs and on the street. There are also a lot of street stalls and buskers. Saturday night is usually the biggest night musically.
sees the blues wrapping up. While performances are scheduled that night usually turns into a huge and very cool Jam session
To get the best of the blues you really need a weekend ticket
, which isn’t cheap. Currently I think it is about $90 for an adult, but you can still have a very good time without one. A lot of locals tend to be able to get their tickets for free because they lend caravans, volunteer time, or just manage somehow to scam one.
The Blues is yet to run at a profit
, although they expect it to eventually.
The First blues was held in 1993 and well, I don’t really know much significant
history. The changes I have noticed about the blues are not big things but rather little things that have made a difference to me, so here they are.
*I remember when
I was 14 being able to jump the fence to get into Scotts Tavern
and then when I was 16 there being a huge fence put up around it so you couldn’t jump the fence anymore.
*I remember being able to use old weekend tickets (they were those bands around your wrist) or bands from other events to get into the marquees, the wrist bands were never the same but at night they were similar enough to fool the security guards. A couple of years ago they changed
to a new style, paper ones with pictures on them, they aren’t as common and the colours are different enough so that even at night one from the previous year wouldn’t pass for the current years ticket.
*I remember John Butler
came down for about 3 blues festivals in a row then all of a sudden he was too big, he said he would still come. If we could afford him. Which we couldn’t.
*One big change, that probably is significant, has been the Main event
at the showgrounds, There used to be a huge event on the Saturday night at the showgrounds, headliners like Tommy Emanuel and Nathan Cavalieri. It didn’t need a weekend or day pass, you could just pay at the gate, it was all ages yet still licensed (I think, there was plenty of alcohol anyway). Then they decided to scrap the showgrounds all together, which sucked
. Now there is no main event.
#Weekend or day ticket needed. *Licensed area. +Street Venues (Saturday only)
– Never spent much time here so I cant say much about the music or atmosphere
, can be strict with ID if you don’t look 18, or don’t have big tits but lax enough that it is worth a shot.
– Decent music
, Decent Atmosphere, very loose with ID
, pretty much anybody can get in.
– Where you will find some of the best street music during Saturday. There are licensed areas around the front of Freemasons and also The Bridgetown across the road where you can sit, have a drink and listen. Or you can stand/sit in the street area and listen.
– In my opinion the place to be for the best music and a great atmosphere if you have not got a weekend ticket and in fact I spend a lot of time here even when I do have a weekend pass. They are very stric
on ID here though so if you’re not 18
and don’t look then bad luck.
– Where you will hear most of the school bands during Saturday, Bridgetown High
has a great music program and turns and some very good musicians so it’s worth checking out.
*Blue Owls Nest Marquee
# – Weekend
or day passes needed to get in, this is where the biggest and best play, great music, fairly good atmosphere.
# – Some good music here, I haven’t spent much time there so can’t really say that much.
#– For weekend passes only, A place to sit down, have a drink and listen to some good music. Has a café, plenty of chairs and tables and a small dance floor.
– During the day there is mostly workshops
, during the evening acoustic music. One of the only alcohol free venues. Possibly not a free venue, have never been there so cant be sure.
#– This is the place to go to check out the southwest
talent, haven’t spent much time here myself so I cant say how good it is.
There are also many other places around town that you can hear bands, these include – Nelson’s Restaurant
, The Cidery
, Exchange Hotel
, Settlers Rest
, Lusifers Café
, The Corr
, Bridgetown Pottery
, The Blues Shop
, Halfway Café
and many more.
– Weekend Ticket holders can stay at tent city on the High School oval from Friday till Monday for $155 (prices for children
are pretty reasonable), this includes Breakfast. $230 includes a weekend Ticket. The tents are fairly spacey and comfortable
, you bring your own bedding.
– This is at the Showgrounds (formally at the Greater Sports Ground) and you can pitch a tent here for the weekend for $35, there is no pre-booking
, so get in early to get a good spot. If you haven’t got a friend or a friend of a friend in Bridgetown then this is your best option.
There are all the normal Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, Motels, Caravan Park etc but these are pretty much booked out a year in advanced.
Over the years there have been many top local, national and international acts playing at the blues festival. This list includes many of but not all these acts.
Please note, the bolded ones are not the best or biggest, just some of my personal favourites.
Andrea and Emily
Annie Bavin – Sax and the Single Girl
Ashley Arbuckle and Electriclassics
Billy Jack and the Ship
Big Al James
Blue Eyed Merle
Blue Shaddy Band
Bronnie Gordan and the Allstars
Cadence A Capella
Doc Span & Ross Williams
Drunken Hearted Men
Eugene "Hideaway" Bridges
Flying Kazbar Brothers
Funky Fairy Band
Garry Stoyles and the Shufflemasters
Hatz Fitz and the Blooze Bitz
Hot Biscuit Band
John Butler Trio
John Myer and the Blues Express
Johnny Segar Band
Kim Betteray and Clair Barry
Made To Fit
Man About a Dog
Marie and Beth
McClarke's Grey Vest
Nathan Gaunt and the Black Eyed Dogs
No Naked Lights
Not Heavy Just Awkward
Paul Daly and the Fundamentals
Paul Felton Band
Paul O’Brien and Thundershuffle
Paul Ubana Jones
PD Hale and the Blue Room
Perth Blues Club Showcase
Pip Colayden and John Hood
Rocket and Lee
Stoney’s Blues Band
Sweet Blue Midnight
Ten Cent Shooters
Universal Blues Band