The Bridgetown 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.
Friday is filled with a lot of music workshops and bands mostly just play at schools during the day, Friday night sees the marquees 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.
Saturday 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.
Sunday 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)
*The Bridgetown – 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.
*Freemasons Hotel – Decent music, Decent Atmosphere, very loose with ID, pretty much anybody can get in.
+Freemasons Corner – 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.
*Scotts Tavern – 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.
+Scotts Corner – 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.
*Geegelup Marquee# – Some good music here, I haven’t spent much time there so can’t really say that much.
*Festival Club#– 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.
Repertory Theatre– 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.
*Alfresco Bar#– 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 in Greenbushes, Settlers Rest, Lusifers Café, The Corr, Bridgetown Pottery, The Blues Shop, Halfway Café and many more.

Tent City – 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.
Budget Camping – 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.

Alex Burns
Andrea and Emily
Annie Bavin – Sax and the Single Girl
Ashley Arbuckle and Electriclassics
Ash Grunwald
Barbara Blue
Barry Charles
Bayou Brothers
Bernard Carney
Billy Jack and the Ship
Big Al James
Bluegrass Parkway
Blue Eyed Merle
Blue Shaddy Band
Blue Tonics
Bob Brozman
Bob Patient
Bondi Cigars
Bronnie Gordan and the Allstars
Cadence A Capella
Circus Freefall
Christian Jones
Christian Maucery
Chris Finnen
Chris Wilson
Cyril Manuel
Damon Davies
Dave Clark
Deja Blues
Del Ray
Dirk Dubios
Doc Span & Ross Williams
Don Hopkins
Dr. Brown
Drunken Hearted Men
Dutch Tilders
Earth Bound
Eugene "Hideaway" Bridges
Fellin' Groovy
Fiona Boyes
Flying Kazbar Brothers
Funky Fairy Band
Gallows Pole
Garry Ridge
Garry Stoyles and the Shufflemasters
Gerard Maunick
Glen Swift
Greg Bowles
Groove Unit
Hans Deberitz
Hatz Fitz and the Blooze Bitz
High Steppin'
Hoghill Boys
Hot Biscuit Band
Indigo Blues
Indigo Duck
Ivan Zar
Jan Preston
Jeff Lang
Johnathon Cope
John Burn
John Butler Trio
John Hammond
John Myer and the Blues Express
John Roberts
Johnny Segar Band
Johnnie Johnson
John Wilson
Kayla Brox
Kern Sinpson
Kerri-Anne Cox
Kerri Simpson
Kerrie Sweeney
Kim Betteray and Clair Barry
Kristina Olson
Lee Sappho
Lez Karski
Lil Fi
Lloyd Spiegel
Lois Olney
Love Handles
Luck Oceans
Lynwood Slim
Made To Fit
Man About a Dog
Marcus Sturrock
Marco Goldsmith
Marie and Beth
Matt Angel
Matt Corcoran
Matt Taylor
McClarke's Grey Vest
Mic Conway
Mighty Mudcats
Nacho Mama's
Nathan Cavalieri
Nathan Gaunt and the Black Eyed Dogs
Nick Charles
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
Peter Greyling
Peter Harper
Peter Howell
Phil Bennett
Pip Colayden and John Hood
Prairie Stompers
Recommended Dose
Reef Raff
Richard Pavledis
Rocket and Lee
Rodney Vervest
Sacred Tuesday
Scott Wise
Shane Dixon
Six Appeal
Sista Blue
Sky Climbers
Sleepy Jackson
Spencer Tracy
Star Pickets
Stoney’s Blues Band
Steve Tallis
Strange Attractors
Suicide Ghosts
Sweet Blue Midnight
Ten Cent Shooters
The Donkeys
The Mothers
The Mojos
The Riders
The Sultans
The Vernons
The Waifs
Tin Dog
Toby Whittington
Tom Haran
Tommy Emanuel
Toni Swain
Universal Blues Band
Velvet Janes
Victor Brox
Will Taylor
43 Cambridge