The 22nd annual Blues on Broadbeach festival has come to a close, leaving blues lovers from around the world with unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for the authentic rhythm and blues music that echoed through the sunny streets of Broadbeach on Australia’s Gold Coast. This year’s festival, held over four epic May days, drew record numbers of old and new fans who flocked to indulge in the diversity and sheer quality of the live performances.
With over 70 artists gracing 16 stages, Blues on Broadbeach 2023 featured a remarkable lineup of legendary figures from the Australian and international blues scene, as well as emerging talents. This convergence of fans and artists from all walks of life served as a testament to the enduring power of rhythm and soul.
Friday night saw the festival come alive as world-renowned guitarist Tommy Emmanuel took the stage, headlining the event. Anticipated record-breaking crowds turned up, eager to experience Emmanuel’s unmatched musical prowess. The excitement was palpable, particularly after the artist’s show was postponed in 2019 due to the pandemic. On Saturday night, the audience was treated to a mesmerizing journey to Memphis and back, as the smooth vocals of Marcus Scott harmonized with true blues legends, The Bo-Keys.
Mark Duckworth, the Director of Festival and Events at Major Events Gold Coast, remarked, “The festival had an international feel this year with performances, guests, and musical styles from around the globe.” One act that made a triumphant return to the Broadbeach stage was The Turner Brown Band, a collaboration between Australian ‘Backsliders’ guitarist Dom Turner and vocalist/sacred-steel-slide guitar extraordinaire Nikki D Brown from Ohio, USA.
“Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival was the festival where we launched The Turner Brown Band for the first time in 2017. To come back all these years later and witness the growth, the excitement, and the diversity of talent is extraordinary,” expressed Dom Turner of The Turner Brown Band.
The beauty of blues music lies in its ability to transcend age, gender, and nationality, as demonstrated by the wide range of performers and attendees at Blues on Broadbeach. There was an impressive 61-year age gap between 22-year-old Melbourne singer-songwriter Steph Strings and 83-year-old US swamp-rock legend Tommy McLain. The festival provided a platform for a new generation of musicians to share stages with masters of their craft, creating an atmosphere of joy and excitement as legends and fresh faces came together to celebrate their shared love for music.
Steph Strings, making her Blues on Broadbeach debut, expressed her gratitude, saying, “I’m pinching myself that I got to play at Blues on Broadbeach for the first time among a lineup of my biggest inspirations and the world’s best Blues talent.”
Mark Duckworth further highlighted the festival’s commitment to evolving and providing new experiences for attendees, stating, “Building new experiences into the festival is something we’ve been really proud of this year.” The festival expanded its footprint into Federation Park, introduced a piano bar in Broadbeach Mall, fostered closer integration with local businesses, and added Secret Shows and Masterclass events exclusively for members of the Twelve Bar Society.
The sold-out Twelve Bar Society delivered on its promise to offer bespoke experiences, treating its members to a secret show by the multi-award-winning Australian great, Lloyd Spiegel. Two unique masterclasses by Memphis-based legends Marcus Scott and The Bo-Keys, along with an intimate session featuring the world’s greatest acoustic guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel, were also part of the exclusive offerings.
Describing the masterclass with Tommy Emmanuel, Duckworth exclaimed, “Tommy talked about his playing style, his experiences as a session musician, his collaborations with the world’s best, and even treated us to an unreleased song. It was an experience we couldn’t have asked for more.”
As the curtains closed on the 2023 Blues on Broadbeach festival, it solidified its place as one of Australia’s most beloved music events throughout its two-decade run. With picture-perfect weather, a beachside location, and over 200 hours of world-class music, it’s no wonder that crowds reached an all-time high,
We’re excited to see you all back on the Gold Coast for Blues on Broadbeach 2024,
Music lovers book in 16-19 May 2024, and get ready to find your rhythm at the 23rd Blues on Broadbeach.