Bustling crowds enjoy the best of rhythm and blues under blue skies

Blues lovers from around the globe can hang up their fedoras and relish in the music and memories made during the 22nd annual Blues on Broadbeach.

Record numbers of fans, new and old, made the pilgrimage to the Gold Coast for the much-loved festival. Across four epic days, tens of thousands weaved their way through sunny Broadbeach daily to indulge in the diversity and quality of the live authentic rhythm and blues music.

Blues on Broadbeach 2023 featured over 70 artists across 16 stages, showcasing legendary names from the Australian and international blues world – as well as emerging artists. Fans and artists from all walks of life came together, a testimony to the power of rhythm and soul.

World-renowned guitarist Tommy Emmanuel headlined the festival on Friday night, with anticipated record crowds attending – proving good things are worth the wait, following the postponement of the artist’s show in 2019 due to the pandemic. Saturday night’s performance took crowds on a journey to Memphis and back with the smooth vocals of Marcus Scott sharing the stage with some true blues legends, The Bo-Keys.

The festival had an international feel this year with performances, guests and musical styles from around the globe,” said Major Events Gold Coast Director of Festival and Events Mark Duckworth.

One transnational act returning to the Broadbeach stage was The Turner Brown Band, the collaboration of Australian ‘Backsliders’ guitarist Dom Turner, and vocalist/ sacred-steel-slide guitar extraordinaire Nikki D Brown (Ohio, USA).

Blues on Broadbeach was the festival that we launched The Turner Brown Band for the first time in 2017. To come back all these years later and see the growth, the excitement and diversity of talent is extraordinary.” – Dom Turner, The Turner Brown Band.

Blues players and blues lovers alike cannot be defined by age, gender or nationality, with 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. Facilitating a new generation of musicians to share the stages with masters of their craft, the joy and excitement was palpable as legends and fresh faces took to the Broadbeach stages to share in what they love – music.

Playing her Blues on Broadbeach debut, Steph Strings noted – “I’m pinching myself that I get to play at Blues on Broadbeach for the first time amongst a lineup of my biggest inspirations and the world’s best Blues talent.”

Building new experiences into the festival is something we’ve been really proud of this year. Spreading the footprint further into Federation Park, introducing a piano bar in Broadbeach Mall, having more integration with the local businesses and adding Secret Shows and Masterclass events for our Twelve Bar Society members, we continue to see the festival evolve year on year,” said Mark Duckworth.

The sold-out exclusive Twelve Bar Society lived up to its promise to provide bespoke experiences for members who enjoyed a festival first, a secret show from multi-award-winning Aussie great Lloyd Spiegel. Two unique masterclasses from Memphis based legends Marcus Scott and The Bo-Keys, plus an intimate session with the world’s greatest acoustic guitarist Tommy Emmanuel were also on offer.

Tommy talked about his playing style, cutting his teeth as a session musician, collaborating with the world’s best and treated us to an unrecorded song… we couldn’t ask for more” – said Mark Duckworth.

The 2023 festival was an uplifting celebration of rhythm and blues that solidified its place as one of Australia’s most beloved music events in its two-decade run. With picture postcard weather, a beachside location and over 200 hours of world class music, it’s no wonder crowds were at an anticipated all time high proving Blues on Broadbeach 2023 is one that won’t be forgotten quickly.

Music lovers book in 16-19 May 2024, and get ready to find your rhythm at the 23rd Blues on Broadbeach.

This year’s festival wraps after an incredibly successful 2023 with thanks to our Sponsor Family: City of Gold Coast, Tourism and Events Queensland, Gold Coast Airport, Memphis Tourism, Yugambeh Region Aboriginal Corporation Alliance (YRACA), Clean Vibes, 92.5 Triple M and EventElec.

Blues on Broadbeach is supported by the Queensland Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland, and is a feature on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.