Blues ‘n’ Roots

Homegrown heroes John Butler Trio will headline West Coast Blues ‘n’ Roots festival on March 29 next year.

The globetrotting roots king will close the main stage at Fremantle Park, a mere stone’s throw from where Butler cut his teeth as a busker two decades ago.

British singers Paolo Nutini and David Gray, live hip-hop powerhouse Jurassic 5 and Australian songwriting icon Paul Kelly will also appear at the 12th annual bluesfest.

Festival promoter David Chitty said the decision to give Butler top billing reflected his growing international profile.

The local legend spent eight months on the road this year, playing shows in Australia, Europe and Japan and touring the US three times to growing audiences.

His burgeoning popularity extends to Europe. “I’ve heard buskers in France doing John Butler songs, ” Mr Chitty said yesterday.

While the likes of Bob Dylan, James Brown, Paul Simon, Crowded House and John Fogerty starred at previous West Coast Blues ‘n’ Roots, organisers went for a “well-rounded” line-up for next year.

Mr Chitty said fans preferred to see top tier artists play seated indoor shows in venues such as Perth Arena rather than an outdoor festival.

The 2015 line-up blends veterans, such as funk pioneer George Clinton, reggae legend Jimmy Cliff and gospel-soul singer Mavis Staples, with rising stars Kim Churchill, Beth Hart and Lanie Lane.

Kelly brings the Merri Soul Sessions featuring guests Dan Sultan, Clairy Browne and Vika and Linda Bull to West Coast Blues ‘n’ Roots, two months after his new soul revue makes its WA debut at Scarborough.

About 15,000 music lovers saw Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer and Elvis Costello perform at this year’s festival and Mr Chitty hopes the same number flock to Fremantle next year.

Limited early bird tickets went on sale for $139, with prices rising to $159 closer to the event.


© The West Australian

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