BEN HARPER and Santana top the bill in the first announcement of artists to play the 2013 Byron Bay Bluesfest.
Chris Isaak, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Steve Miller, Bonnie Raitt and Wilco are the other big names booked for the festival. It's a broad range - from Iggy's in-your-face godfather of punk routine; Isaak's cool guitar mistrelsy; Wilco's ultra-hip Americana-influenced rock and Raitt's torch-song Nashville country - and fulfils director Peter Noble's promise that the line-up would be "red hot sizzling and full of surprises".
The announcement is earlier than usual because of the "extraordinary" list of performers on offer this year, Mr Noble said.
Ben Harper is no stranger to the Bluesfest crowd, having played in 2011 and 2009, and he has a loyal following in the Byron shire and beyond.
Santana were huge in the '60s and their song Black Magic Woman has become a classic.
Guitar maestro Carlos Santana has morphed from his first Latin-funk outings, through Eastern mysticism, playing with the likes of John McLaughlin's band the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and has returned to popularity with recent recordings.
His last album was entirely instrumental.
Iggy's appearance should galvanise the crowd.
Now back with the Stooges and in his mid-60s somewhat more sedate than in the self-lacerating wild days, he is nevertheless guaranteed to get his shirt off and may even do a bit of stage diving. He had sworn off the habit, but even a couple of years ago was still giving himself up to the adoring mob, something that inevitably ended in his shedding blood.
Also listed in the first announcement are the Dropkick Murphys, Glen Hansard with the Frames and the Tedeschi Trucks Band, who proved very popular last year with their big guitar sound.
Mr Noble reckons he's truly outdone himself for the 2013 festival.
"The artists who have confirmed their appearances have surpassed my wildest dreams - almost everyone who we have offered to come has said yes," he said.
Ticket prices will increase from today, "due to the magnitude of talent performing at Bluesfest 2013", Mr Noble said. There will be further price increases with each of the three artist announcements in coming weeks.
"Please understand that we simply cannot bring you the great artists without raising the prices," he said.
A five-day pass is currently $405. Bluesfest is at the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm from Thursday, March 28, to Monday, April 1.
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