The Pogues
The Pogues

Bluesfest draws record crowd

HISTORY was made at the 2012 Byron Bay Bluesfest when 80,000 revellers enjoyed the driest event in 23 years.

The balmy weather would have contributed to the attendance numbers, which were up by 5000 from 2009 and 2010.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were sold out and the other two days were at two-thirds of capacity.

Festival director Peter Noble said while they were never "going to top" Bob Dylan in 2011, the overall level of performances was of a higher standard this year.

"It's in the top three (Bluesfest) line-ups ever," he said.

Even notoriously difficult The Pogues frontman Shane McGowan put on a good show.

"They (The Pogues) dropped a beauty," Mr Noble said.

"Cold Chisel did all the classics and the fans loved it."

Mr Noble cited funk legends Earth, Wind and Fire - on their first Australian tour - as one of many highlights and hinted it would not be the last time they appeared at the festival.

"I saw kids who are as young as 16 up to my age group going, 'How good is that!'" he said.

Earth, Wind and Fire, Crosby, Stills and Nash and My Morning Jacket were among the most popular drawcards.

Mr Noble said he had been approached by many of this year's featured artists asking if they could come back next year.

The tent city on site at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm accommodated 4500 music lovers.

The festival employed 500 people each day.

"It's a huge business," Mr Noble said.

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