The 2014 Byron Bay Bluesfest lineup is down one act after Ernest Ranglin controversially pulled out of the festival’s Jamaican Legends show.
Both parties have conflicting accounts of the negotiation breakdown that will no longer see the 81-year-old play alongside Sly & Robbie and Bitty McLean at the John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band headlined event.
The famous guitarist has played with countless greats, including Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff, and featured in the Bluesfest second lineup announcement, however according to Bluesfest, the booking was a sham.
"Bluesfest contacted the agent who represented Ernest Ranglin the first time we toured him and booked, from him, the Jamaican Legends Tour,” festival organisers said. “We were also approached by another agent in France, also claiming to represent Ernest Ranglin. Ernest Ranglin has now contacted Bluesfest to advise he was never approached to come to Australia and tour with Sly & Robbie and Bitty McLean as The Jamaican Legends."
Bluesfest promoters have toured Ernest Ranglin a couple of times before and believe he has instead accepted a better offer in Europe.
"This agency insists they have numerous emails between themselves and Ernest Ranglin clearly stating his acceptance of the Australian Tour. Ernest Ranglin has now accepted other shows in Europe from the French agent that conflict with the Bluesfest Tour. Last time we toured Ernest he had a Jamaican agent!!!"
"Numerous agents claim to represent Jamaican artists and it is difficult to know who is currently representing whom.
"Read into this what you will !! What we read into it, after having successfully toured Ernest Ranglin on two previous occasions via different representatives, among the many who claim to represent him, is that he took a bigger offer after having previously confirmed ours."
The loss of one guitarist shouldn’t do Bluesfest too much damage- the festival attracted 17,000 people per day this year, totalling 85,000 over the course of the four-day event.