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FORMER Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant is to make his first Australian concert appearance in 16 years when he headlines next year's Bluesfest at Byron Bay.

The singer, who has been a solo performer since the break-up of Led Zeppelin in 1980, will appear with his new band, the Sensational Shape Shifters.

The group has been touring in the US and including a handful of Led Zeppelin songs as well as material from Plant's recent album Band of Joy.

The singer's last Australian tour was in 1996 with his former Zeppelin bandmate Jimmy Page. Led Zeppelin toured Australia in 1972.

Bluesfest promoter Pete Noble said he was honoured to have such a prestigious name on the five-day Bluesfest bill over the Easter holiday. Plant will perform on the Saturday night.

"Bringing Robert Plant to Bluesfest is a dream come true," said Noble, "not just for me, but for the thousands of fans who have been standing by patiently all these years."

Also announced on the bill will be a handful of rock veterans, including Yes singer Jon Anderson, Supertramp frontman Roger Hodgson, English ska/pop favourites Madness and the band currently enjoying a wave of success promoting an Australian supermarket chain, Status Quo.

They join other big global names on the Bluesfest roster, including Santana, Ben Harper, Iggy and the Stooges, reggae singer Jimmy Cliff, Chris Isaac, Bonnie Raitt and the American rock band Wilco.

Next year's Bluesfest, the 24th, at Tyagarah Tea Farm in Byron Bay, will be held from Thursday, March 28, until Monday, April 1.

From: The Australian

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