Grace Hickey on stage for Bluesfest

BLUESFEST BOUND: Grace Hickey will be playing at this year's Byron Bay Bluesfest.
BLUESFEST BOUND: Grace Hickey will be playing at this year's Byron Bay Bluesfest. H.B Fine Art Photography

IN THE space of a week, Grace Hickey will go from jamming at Maclean's Clarence Hotel to the busker's stage at Bluesfest.

Grace earned the slot on the annual festival after winning last year's North Coast Entertainment Industry Association youth category award, and said she could not wait to take to the stage.

"I'm so excited. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it together," she said.

"I'm extremely excited for the opportunity to get out and perform to a whole new crowd, it's just fantastic."

Grace said she and her band had been hard at work rehearsing and putting together their setlist for the gig.

"I'm living in Brisbane so I'm up there most of the time but my band is mostly local people so I've been coming up and down all the time to try and get the line-up and set down," she said.

"Playing at the jam session at the Bottom Pub was invaluable. As of last night I felt that we could do it, we could do it justice. You can rehearse all you want, but performing in front of an audience is when you know how you're going. The crowd was really good on Sunday night, so it's a good sign we're on the right track."

Grace said preparing and playing a set of her own songs presented its own challenge.

"When you're performing covers you've already got a solid foundation with a good song, you've just got to work with that," she said.

"When you're writing your own material and performing you're starting from scratch. The audience has got no relationship with the song so you've got to get up and sell it."

>> Hickey graces 2016 Plunge Festival Guide cover

Backing Grace in her band will be Lachlan Haajer, Roland Porath, Rod Starkey and her father Tony Hickey.

"To be able to share this experience with my dad is something really special," Grace said.

"He is responsible for a lot of my music tastes over the years, especially with blues, so it's great that he can be there with me for this."

Topics:  bluesfest 2017 byron bay bluesfest grace hickey music whatson

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