Nov 21, 2008
May 29, 2009
And so after a wonderful few days in Byron Bay on our own Anna and I could see the place beginning to fill up as we approached the yearly event held here in Byron Bay known as Bluesfest. This is a music festival which specialises in the music styles that are popular here in Australia commonly categorised as Blues and Roots. There is a wonderful diversity to this classification and the styles of music ranged from classic New Orleans style blues music, to rocky electric guitar to spanish guitar styles and gospel. The festival also features huge stars such as Ben Harper and Australian music legends like Xavier Rudd and John Butler and so people had flocked from all over the country to come to the festival and it showed, the price of accommodation practically doubled for the duration of the easter weekend. The festival runs for 5 days although Anna and I had 3 day tickets having to catch a flight to Melbourne on Monday. We were privileged enough to be invited to join the wonderful group of family and friends in a house rented for the occasion which was right opposite the beach and a short walk from the festival itself. The atmosphere in the house was fantastic as everyone was down for a good time and peals of laughter were a frequent sound echoing throughout. Mornings were kicked off with a hearty breakfast often followed by a swim at the beach and the required body boarding before a brief relaxing rest on the sand, followed by a short walk to the festival to catch the selected bands or acts that were scheduled to play. The music was absolutely top drawer and the massive range of artists and styles of music available that were distributed amongst the 6 huge marquees meant that there was always something to satisfy everyone's music taste and people from all ages and all walks of life came to enjoy the festival giving it an eclectic and varied atmosphere that was bright and friendly. During some of the days or overnight it rained fairly heavily, which meant the obligatory festival mud, but being only a fraction of the size of Glastonbury and having done some clever preparatory work such as wood chip and sand layering, the muck was kept to a manageable level. In between the music tents, mouth watering food stalls or funky trinket and clothes tents displayed their wares meaning that if you needed to take a break and sit down for a Chai or browse some of the shops for treasures, escaping the crowded tents wasn't a problem. We saw a litany of brilliant acts, the edgy and passionate "Seasick Steve", the Blind Boys from Alabama, a gospel band with a difference whose pinnacle was a version of Amazing Grace to the tune of the house of the rising sun, Ben Harper and many more. The highlight of the festival for me however was in the small cabaret tent where a little known troupe of artists called Kush Cabaret delighted Anna and I with a wonderful story of passion and betrayal acted out with circus style panache to the accompaniment of a frenetic violin and piano accordian. Even with all this amazing festival activity carrying on around us for me the greatest part of the easter weekend was the opportunity to share this amazing holiday with friends and family in a glorious atmosphere at such a special event.