Worshipping the Lords of the Licks

The legendary John Fogerty headlined Bluesfest on Saturday and Monday nights.
The legendary John Fogerty headlined Bluesfest on Saturday and Monday nights.

THREE men, on stage, making love in front of an appreciative audience.

It's not what you might think -  but it was the first thing I saw after entering the gates to the 23rd annual Bluesfest at Tyagarah Tea Gardens, near Byron Bay, at the Easter long weekend.

The three men involved were the performers in the G3 show - progressive guitar legends Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and Steve Lukather.

And making love is the closest I can come to describing what they were doing with their instruments.

For two and a half hours they took turns in the spotlight, to the pure bliss of the enraptured audience caught in their musical tractor beam.

The full spectrum of guitar faces was performed as the lords of the licks jammed together in the final, climactic set to send the audience on their way satisfied.

While it was a great start to my festival experience, I had peaked way too early.

I was there for two days out of the five-day celebration of sounds: Friday and Saturday.

It was my first time at the new, permanent home of Bluesfest, a purpose built site that comfortably accommodated the approximately 80,000 people that attended during the course of the event.

And I have to say it was one of my best festival experiences.

Dozens of food stalls, bars and amenities met the crowds' needs and kept queues to a minimum.

Prices were reasonable - for a music festival.

Happy hippies abounded and I didn't see one bit of aggression or agitation.

Getting to and from the venue was quick, easy and inexpensive thanks to a well-organised public transport system and plenty of camping was available on site for those who couldn't tear themselves away.

The weather was sunny by day, clear by night and not uncomfortably cold or hot.

But most importantly the line-up of talent was - as always - fabulous, with John Fogerty, Crosby Stills and Nash, Earth Wind and Fire, The Pogues, The Specials, John Butler Trio, My Morning Jacket, Yes, Buddy Guy, Donovan, Lucinda Williams and Ziggy Marley at the top of the bill.

While I didn't get to see all of the acts on my wish list, personal highlights included John Fogerty, Ziggy Marley, Trombone Shorty and Canned Heat.

And although I may have peaked at the G3 love-in, all other aspects of the festival combined to ensure that high was maintained throughout the two days.

I can't wait to do it all again.

Bring on Bluesfest 2013!

Topics:  bluesfest bluesfest 2012

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