Bluesfest brings massive crowds

Peter Noble must have a smile a mile wide.

With massive crowds, a massive line-up of some of the world’s best music makers and magnificent weather (with the exception of Tuesday), Bluesfest 2011 has surpassed all expectations.

A record crowd on Thursday, a sell-out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (110,000 people passed through the gates during the six days) and five straight days of glorious sunshine, had the crowd in a festive mood and celebrations continued well into the night on Tuesday as the festival wound up on a high.

Mr Noble, the Bluesfest director said everything had ‘worked’ and this was helped by the fact that this year site managers and other support staff were all ‘local’.

“We made a decision not to bring in outside site managers, we just wanted the locals to run it and everyone has said that it’s the best run festival in Australia,” he said.

“Only traffic management on Thursday had required a few urgent debriefs.

“Many people have said that this year’s Bluesfest was the best ever and we are definitely now on a world level.”

“It’s a great credit to the people who live and work in the Byron Shire.

“I’m really happy with this year’s festival.”

History was made at Bluesfest on Monday when the weather held for the fifth straight day and rock legend Bob Dylan finally got to play in the Byron Shire.

The Mojo stage was packed to capacity (and more) for his performance.

“Dylan told me he wants to come back to Bluesfest and play for five nights straight,” Mr Noble said.

“His show has been called the ‘best in a decade.’”

Those who didn’t see Dylan were rewarded with a top-class act from Jethro Tull at the Crossroads.

The huge line-up of artists had fans gasping for more and stand-out performances included Texan rockers ZZ Top; Ben Harper and Relentless 7, Toots and the Maytals, Eric Bibb, Fistful of Mercy starring Ben Harper and George Harrison’s son Dhani, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band, Imogen Heap, Jack Thompson and the Original Sinners and Elvis Costello and The Impostors.

And it wasn’t just the fans that were happy with events. Police reported model behaviour from the record crowd.

“It’s been really good,” Inspector Gary Cowan said. “There have been no dramas.”

Bluesfest was summed up by Eric Bibb who told the crowd on Friday that the festival was ‘like-minded souls working together to represent the best in music and performance’.

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