Bluesfest move is a winner

Popular Bluesfest performer Taj Mahal puts in an eye-popping performance at the festival.
Popular Bluesfest performer Taj Mahal puts in an eye-popping performance at the festival.

It was new, yet it was all familiar.

The music, the massive tents, the mega crowds and in some areas the mud – it could only be Bluesfest 2010.

With an expansive new site at Tyagarah which has been given the thumbs-up by music punters, as well as a 21st birthday to celebrate, the festival is being hailed ‘as one of the best ever’.

And while some areas of the new site were boggy, there was more sunshine than rain, leaving smiles on the faces of the crowd and organisers alike.

With a sell-out crowd on Easter Saturday, thousands of people enjoyed more than 100 performances from musicians who had travelled from all parts of the globe to be part of the internationally renowned and Australia’s most-awarded festival.

With headline artists including Jack Johnson, Crowded House, The Fray, John Butler Band, a host of young up-and-comers including Jessica Mauboy, old blues favourites Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal and the Music Maker Relief Foundation, guitar wizards including Jeff Beck, this year’s line-up had something for everyone.

While many of the headline acts left the crowd screaming for more, it was the sometimes lesser-known musicians that for many punters put a ‘smile on their dial’.

Dressed up as characters from the Wizard of Oz, US band Poor Man’s Whiskey’s playful acoustic rendition of songs from Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, taken from their most recent album ‘Darkside of the Moonshine’, was one act not to be missed.

Touted by Rhythms magazine as ‘this could well be the hit of the festival’, this high-energy band played a lively fusion of folk, punk, bluegrass, rock and disco, and for me was the standout at Bluesfest.

Lyle Lovett also received ‘rave’ reviews from those punters who watched his performance on Saturday night, and Imelda May’s rockabilly style was also a crowd-pleaser.

A tired but elated Bluesfest director Peter Noble told the Byron News on Monday that he was thrilled with the festival.

“While numbers may have been down a bit on last year, it’s been really, really great,” Mr Noble said.

“I don’t know of anything that’s gone wrong really. Sure, there’s been a few teething problems with the new site, and sure, there were traffic queues trying to get out at night, but you would expect that at any major music or sporting event.

“I am very happy with the new site and the Bluesfest team has demonstrated that it can run a damn good event on a damn good site and do it damn well.

“People have told me that it’s easier to get around and that there are no bottlenecks.”

Mr Noble said a lot of people had worked very hard to pull off this year’s event and he hoped the festival would be judged glowingly and given a fair go.

“I especially want to thank our engineer, Greg Alderson, who is responsible for this amazing, purpose-built festival site,” he said.

Mr Noble said this year’s festival had attracted acts that were simply incredible.

“While I have had no time to really see anyone, I did manage to catch Roger Hodgson, formerly of Supertramp,” he said.

“I am proud of what we have achieved and we have achieved it to world’s best standards. It’s simply been brilliant.”

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