So lucky we have the Blues in Byron Bay
TOURING the Bluesfest Tyagarah site yesterday, you could be forgiven in thinking a small suburb was being constructed, such is the scale of behind-the-scenes work going on.
Down a labyrinth of makeshift back alleys are semi-trailers in their dozens; forklift trucks buzz around and dozens of workers in high-vis gear are on the scene.
Overseeing this village-building activity is Bluesfest boss Peter Noble who, when told another news crew is waiting, flicks the request away with "I will not be hurried" and off we set on a rather leisurely tour of the festival grounds.
"Over here is new," he gestures proudly, pointing to a new Virgin Mobile relax and recharge zone complete with relaxing deck chairs.
"This is the new very VIP area," he says, pointing at the new two-storey VIP venue with its own balcony and private beer garden.
"That's a field hospital," he says, pointing to the first aid tent.
Along the way he stops to talk to regular stallholders and crew, asking after family members and getting invited to a barbecue.
With this year's festival celebrating its 25th birthday, it's not surprising the camaraderie established on the site at the Blues.
"We pay people well; we treat them well and we attract the best people," Noble says of his team.
While other music festivals have come and gone; and Bluesfest directors have come and gone, the self-described "the last man standing" says his festival has also hit the right chord with punters because the focus is always on the audience.
As our impromptu tour ends, the first of 5000 festival campers are starting to arrive and this morning the village gates will welcome 20,000 people-a-day.
"If you were to describe us as a car - we'd be a stripped-back to its basics model," Noble says.
"We spend the money on the music because that's what people are here for."
Weather forecast: It's gonna be a bright, sun-shiny Bluesfest
TODAY: Mostly sunny, 25ºC
TOMORROW: Sunny, 26ºC
SATURDAY: Sunny, 26ºC
SUNDAY: Sunny, 26ºC
MONDAY: Sunny, 27ºC