FROM: LYN CREEVEY
This was a fun year for me at bluesfest, for several reasons. I’ve been attending for years, with my daughter (who has grown up attending music festivals) … this year, we convinced some friends to join us – and we all, adults and teenagers – had a fabulous time! They’d been a bit apprehensive about the crowds, and arriving Thursday night was a lovely, slow way to slide into bluesfest before the serious crowds arrive. What can be better than standing with your dear friends and your (and their) teenage daughters listening to John Butler, Bela Fleck and Old Crow Medicine Show ?!! I think thats what I love the most about Bluesfest – there is room for every generation of music lover – and cross pollination of musical tastes and discovery of new acts and ways of making music.
I loved the new venue, though it doesn’t make for ready access to the delights of Byron Bay, unless you have a car. We heard lots of grumbles about waiting for the bus back to Byron, and also the cost of the bus trip, but as we were camping, this didn’t bother us. I think the loos were the cleanest they’ve ever been (nice bonus) and the larger space meant people moved a bit more freely outside the venues. I reckon more showers are needed – 3 for our camping area just didn’t suffice – the queue was enormous! I have a continuing whinge about people smoking inside the tents and think more signage here would be welcome! I reckon there was more litter this year, not sure why. Seemed as though the ticketing worked really smoothly. As somebody who has camped at Woodford since that land was purchased, I guess it takes a few years for all of the infrastructure things to be sorted out – but, I reckon the bluesfest did a great job for their first year in their new home!!
‘housekeeping over’ – onto the music!
What a discovery Lil Band O Gold were! For me, they were the absolute highlight of the festival – I saw them as often as I could! I think Saturday was my favourite day at the festival! Lyell Lovett had to compete with Jessica Mauboy in the noise stakes, but did so with incredible grace, professionalism and wonderful stage presence. We all, kids and adults, loved Old Crow Medicine Show – and the Music Makers foundation. Was fun to introduce my friends to Dr John; Poor Man’s Whisky were lots of fun and its always good to hear Renee Geyer. Colin Hay was great – and the crowd loved ‘land down under'(!), and the Blues Preachers were a lovely discovery.
We were all disappointed in Buana Vista Social Club and, although I love Jack Johnson’s music, I don’t think his live performances stack up against some others (my daughter disagrees!). The kids loved Rockwiz, but felt a bit ripped off when the second show was the same as the first, jokes and all! Sorry I missed the Flatlanders .. next time!
The really good news for me is – my friends are total converts and are lining up, with us, for 2011 already !!
FROM: CAMERON JEFFS
The new site is definitely better drained than Belongil Fields and the line up was fabulous (Joe Bonamassa was my fave). Things that need improvement:
* Sound bleed between tents was the worst I’ve encountered since I started going to Bluesfest in 1993. I was listening to the wonderful Joe Robinson at the Apra stage on Saturday when halfway through the thumping bass and drums of Matisyahu in the Mojo kicked in – completely drowning out poor Joe. Even standing in front of the Apra speakers did not help. Unfortunately I had to leave Joe because I couldn’t hear him properly. On Saturday evening the noise from the First Nation tent marred the gorgeous harmonies of Lyle Lovett – a bloody shame – not fair on Lyle nor the fans who wanted to hear his band. During the Rockwiz show on Sunday, the hostess complained about the sound bleed from the Apra tent. Even Buddy Guy’s show was marred by sound bleed from the Mojo tent during his Albert King tribute song. I don’t know the answer – maybe schedule ‘like’ acts at the same time eg. acoustic v. acoustic or get the sound guys to keep the levels down to a specified level. Some sound guys are either deaf or idiots – the Ross Wilson gig was ridiculously loud. We usually position ourselves in front of the sound desk, but with Ross Wilson we had to move to the back of the tent but it was still distorting. So I went next door to the First Nation to listen to the Narastrato Pan Pipers, but could not hear them over the sound of Ross Wilson. I felt so sorry for the Pan Pipers – their gig was ruined. The sound guys ruined Ross’s gig as well as the shows of other artists.
* A second exit from the Northern Parking area is required. Some people took over an hour and a half to get out on Friday night. I was lucky as I left just before John Butler finished and was parked close to the exit, but it was still very slow going.
Anyway, my wife and I will be back next year – hopefully you are able to sort out the sound bleed problem.
PS: Top 5:
* Joe Bonamassa
* Brian Auger
* Imelda May
* Jeff Beck
FROM: RICKY FULTON
Great new venue !! Cant speak highly enough of the thought that went into it, well done all involved.
My top five:
Imelda May, she is HOT, so are the band.
10CC ! what a treat! Their complex arrangements earned a lot of new fans.
Rodger Hodson, brilliantly warm.
Donovan Frankenreiter, happily warm.
Chase the Sun, Great young aussie band with a top new CD release.
Tip – to get rid of that sticky feeling, try a nude run through the tea tree crop when it is raining – refreshing.
Important camping tip – do not camp where there is a profusion of a little broad leafed weed with a purple flower.
These areas turned to slop very quickly while the mainly grassy areas stayed pretty firm.
My only suggestion for next year would be to try & provide more free water points with shelter if possible. Those water queues were tough going in peak times.
Otherwise my score is ten out of ten !
FROM: KRISTEN & BEN
Bluesfest was cool. Rodriguez was fantastic! Site is excellent. Thankful it didn’t rain much…
FROM: KAREN STEPHENS
My Byron festnotes are as follows:
Full marks to the new site, especially once the female loos were up and running on the first night – plenty of room, no hills and the mud was dealt with quickly
Not the best ever (2004 won for me) but pretty good
Standouts were LBOG’s final gig, Glenn Hansard’s solo bit during the Swell Season, Jeff Beck doing A Day in the Life and Peter Green doing Albatross
My top 5: Old Crow, Jon Cleary, LBOG, Lyle Lovett and Jools Holland
Cheers, Karen Stephens
FROM: ROB WOODLAND
My wife and I thought this year’s Bluesfest was terrific. Venue was great – with much less crowding. Highlights for us were Joe Bonamassa and Lyle Lovett. Bonamassa is the new wonderkid, with an electrifying version of the blues. Lovett was pure class.
Cheers, Rob Woodland
FROM: PETER COLE
My top 5 were as follows:
1. Simply thought the Lil Band O’ Gold was fantastic – went to all three shows (a pity the mixing tended to have the instruments overpowering the vocals).
2. Lyle Lovett was so polished and what a band he had with him – each of them could have featured as artists in their own right.
3. Loved the Flatlanders, a great inter-change between Jimmy Dale, Joe and Butch, it’s a pity they didn’t draw a bigger crowd as they are the real deal.
4. Imelda May was a great surprise – what a classy 1950s look and a sound that just compelled you to dance.
5. The Avett Brothers’ harmonies were sensational and their song writing is tops
Apologies to Jools Holland, Justin Townes Earle, Cousin Harley and the Gipsy Kings who all exceeded expectations.
FROM: PATRICK FAIRCHILD
I cannot comment on the festival itself however as I was unable to get there for the event I was able to sneak 3 days of side shows in Sydney.Having flown from Western Australia I did proir to leaving attend the west coast bluesfest which was a great event then see John Mayall,Joe Bonamassa and Peter Green over 3 nights and on Tuesday saw Imelda May back in Perth. Going on my trip was worth the effort and next year I intend to be there in Byron to witness the new venue.
Blues regards, Patrick Fairchild,W.A
FROM: MARIA BATTEN
My first time at Bluesfest. What an absolutely fantastic event!
A group of 5 females all first timers ventured down to Byron Bay staying at the very relaxing Byron Bay Farm Stay cottages.
Apart from the confusion to the shuttle bus service (stopping anywhere along Bangalow road) just not OUR Bangalow road.
The 6 days at Byron were jam packed with exciting entertainment – hip jiggling, head nodding, ear ringing fun
Highlights – Kim Churchill, John Buttler Trio, Blue King Brown, Crowded House, Jack Johnson, ALO, Colin Hay Band, The Fray, Jeff Beck, Jessica Mauboy, Newton Faulkner, Rockwiz, Ross Wilson’s 5 Decades of Cool, Umphrey’s Mcgee,
The Hare Krishna Feast meal for $10 the Organic Coffee and the organic hot jam filled doughnuts.