Story & photos Eve Jeffery
I’m going to take a leaf out of Don Juan Antonio Samaranch y Torelló’s book and say 2013 was the best Bluesfest ever!
No, seriously. And it wasn’t because my all time idols Sweet Honey in the Rock were playing. This year, I don’t know – it was just the axis of awesome.
There were some big names. Some great names: Plant, Iggy, Harper, Musselwhite, Wainwright, Mraz, Santana, Blind Boys, Status Quo, Armatrading, Isaak, Cray, Rodriguez, and of course Sweet Honey, but the list goes on and that’s just it: The list goes on and on and on.
In a line up that didn’t scream ‘BOOM! Here we have Elvis Presley and God’, Bluesfest this year had a constant stream of top class A grade quality acts and fantastic local talent and shows and it was more like a real festival – not just ‘here is Mr Super Duper Whizz Bang and also some other stuff’.
The weather? Look, you would have to be an idiot not to expect to wear your boots. If it’s raining, it must be Easter at Bluesfest.
Now about the Honey. Did I mention Sweet Honey in the Rock were playing blues this year? I have been waiting almost three quarters of my life to see these extraordinary women and I can tell you they were worth the wait – but, a funny thing happened on the way to the festival.
As it happens I was running late, nothing new there. So I was walking at a million miles an hour when this very nice, seldom heard voice says from behind me, ‘You look like you’re in a big hurry to go somewhere’. Reluctant to slow my pace but reluctant to leave the speaker with nothing but the view of my waddling butt, I said, ‘Yes, I am on my way to see’ and I turned around: ‘You!’
Then I think I said ‘Oh my god’ about 40 times. Then I lost all power of speech or the ability to remember where my camera was, as Shirley Childress, sign language interpreter for Sweet Honey in the Rock beamed her beautiful smile at me. When I finally did remember that the huge backpack I was lugging was full of modern image capturing machine thingies, I managed to pull one out and Shirley, who still unsurprisingly had the power of speech, managed to rope in a security guard. By this time my face was wet with tears. Yes I am THAT person. The blubbering bumbling messy fan. No actually, I am NOT that person. I have met some pretty heavy heavyweights (just so you know), but none of them were ever Sweet Honey in the Rock.
The poor woman obviously felt sorry for me and quickly delivered a hug and a kiss (to a cheek that will never be washed again), she smiled sweetly for the camera, then ran off to get dressed for the stage.
Needless to say I stood in the pit with tears pouring down my face the whole time I was shooting. It’s surprising how many pictures you can take through water.
So this is the spot where I recount how after the show I stood on the bridge with my camera like an expectant 15 year old waiting for them to come back into the artist area, when along came Sweet Honey original ensemble member Louise Robinson…