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September 25, 2023

Blues gets down on hump day

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The Bard from Barking –Billy Bragg. Photo Tree Faerie.
The Bard from Barking – Billy Bragg. Photo Tree Faerie.

Eve Jeffery

The middle day of Bluesfest is always a bit spesh – punters have relaxed into the groove and the artists are hitting their stride…

The turmoil of 2017 has seen plenty of Bluesfest acts wearing their artivism hearts on their sleeves. The Bard from Barking showed his fire was still raging as he belted out his classic proletarian anthem There Is Power in a Union after raging against 417 visa exploitation on Australian farms, following up with memorable and heartfelt renditions of Levi Stubbs Tears and Sexuality, two songs that get to the heart of his idea that the personal is always political too.

Billy’s closing encore of his classic New England left the crowd howling for more. (Don’t miss him when he returns with Joe Henry on Monday.)

‘There are no bombs in Byron Bay thank you Donald Trump’, so began Irish Mythen’s stellar set.

Not one for mincing words, or middies of Guinness, Irish is not one to hold back when it comes stepping forward, then forward, then forward – a lyrical soldier, a melodic Goddess – ever onward, one foot in front of the next. Maestra.

The day continued with the maestros.

Jake Shimabukuro opened with a tinkling pluck which transcended into Eleanor Rigby and the entire Jamabalaya audience just melted in love and adoration. What this man can’t do with a ukulele actually can’t be done.

Then the earth moved.

Now that isn't good enough. I didn't come here to sing on my own – Buddy Guy. Photo Tree Faerie.
Now that isn’t good enough. I didn’t come here to sing on my own – Buddy Guy. Photo Tree Faerie.

Octogenarian Buddy Guy literally bounced onto the Crossroads stage proving that not only is he the reigning king, but that 80 is the new 50.

Guy blasted away at any idea that this is his last tour and the decades fell away (yet didn’t), and after reminding the faithful that he needed audience participation, because he hadn’t come all this way to sing on his own, Guy tore shreds. And then some. He plays again today. DO – NOT – MISS – IT!

The Doobie Brothers were in such fine voice, one would be forgiven for thinking it was 1974  – and not one person came away from Nikki Hill’s set without believing they had seen and heard a slice of heaven. Nikki is another one who will play again today. Just do it!

Blues Saturday actually had so much going for it, it could have been a festival on it’s own with the likes of Jeff Lang, The Wilson Pickers, Max Jury, Trevor Hall, Emily Wurramara, The Australian Ukulele Show, Rickie Lee Jones’ second set, Melody Angel – who is setting everyone on fire – Gregory Porter, Beth Hart, Blind Boy Paxton – it goes on an on. It’s almost too much!


Today is the third and last day for Boomerang – Tenzin Choegyal will irreversibly change you, the Jannawi Dance Clan are extraordinary and don’t miss Leonard Sumner.

More stories from Bluesfest 2017

Police praise festivalgoers… except drug-using ‘element’

Police have praised festivalgoers attending this year’s Bluesfest but condemned what they called ‘an element that persists in bringing illicit drugs to festivals.’


A sunny (yay) Sunday at Blues

It was a Santana sandwich at the Crossroads last night when thousands of fans gathered up to 50 metres outside of the tent to groove along with the musician who first became famous in the late 1960s.


Patti Smith puts money where her mouth is to help flood...

Iconic New York poet and performer Patti Smith not only gave the audience more than they bargained for during her weekend performances at Bluesfest, she also donated $10,000 to northern rivers appeal Rise Above The Flood.


Blues gets down on hump day

The middle day of Bluesfest is always a bit spesh – punters have relaxed into the groove and the artists are hitting their stride…


Patti Smith rocks Bluesfest with ‘anarchic spunk’

After weeks of weather chaos that saw roads blocked, planes grounded and low lying fields flooded, Bluesfest got off to a smooth and inclement weather free start last night when thousands made their way to 28th annual Blues and Roots Festival.


We got dem Byron Bay Blues

It felt like first-day Bluesfest numbers were up as the carpark bulged and punters "tapped-on" their new wristbands at high speed…


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  1. Lismore mayor Issac Smith gives great Good News story about Lismore on ABC.
    People are donating fridges and everyone is helping and Lismore is just about back on its feet.
    Good news.


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