By Eve Jeffery
You could tell the first timers as they picked their way through puddles in designer sandals and Converse as festival veterans splashed past them in gumboots.
Yes it’s raining, it must be Easter…
And yes the heavens opened to christen the 2018 edition of Bluesfest Byron Bay as the faithful arrived at the alter in time for the annual harvest moon axis of awesome.
Highlights of day one were Tash Sultana, William Crighton, Gomez and festival faves, The Wailers.
Festival director Peter Noble says that Sultana is the highest-ticket-selling contemporary artist in Australia today. ‘No-one sells the tickets she sells and a year ago she wasn’t selling any’, says Noble. ‘She’s bloody brilliant. She’s a musician for the world.’
And she is.
Sultana was bloody brilliant and took to the Mojo stage like she owned it.
She welcomed the audience to her set by stipulating three simple rules – all were about inclusion and stamping out bigotry:
‘Number one, if you’re homophobic, get the fuck out of my gig. Number two, if you’re racist, get the fuck out of my gig. Number three, if you’re transphobic, get the fuck out of my gig!’
No one moved. BOOM!
William Crighton had a small but true band of followers at the Juke Joint, his raw lyrics and smooth vox the perfect way to start the 2018 adventure while ol’ faithful in the form of The Wailers on Jambalaya did not disappoint those who clambered to the front of the stage to drag their soothing grooves (and other things of comfort) around them like grandpa’s old jumper.
Other day one notables were New Power Generation, the Blues Brothers, Gov’t Mule and Gomez and Day 2 promises so much more punter fun at Tyagarah.
Rain? who cares!
Also at this year’s festival, many Australian performers embraced the growing campaign against the controversial mega coal mine project near the Great Barrier Reef, flying #StopAdani flags on several Bluesfest stages.
Photos Jeff Dawson & the Tree Faerie
More stories from Bluesfest 2018
It’s not every day you get to sing a duet with Lionel Ritchie. But Monday night, that’s what about over 7,000 women in a crowd that numbered close to 15 000 got to do when Diana Ross failed to show.
Hosted by the oldest living culture, Boomerang Festival was a highlight of this year's Bluesfest.
I could actually sum up yesterday at Bluesfest in two words: Hussy Hicks!
Yesterday Tyagarah relaxed into hump day and punters bumped along in the Bluesfest groove.
Day two at Bluesfest upped-the-anti as the best gigs in the country all played simultaneously at Tyagarah and punters came away very happy