Blog 16e: Byron Bay Bluesfest, Day 5
We made it! Exhausted, muddy, sleep deprived and packed up the roof tent wet, but had the best time!
Yesterday we started a bit later after recovering from the Sunday night John Butler Trio antics. Ruth made friends for life of all our camping neighbours by freshly baking some Banana Bread in our little gas oven (Wedding guests, it is in the recipe book we gave you). We'll post the recipe in our next blog, promise.
Our first musical stop of the day was to see Con Brio. They were fun and funky, but after the hype up of reading things like 'the front man is a young James Brown or Michael Jackson' we were left not-amazed. They were proficient, and enjoyable, but, in Ruth's words, kinda generic. The front man was competent and engaging, but in a wedding singer kind of way, entertaining but forgettable (sorry!). At least it was only a short walk to the craft beer hall.
Next up was Dan Sultan. A blues rocking staple of modern Australian music. His band was great, but the man himself looked tired, worn ragged and low on energy. We only stayed for a few songs. He played his catalogue proficiently, but didn’t win me over as a must-see live act.
Wandering around the ground for a little bit let us see Michael Franti wandering around with a herd of fans playing guitar and capturing footage for a new film clip. Then we bought tickets for next year, the 30th anniversary of the festival that promises to be something special. Not sure how it is going to work out logistically at this stage, but Easter 2019, we will be driving Gary here to check it out. Let us know if you want to tag along.
A break for dinner and a rest and then it was time for CHIC and Nile Rodgers. Hot damn they turned the day around. The tent was crammed full of dancing, partying, singing along punters. The vibe was great, the funk and disco alive and well and some very cool moments made you feel like you were at Studio 54. At 65, he still got it. Classics like "Good times" "Le Freak"- so much dancing!!
Our final adventure for the day took us to see the awesome legend(s) of fun music that is Michael Franti and Spearhead. We dig this guy so much we had one of his songs in our wedding. A few technical issues led to a little late start, but from the moment he burst onto the stage (and then down into the crowd a few times during the set) Franti and co. set about making the party happen. Uplifting roots music, with hip hop (love the song ‘Yell Fire’), danceable tunes, political activism, love, peace, freedom and good vibes all over the place. At one stage a bunch of kids ended up on stage dancing to ‘Say Hey (I Love You)’ that we walked back down the aisle to while being showered with rose petal confetti after getting married. New favourite Lukas Nelson even joined him on stage for a song. Oh and the drummer was SO FREAKIN GOOD. And the crowd was involved singing, dancing, hugging strangers, dosido-ing and generally feeling uplifted by the power of music. Ruth even got to touch his hands when he was thanking the crowd at the end. Not sure if she had washed them yet. Was the absolute best high note to end our time at Bluesfest on.
Parting with our new-found music adventure friends was sweet sorrow, but rest assured, we will be back again next year! Now if anyone knows how to get my band on the bill........ ;)
Thought of the day: Yes, Gary can indeed winch out a bogged five tonne bus.