Byron Bay ‘Bluesfest’ celebrated its 30th year this past weekend. The lineup included many veterans of the iconic music festival, some of which have played at nearly half of the 29 previous festivals.
The most common complaint about Bluesfest is how little the line-up seems to vary from year to year but this being the 30th anniversary I guess we can just call it nostalgia and give them a pass for presenting another year of mostly the same acts as the last few years.
A really great thing about music festivals is how everyone can experience the festival differently and come away with their own highlights that might be completely different from the person standing next to them. As a person who goes to the festival every year, the highlights for me this year were the acts which haven’t been to Bluesfest for the past 7 years that I’ve been there.
Tommy Emmanuel is an absolute treasure and it was amazing to see him single handedly pack a tent with 5000 revellers and amaze us all with the sounds only he can make on an acoustic guitar. Flogging Molly delivered their brand of Irish punk in the way only they can with accordion, banjo, fiddle, two guitars, a bass and a drummer. Another act who I’m sure will be back at Bluesfest soon is Samantha Fish. After seeing her live twice this weekend I can tell you she is the real deal, amazing player and singer.
My personal festival favourite from Bluesfest 2019 was the Clarence Valley’s very own “The Ruperts” who won the chance to perform at the busking stage after competing in the grommets busking comp. They represented our region so well with their fun, upbeat grooves and killer tunes. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of the Ruperts locally now that they’ve had a taste of the Bluesfest stage.
All in all Bluesfest 2019 was a fitting way to celebrate 30 years of great music.