Every year the bar gets raised a couple notches at the Bluesfest busking competition.
The under 18 category this year was limited to 24 entries which included more than a few youngsters who had hundreds and even thousands of kilometres to compete. For some of them it was their third or 4th competition this year. So for Iluka’s Grace Donsworth (13), Woombah’s Molly Deakin (13), Ashby’s Ryan Kemp (12) and Finn O’neill (14) of Brooms Head, the odds of winning the thing were pretty tough.
The 4 Clarence valley youth each performed 2 originals and a cover in the heats last weekend and they were all very well received by the judges and the audience. Though none of them made it into the top 3 for the finals, all four of them were selected to be among the 10 acts chosen to play at the Busking sites at the festival which included day passes for the festival for them and a parent. That alone is a better prize than most busking comps offer even to the winner so a very good result from a very well done grommets competition.
In the Senior division, the Clarence Valley’s own Jack Russell also known as Jack Tully and the seers competed but did not make the finals. Two solo acts took out the top prizes. The coveted blue guitar built by Gulmarrad’s Paul Kneller was awarded to Squeak Le’Maire for best guitarist. The overall winner of the Senior Comp was Tay Oskee who will take his guitar and his pedal-board that could put a man on the moon to open the Delta stage on Monday.
Maclean’s Grace Hickey lit up the busking stage on Bluesfest Sunday at 12:30 and showed the world a bit of Clarence Valley soul.
Revellers gathered round to take in this voice that defies expectation and you’ll see from Dave Brandon’s wonderful photos that it was truly an experience for everyone involved.