Music hits chord at Bluesfest

GUMBOOTS ESSENTIAL: Frankie Fordham, of Ballina, takes the opportunity to enjoy a puddle or two at the 2015 Byron Bay Bluesfest in Tyagarah.
GUMBOOTS ESSENTIAL: Frankie Fordham, of Ballina, takes the opportunity to enjoy a puddle or two at the 2015 Byron Bay Bluesfest in Tyagarah. Marc Stapelberg

THERE are few things more powerful than the sound of one honest voice; except maybe the sound of thousands singing in unison.

Despite the mass of crowd-thumping treats at Bluesfest, including Sydney-based Celtic punk-rockers The Rumjacks, The Melbourne Ska Orchestra and Alabama Shakes, it was the sound of one lone voice that brought people to tears.

Suddenly oblivious to the rain and the stench of the mud, which was akin to a zoo whose stables had never been mucked out, all came to a standstill as David Gray sang.

Any questions as to why people flock to these events to spend days running from one stage to the next in a constant state of FOMO (fear of missing out), playing a non-stop game of where's Wally with friends and family members while battling third world conditions in port-a-loos, were pushed aside by this one moment.

Glancing across the crowd in the middle of David Gray, a surfer in his mid-twenties could be seen head hung forward, holding the bridge of his nose, sobbing. After watching to see if he had in fact lost a loved one, it soon became obvious that it was the music moving him to such emotional depth as he became ecstatic, jumping, fist pumping the air. This is what it was all about - the music.

And the money, as local stall holders raked in the dough in exchange for luscious clothes and delicious treats in lines which never dwindled, Mullum based Ya Man, Yemeni food, and the Byron Bay Organic Donuts being among the favourites.

Masses of people swayed their way through the mud pits to the bar. Having pre-purchased tickets for specific drinks they were forced to line up twice, once for the ticket and once for the drink. But at least the barman already knew what you wanted.

Others who could no longer enunciate their desires were hauled off by first aid personnel in a feat of co-ordination that has to be applauded, including clearly marked first aid points and an emergency number printed on every wrist band. Otherwise reluctant crowds parted as strangers came to the aide of strangers, hauling them to safety, the sniffer dog welcoming party at the front gate having been seemingly ineffective.

Unless you were unfortunate enough to get stuck in a traffic jam at the end of the night, or waiting in the line for the Byron bus which stretched almost back through the festival gates, getting home was far easier than getting in to the festival.

Those living in Lennox and Ballina having had to pick from only four buses a day to get them there.


Topics:  bluesfest byron bay music festival

Turtle release turns into shark net debate

POINT OF VIEW: Marine ecologist Professor Daniel Bucher  speaks against shark nets at a rally in Ballina.

Kimba the turtle was released on Sunday

Young and old soak up North Coast National

Chris Smith shows off his Selkirk Rex at North Coast National.

North Coast National's final day for 2016

HISTORY: Friendly helpers made shopping a treat

FAMILY BUSINESS: Dave Clark's store, River Street, Ballina, in the 1930s.

It used to be a great day's outing to 'go to town for the day

Local Partners

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Australian Survivor's magician Matt out of tricks

Australian Survivor contestant Matt Tarrant.

SHOW'S power couple looks unstoppable in race to the finish.

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Bob Dylan slammed as 'arrogant' for Nobel silence

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan.

Singer the controversial winner of literature Nobel

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track