Blues Fest rocks Byron Bay
By Will Jackson
ASK anyone what's so special about the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival and they'll tell you 'it's the vibes'.
The spontaneous, energetic, happy-go-lucky atmosphere where it seems like anything could happen.
For example, take Cal Reynolds and her 'fianc?', Craig Bradridge.
The two were sweethearts at Southern Cross University but hadn't seen each other for about five years until they met randomly in the crowd at last year's Byron Blues Fest. They started 'catching up' and, about a dozen beers, later Craig proposed on bended knee.
"It was great," Cal said yesterday. "He made a big speech and everyone around cheered. He even made me a ring out of a gold Benson and Hedges cigarette packet."
Of course, after the festival ended Cal went back to Melbourne where she was living and Craig to Brisbane.
"This is the first time we've seen each since the last Blues Fest," Craig said. "Come to think of it, I haven't actually told my new partner I'm 'engaged'," he laughed.
The pair spent this year's festival as 'just good mates', enjoying the amazing line-up of acts like Eric Burdon and The Animals, John Butler Trio and Paul Kelly.
Cal said she especially enjoyed the wall-to-wall funk of The Roots, Ozomatli and Fishbone, but most of all New Zealand dub-soul outfit Fat Freddys Drop.
A special treat was the surprise appearance of Jack Johnson on stage with the Animal Liberation Orchestra on Friday night.
The Blues Fest continues today with Missy Higgins, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals and Bonnie Raitt as highlights.
Alan Tunks, organiser of the Cystic Fibrosis fund-raising stall, said they were nearly halfway to their $20,000 target and needed a big effort from punters on the last day.