Matty Devitt played at the Beach Hotel yesterday in the hope of being picked to play a set at the Blues Festival.
Matty Devitt played at the Beach Hotel yesterday in the hope of being picked to play a set at the Blues Festival.

Busking can give you the blues

By RACHEL AFFLICK rachel.afflick@northernstar.com.au YESTERDAY local busker Matty Devitt picked up his guitar knowing more was at stake than a few coins.

The Blues over Byron Busking Competition has begun and will see local musicians audition for a spot on stage at the Bluesfest.

For Matty, who has busked around Byron for the past 10 years, the competition could be the ticket to bigger things.

"It's another avenue of getting yourself out there and known," he said.

Matty won the People's Choice award last year, but missed out on the ultimate honour of playing on the Bluesfest stage.

Backed up by his mates Wes Dewitt, of Canada, and Dick James, of England, Matty yesterday rocked the Beach Hotel performing his original acoustic songs for the judges - and he was feeling positive.

"They see a band that's been in the competition before. They're looking to see if there's been improvement. I feel with the boys the music has definitely evolved," he said. "Busking is always fun."

Heats, which wrap up today, are being held from 11am to 6pm at the Beach Hotel, the Great Northern, and the Rails. The final will take place at the Beach Hotel on Good Friday from noon.

Organiser Sandy McKee said the competition was full, with 36 entrants.

"We have had about half-a-dozen people on a waiting list hoping to get in," said Sandy. "So far there have been some exceptional stand-out acts."

The winner will get to record their music and take home $500 worth of music equipment.

Six acts will also be chosen to busk at the Blues Festival during the weekend.

Transport Ballina, Lennox Head, Suffolk Park, Sunrise Beach and Mullumbimby Blanch's Bus Company provides festival goers with town shuttle services plus scheduled services. On Thursday dedicated shuttle buses connecting Suffolk Park and Byron Bay with the Bluesfest will operate between 3pm and 1am every 15 minutes. Cost is $3 per person.

An additional Route 640 service to Ballina via Lennox Head will depart Bluesfest, Melaleuca Drive at 12.30am at the flat fare cost of $10.

On Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (21 to 24 March) shuttle buses connecting Suffolk Park and Byron Bay with the Bluesfest will operate between 10am and 1am every 15 minutes.

Extra night services will operate on Route 640 for passengers requiring transport through to Lennox Head and Ballina, at a flat fare cost of $10. These depart at 8.30pm, 9.30pm, 10.30pm, 11.30pm, 12.15am, 12.30am, 12.45am, 1am. 6686 2144 or visit website: www.blanchs.com.au.

Ocean Shores, New Brighton and Brunswick Heads Services are available from Brunswick Valley Coaches. Phone: 6680 1566 or visit: www.brunswick%valleycoaches.com.au.

Other areas If driving, the official Bluesfest car park is at Meleleuca Drive, off Ewingsdale Road west of Belongil Fields. Cost is $10 per day.



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