Screaming fans at the Six60 performance at the Mojo tent at the Byron Bay Bluesfest 2019 held at Tyagarah.
Screaming fans at the Six60 performance at the Mojo tent at the Byron Bay Bluesfest 2019 held at Tyagarah. Marc Stapelberg

Bluesfest Day 1: Blue skies and painful fashion choices

BLUESFEST Byron Bay kicked off the 30th version of the music event at Tyagarah with a bang: there was love, music, and even some pain and tears.

Despite the ominous weather forecasters promising rain for the whole weekend, and although it rained at certain times in Byron Bay on Thursday, the Tyagarah skies were mostly blue.

Yes, some really dark clouds went through the area all day long, but the music gods kept the rain away so the party could get started.

 

CLEAR SKY: Bluesfest Byron Bay enjoyed glorious dry weather on the first day of its 2019 event.
CLEAR SKY: Bluesfest Byron Bay enjoyed glorious dry weather on the first day of its 2019 event. Javier Encalada

Unfortunately, for those ultra prepared like me, it meant walking around in the dry dirt at the Tea Tree Farm with gumboots.

Despite the fact that I paid extra for the 'Cadillac of gumboots' at a farming shop in the Byron Shire, my feet started to hurt very early in the day.

Despite the fact that they are padded, they have holes on the side to hold them when putting them on, and despite the fact that I wore two pairs of socks and they look really cool, they (like every year) provoked instant blisters all over my feet by the time the music was just starting.

So the agony started. Every step was excruciating but it had to be done.

Here is an image of me with a Swiss student living in Byron Bay, Sarah. I may be smiling but the pain was real.

 

Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

I started walking through the festival in a funny way which won me many side glances and funny looks. One person actually asked me if I had a bad back. I said yes. My pride was hurt too.

The music really got started with Irish Mythen at Jambalaya, but the biggest revelation of the day came with The War and the Treaty, a band headed by Michael and Tanya Trotter from Michigan. They surprised in their first ever trip to Australia with a powerful set full of Blues, Soul, rock and plenty of love on stage, between them, plus to and from the audience.

It was even more interesting to see both Tanya and Michael eating with the rest of the public and browsing around the festival's shops for some Aussie fashions or an organic doughnut.

 

Kurt Vile and the Violators perform at Mojo Tent at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2019 held at Tyagarah.
Kurt Vile and the Violators perform at Mojo Tent at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2019 held at Tyagarah. Marc Stapelberg

One of the shops they checked out was Poetry, the fashion brand by Kasey Chambers, who is also in the festival's line up.

I thought about checking Chamber's shop out, but the pain on my feet was so strong I had to slowly make my way back to the media tent.

I took my boots off and I could clearly feel my blood going back into my toes.

The festival went on despite my overly melodramatic suffering, and the artists did what they do best: entertained, gave hope, shared emotions, stories and even sent one or two political messages here and there.

 

Mama Mihirangi and the Mareikura perform at the Mojo Stage at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2019 held at Tyagarah.
Mama Mihirangi and the Mareikura perform at the Mojo Stage at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2019 held at Tyagarah. Marc Stapelberg

Arlo Guthrie, Mama Mihirangi and The Mareikura, Ruthie Foster, Baker Boy, Nahko and Medicine for the People, the incomparable Mavis Staples, one funky Melody Angel, Snaky Puppy, Kurt Vile, iconic Aussie muso Russell Morris, Fantastic Negrito, Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul, Six60, Ocean Alley, The Marcus King Band and The Black Sorrows were just some of the acts that killed on stage and made the first day (and night) of Bluesfest 2019 a sound success.

 

Baker Boy performs at the Crossroads Tent at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2019 held at Tyagarah.
Baker Boy performs at the Crossroads Tent at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2019 held at Tyagarah. Marc Stapelberg

I can't wait to do it all again tomorrow Friday. I'll be wearing super comfortable and non-water proof shoes so, of course, it will rain. Lots.

Such is life.

WHAT NOT TO MISS ON FRIDAY

- Brotherhood of the Blues: This local band, formed by people living with various abilities, invited for the second time to Bluesfest. At Boomerang stage from 12.45pm.

- St Paul and the Broken Bones: An Alabama band with a live show that's electrifying and unforgettable. At Mojo from 5pm.

- Deva Mahal: The daughter of Blues icon Taj Mahal brings some vocals and some songs to her first ever Bluesfest show that will impress. At Delta from 5.3opm.

- Norah Jones: The top jazz artist for the 2000s by Billboard brings her new album, Begin Again (2019). At Crossroads from 6.30pm.

- Hozier: The Irish singer could present one of the most electrifying duets of the evening, if he invites Mavis Staples to thestage to play their collaboration Nina Cried Power. At Crossroads from 8.10pm.

- Gary Clark Jr: The American guitar maestro brings his new album, This Land (2019), a politcally-charged release about race relations in Maerica. At Mojo from 8.30pm.

- Iggy Pop: The grandfather of punk is back to boast his indomitable lust for life and music. At Crossroads from 10pm.

- Tash Sultana: This is a show that is as big as the sound they produce and as private as the one person on stage. A one person band and an Australian legend in the making. At Mojo from 10.30pm.



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