Tijuana Cartel band members Daniel Gonzales, Paul George, Joshua Sinclair, Regan Hoskins and Carey O’Sullivan.
Tijuana Cartel band members Daniel Gonzales, Paul George, Joshua Sinclair, Regan Hoskins and Carey O’Sullivan. Doug Eaton

Bluesfest crowds enjoy sunshine

HISTORY has been made at the 2012 Byron Bay Bluesfest with 80,000 attendees enjoying the driest event in the festival's 23 years.

Festival director Peter Noble took credit for the sun-soaked five days, joking it was because he had finally fully weather-proofed all the infrastructure at the notoriously rain-soaked event.

The balmy weather likely contributed to the attendance numbers which were up by 5000 from 2009 and 2010. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were sold out with the other two days two-thirds of capacity.

Mr Noble said he was very pleased with ticket sales, particularly as other music festivals in Australia had been struggling because of the tough financial climate.

He said while they were never going to top Bob Dylan in 2011, the overall level of performances were of a higher standard this year.

"It's in the top three (Bluesfest) line-ups ever," he said.

Even notoriously difficult The Pogues frontman Shane McGowan put on a good show.

"They (The Pogues) dropped a beauty," he said.

"Cold Chisel did all the classics and the fans loved it."

He cited funk legends Earth, Wind & Fire on their first Australian tour as one of many highlights and hinted it would not be the last time they appeared at the festival.

"I saw kids who are as young as 16 up to my age group going, 'How good is that!'," Mr Noble said.

Earth, Wind & Fire along with Crosby, Stills and Nash and My Morning Jacket figured among the most popular drawcards for other performers.

Mr Noble said he had been approached by many of this year's featured artists asking to come back next year.

The tent city on site at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm accommodated 4500 music lovers with five hundred people employed at the festival each day, not counting stallholders.

"It's a huge business and it just goes to show what the creative industries ... bring to a region," Mr Noble said.



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