Gumboots a necessity at Bluesfest
BLACK storm-clouds moved over Byron Shire late yesterday afternoon, and dumped their contents on the Bluesfest site at Tyagarah.
But the downpour couldn’t dampen the spirits of the beaver-like workers putting the final touches to the site, which organisers declared is ready to rock.
The tents are up, seating installed, disabled access ways in place, raised flooring laid in some areas, and effective drainage organised. Campers were pouring in to set up home for the next five days. More than 2000 of them arrived yesterday.
And to make sure everything will be truly harmonious, Jack Johnson was expected to play a sound check last night.
Johnson has become a Bluesfest – and Byron – icon, playing there in 2002 and again in 2005.
He will be doing two headlining shows this year – the first tonight, known as ‘locals night’.
Noel McAviney, the local SES controller, visited the site on Tuesday and said he was ‘very impressed’ with the work that had been done to ensure the public’s safety in the event of a bad storm or flooding.
“I’m no expert but I don’t think it will get as bad underfoot as the other sites.”
He still advised fans to bring their gumboots.
Bridges, roads and raised paths have been constructed, and the good thing about such infrastructure was that it was permanent, said Adam Marshall, Bluesfest’s media operations manager.
He added that the fact the 120ha site was on an old tea tree farm would mean no mosquitoes.
Tweed-Byron police issued a few warnings to punters.
Random breath testing patrols will be operating over the entire weekend, Inspector Owen King said.
“Additional police have been deployed at the festival and at Byron Bay, Brunswick and Mullumbimby, targeting alcohol-related offences and antisocial behaviour,” he said. “So don’t drink and drive, because you will be tested. And don’t bring drugs.
“Drug detection dogs will be at the entry to the festival.”
Insp King added: “By all means come to Byron Bay to have a good time, but please consider others and the community.”
Thursday: Jack Johnson, 10.30pm, Mojo Stage.
Jools Holland, 10.30pm, Crossroads Stage.
Friday: John Butler Trio, 10.15pm, Mojo Stage.
Jeff Beck, 9pm, Crossroads Stage.
RocKwiz, 2pm, Caba Caba Ray Stage.