The Butler staging crew jamming at Byron Blues Festival 2013.
The Butler staging crew jamming at Byron Blues Festival 2013. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Shoe blues off the menu

MUD will be a thing of the past at next week's 24th Bluesfest according to licensee and event manager Brendan Meek.

The festival kicks off at 2pm next Thursday at Tyagarah just north of Byron Bay. Conditions under-foot were firm and dry this week as crews raced to erect the enormous tents and stages that will play host to Robert Plant, Carlos Santana and Iggy Pop, to name a few.

In past years heavy rain often made the going tough for blues aficionados.

Mr Meek said the groundwork done at the site over the past two years means even a 100mm downpour will drain away in 15 minutes.

"You won't need gumboots this year. You'll be able to wear stilettos," he said.

"After two years the grass has taken well and the fields look like a dream.

"The site copped more than 690mm of rain since ex-Tropical Cyclone hit in January up until the 23rd February. With the entire new hard- stand areas and larger tents, there is enough shelter for everyone should the skies open up.

"Even if we got 100mm of rain it will drain away in 15 minutes."

Equipment has been arriving on site since March 1 and those with five-day camping passes will have access to their sites next Wednesday.

A new feature at this year's Bluesfest will be the Lotus Palace. Based on the traditional Belgian Spiegel tent or mirror tent, the venue will be used for press conferences, Q&A sessions and more.

Tickets are still available for most days but Saturday's show featuring Robert Plant and Iggy Pop is nearly sold out.

Bluesfest director Peter Noble said with so many quality acts fans may have to make some hard choices about who they opt to see.

"It's not the biggest or most popular festival, but the quality makes it very special," Mr Noble said.



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