Apr 26 2011

Bluesfest 2011: Blowin’ in the wind….crunchy day report


The 6th and final night of the Byron Bay Bluefest featured Bob Dylan, Paul Kelly, Gurrumal and Elvis Costllo – as well as Bryon’s traditional Easter rain. Gumboots were again the fashion item de rigeur – 20000 people each day leaves a toll on the Tyagatah fields. Walking through the mud is half the fun.

As it is each year, the organization of the event is meticulous. Four tents host performers at any one time, so one needs to navigate the program carefully to ‘tick off’ those acts you are keen to say.

Today was ‘crunchy’ day, according to Oliver. (he thought ‘Cat Empire’ were the pick of the other days)  Certainly, there was plenty of grey hair on stage, and even more in the crowd. Tim Finn played Split Enz (a hectic “I See Red” closing the set). Leon Russell looked exactly like Santa Claus as he played Southern roots. Paul Kelly was accompanied by Vicka and Linda Bull – bonus. ere remains the consummate story teller. Gurrumal played guitar and piano and sung beautifully.

In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine selected the top 500 songs of all time. Bob Dylan has 13 entries, including number one (‘Like a Rolling Stone”) and number fourteen (“Blowin’ in the Wind”). This is the third most entires of any artist, (after the Beatles and the Stones).

In Toby Creswell’s book ‘1001 Songs’, Dylan has 26 entries – second most.

So it was very cool to have Bob Dylan close the festival.

We had a tip that the big screens wouldn’t be on. The main tent is easilly as big as a rugby field, so before the show we made our way down the right wing and camped in an attacking position well inside the 22m line, 

As is the local custom, The crowd was kept mellow by the sweet clouds of Nimbin’s finest wafting gently overhead

If Dylan’s voice was gravelly when he was 20, it is much more so now that he is almost 70! The comment was made that for someone who is famous for his lyrics, they are now impossible to understand. (Alex thought he sounded like Scooby Doo). He and his band took the ‘Blues’ in ‘Bluesfest’ seriously, and played high energy electro-rock blues with serious skill. Not an acoustic guitar in sight! The aforementioned ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ closed out the show, and we returned to get bogged in the car park.

Tickets are already on sale for next year!

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