Bluesfest Byron Bay Saturday 20th April 2019


Its day 3 of Bluesfest and its sunshine and blue skies. There are lots of families here today and the vibe is in full swing. We salute the weather gods at the Craft Bar with friends and synchronise our set lists for the day. The app is a godsend – easy to use, just enough artist bio and it sends you gig reminders. Prefer to save your data? That’s ok they have maps and a free guide.

We catch a crazy number of bands today. The highlights for me were Vintage Trouble at the Mojo tent. There’s a reason Bluesfest keep inviting them back – the crowd love them and they have an impressive soul rock pedigree supporting the likes of AC/DC , the Who and the Rolling Stones. True to form, frontman Ty Taylor is a photographers dream, jumping and dancing around the stage even jumping onto the security fence and walking its perimeter. This band is loud and fun. You can catch them one last time at Crossroads on Monday night.

Vintage Trouble

A high speed dash to the Delta tent and we catch Nashville based sisters Rebecca and Megan of Larkin Poe. It’s their first time at Bluesfest and the crowd was large and enthusiastic. Their sound is americana rock writ large, with a bit of blues and swamp thrown in for good measure. Its old school yeah, with lots of drums, guitar riffs and strong vocals. If this is your thing, check them out at the Juke Joint on Sunday night.

Larkin Poe

No time to rest, we’re back at the Delta to catch St Paul and the Broken Bones. Everyone told me to see this was a non-negotiable, must see. Emerging on stage shrouded in a black sequined cape, Paul Janeway strutted his thing like a preacher to his congregation. The brass section were a stand out, supporting his beautiful bluesy soulful sound. If you like Gnarls Barkley you will love this band.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones

A quick pit stop at the Japanese Kitchen and we’re fuelled up and ready to catch Kurt Vile and the Violaters. No stranger to the oz festival circuit, he ramps up the cool factor big time. His latest collaboration with Courtney Barnett seals this bands appeal with the locals. The sound is a delicious blend of alt country rolled up in indie rock with a good dose of vintage guitars and banjo.

Kurt Vile

The Crossroads tent was packed to capacity to catch Kasey Chambers who was back after 20 years since her first performance at Bluesfest. Her sound is unadorned heartfelt country and her fans adore her. Performing with her dad by her side, she wooed her fans with a ‘best of‘ compilation from her vast repertoire and ‘The Captain’ album. Highlights of the set included The Veronica’s and Ben Harper joining on her stage. Another perfect Bluesfest moment.

Kasey Chambers

Meanwhile back at the Mojo tent it was an entirely different scene when Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul hit the stage. The atmosphere was electric and loud. Looking like a pirate, we willingly jumped aboard his soul ship and soaked up the atmosphere. This guy knows how to put on a show with his 14-piece band, including back up singers and an impressive brass section

Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul

Second last gig of the night was the ridiculously talented Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. The set was polished and thoughtful, pretty much well everything you would expect and more. He is a muso’s muso – recognised in the industry for his exceptional song writing and guitar playing.

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real

We finished up watching Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals in the Mojo tent. It was packed to the brim with fans and he didn’t disappoint. Playing old and new songs, it’s easy to see why he is such a drawcard for this festival.

Ben Harper

Words By Cathi Margherita

Images by Peter Dovgan

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