Freelance writer with a BA double majoring in Literature and Australian History who loves finding random places of social or historical treasure whilst travelling around visiting festivals, markets and quaint cafes with my husband and baby
It's a blues folk weekend of music and funky vibes
Firstly, if you've never been to a Bluesfest, then you're missing out. I believe most people should visit Bluesfest once in their life. The atmosphere, the craziness, the laidback funky environment, and the awesome music.
If you've been, you'll want to go back every year. Well most people do. I admit, it's not for everyone. But let's tick off the boxes: amazing mind-blowing musical lineups year after year; fun for families, couples and friends; great markets; fantastic food; camping; and a chill out friendly atmosphere.
So if all of this sounds like something you and your friends or family would love, then read on...because Bluesfest won't disappoint.
Bluesfest is held over 5 days on the Easter weekend each year. It starts on the Thursday and finishes on Easter Monday. Festival-goers can buy tickets for 1 day, 3 days or 5 days and can either stay around the Byron Bay area and travel to the festival each day or camp onsite at the festival.
Prices to stay in Byron Bay at festival time are pretty pricey so camping is a good option however you can only camp on the festival grounds at Tyagarah if you have a ticket for that day to the festival.
Each year the artist playing schedule is huge with local, national and international acts all vying for a place in the lineup.
This year, the festival will open with a bang with its big headline act featured on Thursday night - Lenny Kravitz. With Jimmy Cliff, the Counting Crows and Hozier as the warm up acts before Lenny on Thursday night, the opening evening will be enormous.
But if you cannot make it on the Thursday night don't fret, the lineup over the rest of the weekend is a cracker. Xavier Rudd, Train, the Black Keys, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, and Diesel are just some of the massive acts on over the long weekend.
International guitar extraordinaire Gary Clark Jnr is playing twice over the weekend to the delight of fans. A bumper highlight for festival goers is the admission of the Gypsy Kings back to Australia for the first time in 5 years. When Bambaleo comes on the audience will come alive.
Xavier Rudd is a Bluesfest favourite
The organisers are blessed with two main stages being the Mojo and Crossroads stages, and then there are several minor stages so they can fit in a plethora of amazing blues, rock and soul acts. The only difficulty for patrons is working out who to watch when a couple of your favourites are on at the same time on different stages.
Bluesfest isn't just about the music though. It's the atmosphere. There's nothing like it. It's hippie, it's retro, it's country, and it's folk, and it's much much more. The crowds are chilled and friendly and everyone just wants to get along and have a good time. This writer has been there three times and is going back again this year, and every year it just gets better and better.
I've touched on the camping above but really it's so hard to describe a camping weekend at Bluesfest. I'll give it a go though. Firstly, count on rain. Secondly, the rain will make it better. Every year it rains and every year the crowd and campers embrace it, donning gumboots, parkers and beanies and stomping in the mud. When you camp at Bluesfest you can count on making friends with your nearby neighbours. You might never know their names, but you'll swap cooking oil, a couple of tent pegs and an air mattress pump in the good camper spirit. There is a campers shop on site with the basics such as milk, ice, coffee, batteries and the like.
There is nothing like waking up in the morning with thousands of other campers in neat rows to the smell of dewey grass, smoke and coffee.
Wolfmother on the Crossroads stage at a recent Bluesfest
You need to buy your camping tickets when you buy your festival tickets. The link to the tickets is on the website (only when you select your festival tickets does the camping option open up for you).
There is a lot of food vendors, coffee stalls, markets and a bar on site. The food variety is fantastic and reasonably priced. Everything from Mexican to vegetarian to burgers and anything in between. The market stalls are a great sideline with clothing, jewellery, and lots of locally made items. And don't miss the nightly light parades.
The website has a merchandise section or you can buy at the festival. Nearby the merchandise tent is a music tent. This is where you can buy the CD's and DVD's of the artists you see and love at the festival. They also have regular meet and greets there, for artist signing times see the board updated daily throughout the festival.
I can't finish an article about Bluesfest without a nod to the volunteers. They are friendly, organised and dedicated. They ensure it all runs smoothly and are the champions of the festival.