Michael Franti enthralled audiences with an energetic performance at the Mojo tent on Saturday night.
Michael Franti enthralled audiences with an energetic performance at the Mojo tent on Saturday night. Marc Stapelberg

Bob and Elvis take a sneak peek

BOB Dylan and Elvis Costello arrived in Byron Bay yesterday, a day ahead of their scheduled performances, and were both spotted around the festival site.

“They’re not even playing today but both have been hanging out checking out the other acts,” Bluesfest director Peter Noble said. “They love the bill so much they’re here to hear some music.”

Unlike earlier Bluesfests when international artists would stay on the Gold Coast and shuttle in for their own gigs, Mr Noble believes more and more are taking a leaf out of Ben Harper’s book and immersing themselves in what has become one of the world’s great blues festivals.

The festival shifted up a gear yesterday after the biggest opening night in Bluesfest’s 22-year history.

Top-shelf performers like BB King, Ben Harper, Michael Franti and Grace Jones enthralled crowds ahead of festival headliner Bob Dylan and post-punk legend Elvis Costello who will both take to the main stage tonight.

With an average audience age of 26, and a range of age groups from toddlers to grandparents, Mr Noble says Bluesfest is for everyone and believes the festival is re-introducing great blues to new generations every year.

Meanwhile, police and paramedics report crowds have been generally well-behaved.

Only three patients have needed transportation to hospital, including one man with a dislocated shoulder and another person complaining of chest pain.

Police have confiscated small quantities of cannabis off numerous festival-goers at the gate and most arrests have been for people trying to jump the fence.

Limited tickets are still available at the gate for today’s and tomorrow’s shows.


Monday, April 25

THE day has finally arrived when Bob Dylan plays Byron Bay, after his last gig scheduled for 2001 was moved to Ballina. There’s no need to hype the man because young and old know the legend that is Dylan, and will no doubt be there to witness his first performance of the festival.

When The Northern Star spoke to Elvis Costello recently he was content. He was happy with his 30 years in the industry and happy to be doing his own thing, no matter what any record company might want. Having released National Ransom only last year, Costello is showing no signs of slowing down. With such a wealth of material to draw from Elvis Costello & The Imposters promise to put on a good show.

Clare Bowditch released Modern Day Addiction last year, where she explored her ideas of the modern world– consumerism, love, luck and addiction. The album is as heart-felt as Bowditch and has won her critical acclaim since its release. The Aussie songstress may not have the flame red hair she had in the past, but with her new poppier album she will set the Bluesfest stage a light.

We directed your attention to Gurrumul’s gig yesterday, but he is also part of Saltwater Band along side lead singer Manuel Nulupani Dhurrkay. The band fuse traditional indigenous music with pop, reggae and ska for a sound that is all their own.

At the West Coast Blues and Roots Festival over the weekend RocKwiz Live featured Tim Rogers among other big Aussie names. It may not be the same line-up today, but it will be of this calibre.


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