Live Review : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2015 – Day 5

By Wanda Hill
Gary Clark Jr at Bluesfest Byron Bay 2015
Bluesfest Day 5

After nights of heavy rain it was stunning to have a beautiful sun shining day for the Bluesfest 2015 finale. The crowds had thinned, the earth underfoot had dried up a bit, and the feeling in the air was relaxed and easy. People were united in the agreement – its our last day here, let’s just chill and enjoy.

About 3000 people braved the well trodden and in some places pretty muddy crossroads dance floor complete with yoga mats for Michael Franti’s Soulshine yoga and acoustic jam experience. So many people sharing a group yoga session has to be a first for Bluesfest. Michael sang and played beautiful tunes while yoga teachers led the audience through a series of poses culminating in some big group efforts where everyone was supporting each other in various balances. From basic moves to extremely challenging contortions the teachers included something for the novice through to the adept yoga practitioner. As always with anything Michael Franti does, it was uplifting, enlightening and full of fun and love. Festival workers in high visibility work gear were taking part… not an austere lycra clad yoga class at all.

Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires over at the Mojo tent turned day into night with their incredible soul, funk, big brass sound. Charles has everything! A deep and raunchy voice, James Brown moves complete with the splitz, glamorous costume changes and great eye contact and connection with the audience. Seeing these kinds of soul legends is what really makes Bluesfest so special.

Speaking of legends, George Clinton was back with Parliament Funkadelic to close the night at the Mojo. The Godfather of Funk is proof that you’re never to old to party, just stay cool and keep going! They had the biggest set of the night lasting 2 hours and 45 mins taking the music everywhere from psychedelic jazz to acid funk and R&B through to rap. Greg Thomas was exceptional on saxophone and Ricky Rouse shredded on guitar. Anyone with a dance focus was at this stage shaking some serious arse.

At its heart Bluesfest is about blues so this year Gary Clark Jr. had the honours of singing the blues right till the end with a devoted and captivated audience at the Jambalaya. If you missed him this year I’m sure he will be back in years to come. Gary Clark Jr. is a young man now destined to be one of the greats.

At the end of the night walking out under the stars it dawned on me how awesome the sound quality was all festival. Brilliant work from all the sound engineers! It takes skill to produce an exceptional outdoor music event like this one. Congratulations on another great year! See you in 2016.

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