Live Review : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2018 – Day 3

Review by Wanda Hill

Jackson Browne at Bluesfest Byron Bay 2018
Photographer : Stuart Blythe

Bluesfest 2018 – Saturday 31st March – Day 3

Day three was feeling pretty cruizy and chilled as people in for the whole music marathon were recovering from two huge days of sonic feasting already. No long lines for food and moving around the festival was pretty easy compared to the day before. That was until Jackson Browne was about to start at the Crossroads and then trying to move towards the other stages became an extreme effort as all roads and traffic pointed to Jackson Browne. The Crossroads was completely filled to hear his beautiful clear sound and heartfelt lyrics which unfortunately were slightly impacted for people at the back of the tent by sound bleed from a particularly energetic set by Harts over at the Jambalaya. Not so bad for the crowd at Jambalaya who were being engulfed by Harts powerful sounds.

Juanes at the Mojo had a small but extremely dedicated and appreciative crowd cheering wildly between songs. This Columbian singer sang the entire set in Spanish and at one point thanked the crowd for appreciating and respecting this. His music is diverse and ranged from ballads to hard rock with plenty of danceable tunes in between. All with a distinctly Latin flavour. Having won 20 Latin Grammy awards he is a legend in Spanish speaking countries worldwide but not so well known in Australia. Juanes being a social justice and peace activist was invited to join like minded Michael Franti on stage at the Mojo later in the evening.

The New Power Generation played their final show for the festival at the Mojo so they ramped up the vibe to 110%. Clearly enjoying their Bluesfest experience they gave the audience a show they will never forget. The bigger stage suited their performance and the 10-piece band had the room they needed for synchronised dance moves and expression. Prince’s songs were brought to life by his former band with epic synths, brilliant bass and outstanding vocals by André Cymone, Kip Blackshire and Támar Davis. Támar especially hits those high notes that sound impossible but oh so sweet. Bassist Dwayne Thomas Jr. was dressed as a human billboard advertising himself. His bass and clothes covered with Mono Neon signs, clearly an invitation to google him and find out more. No shyness about self promotion here. People of all ages enjoyed this uplifting and soulful tribute to an artist that has given us so much and departed way too soon.

People were finding it impossible to walk past Chain at the Delta stage, they had to dance walk and groove instead. As Peter Noble said while asking them to do an extra song “Chain are Australia’s greatest Blues band” having formed in 1968 they celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. The Afro Celt Sound System brought a dynamic mix of cultures and instruments to the Delta stage delivering a high energy set filled with sounds and influences from Indian, African and Gaelic traditions. I’m looking forward to dancing with them again today Sunday April 1st at 3pm at the Jambalaya.

Michael Franti and Spearhead had the honour of headlining at the Mojo under the full moon and will play again on Monday night the 2nd of April at the Crossroads at 10pm. As always Michael delivered positive and purpose filled messages through accessible upbeat music to an ever expanding fan filled audience.

Feeling completely satisfied from three huge days of Bluesfest already it was good to be reminded by acrobatic vocalist Ziek McCarter from Con Brio earlier in the day that “this is not a show, this is a party” and the party goes on. Sunday is looking to be massive. Crowds are expected to swell for the big acts coming on tonight – Melissa Etheridge, Sheryl Crow, Seal, John Bulter Trio and Tash Sultana. It’s the last day of Boomerang Festival today so if you haven’t checked this out yet make sure you are in early enough to catch the magic happening at the Boomerang dance ground and near by tents from 12:30pm.

Photo Gallery : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2018 – Day 3

Jackson Browne at Bluesfest Byron Bay 2018
Photographer : Stuart Blythe