Live Review : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2019 – Day 4

By Wanda Hill

Photo credit : Julius C Montes

Bluesfest Day 4 – 21 April 2019

The 30th anniversary of Bluesfest would not be complete without Australia’s most soulful singer songwriter Archie Roach. This afternoon’s Mojo highlight was Archie sharing stories of his life and his ancestor’s lives interwoven between powerfully emotive songs full of well earned wisdom. His beautiful lyrics punctuated by distinctive vocal tones, depth and vibrato that can move even the most stoic man to tears. Time seems to slow down in his presence, plenty of space for contemplation as Archie brings into focus issues such as the fight to protect a Djap Wurrung sacred birthing tree in Victoria currently threatened by highway expansion. His song ‘A child was born here’ perfectly illustrating the importance of birthing trees to Aboriginal people across the country. Such a gift to spend time listening to this great man who demonstrates so well that the greatest strength can be found in gentleness.

Boomerang finished today with a spectacular finale ceremony as the sun went down incorporating all the dance troupes and artists who participated in the three-day festival within a festival. Founding Yothu Yindi member Witiyana Marika spoke from the middle of the sand circle, saying ‘We have come along way to meet and connect with Bundjalung and all the nations, far across and far and wide, and across the seas, we have come together as a one people, one nation, tribal people to listen to the tribal voice, yo, tribal land, we have come from all corners of earth’ before performing a healing song and dance with members of his family. This was followed by all the troupes coming into the dance ground, in succession, showcasing unique cultural expression from around Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands and as far away as Tibet.

As Boomerang dissipated this extremely uplifting and inspiring experience was held in place by smooth RnB powerhouse vocalist Thando who grooved up the nearby Juke Joint providing a solid launch point for a sweet night ahead. Meshell Ndegeocello brought her ultra smooth stripped back album of covers Ventriloquism to the Jambalaya interspersed with her originals. The audience languishing in her ultra romantic, deep and warm voice, swaying to her artful composition and bass lines taking hits such as ‘Waterfalls’ to places the original could never go. George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic had fans from around the world gathered at the Crossroads excited to experience the funk with the worlds greatest party band. Dressed to impress and on their final shows for Bluesfest ever, George Clinton brought the mothership to Bluesfest for the second last time. Tonight in a perfect finale for Bluesfest’s 30th year, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic will appear for one last time at the Jambalaya starting 9pm… they will go all night if allowed ;-)

For the full line up head to the Bluesfest website:

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