Live Review : Bluesfest Byron Bay 2022 – Day 5

By Wanda Hill

Take three and the 33rd annual Bluesfest actually happened, much to the relief and joy of the entire Bluesfest community. Five days of celebrating some of the world’s finest musicians amongst old and new friends came to an end on Monday night. The festival grounds will be glad to see us gone, the trodden grass can regrow and the wildlife can get some much needed sleep.   

The predominantly Australian edition of Bluesfest was a great tribute to the incredible musicians we are so fortunate to have living and working in this country. Day five was a chilled out day and great opportunity to see some festival favourites again. More dancing and up vibes with The Bamboos, The Regime and Cory Henry,topping up the feel good factor that will last for months to come. And the chance to wind down and just feel the emotions and beauty so well captured by blues with The War & Treaty and Pacey, King and Doley.

Hiatus Kaiyote had the honour of closing the festival this year at the Juke Joint with their sublime fusion of jazz, soul and trip hop beats overlayed with floating vocals, transporting listeners to places uncharted by other musicians. Iconic Bluesfest staple the The Wailers played their classics that never get old, still touching hearts and finding new fans, to a loyal crowd the Delta. The Teskey Brothers were a fitting end to the Mojo stage for 2022, still being fresh faces yet rising in popularity and esteem in the global Blues scene. They will back for many years to come. Pete Murray closed the Crossroads and Chain were the final offering at Jambalaya. Something in there for everyone to enjoy.

John Williamson earlier in the day during his set pledged to donate his festival earnings to the local flood recovery efforts. Having written songs about drought, fire and rain, this was a well received gesture from a man who knows and feels the challenges faced by many at this time. It was truly special to have been part of this 33rd Bluesfest that refused to be held down by two years of pandemic challenges and then the biggest flood in local history. Music always heals and is vital for well functioning humans. Thank you to all the people that make this show happen, it takes a cast of thousands to create this magical Bluesfest ecosystem that comes to life at Easter every year. A great ritual worth repeating time and time again.

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