BYRON BAY. Day 1. Beach, Blues and Backstage!

On Thursday morning i drove down with mum to the incredible Byron Bay

and we were met by a perfect day.

Throughtout the day more and more people began to arrive including my dad, Hannah, my brother and his grilfirend and our good family friends – the more the merrier!

The excitement mounted as the evening approached until finally the majority of us headed to the BLUESFEST!!!!

This year it is situated out of Byron for the first time ever, near Mullumbimby in fields now owned by the festival organisers. What used to be the Tyagarah Tee Tree Farm, nestled on 120 hectares, just 11 kilometres north of Byron Bay will be host to 17,500 Festival visitors per day and 6,500 campers!!!!

We weren’t sure where to get the shuttle bus from so dad drove us into town and as we neared the centre the shuttle bus zoomed past in the opposite direction. Dad did a highly volatile turn and before we knew it we were in an epic bus chase (not high speed though as the traffic kind of prevented that…) Just as we were about to FINALLY overtake the bus, it pulled over and dad proceeded to come to a screeching stop IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD and yelled “GO. GO. GOOO!!!!” so we commando jumped out of the car (with others honking their horns behind us) and JUST hopped on the bus in time! Nice. When we finally arrived we met up with Mum, our family friends and the friends who so generously hosted me in France for Christmas. The generosity kept flowing as they provided us with 5 day passes for the WHOLE festival!!!! We owe them a HUGE thankyou!! We headed straight for the “MOJO” tent

which sheltered all the main acts (Bluesfest is notorious for it’s bad weather) and before we knew it were swept BACKSTAGE!!!!

Thanks AGAIN to our friends. WOW!

It’s a whole new experience witnessing a performance from backstage as you see everything that goes into making the performance run smoothly and the best thig i found was witnessing the various musicians in their element up close. We grooved along

to the funky, feel good sounds of Ozomatli

And after JUST surviving a harrowing visit to the port-a-loo (charmingly named Dunnies with Dignity – A ‘Dunny‘ is Australian slang for toilet by the way )

We ventured out into the mosh where there is a completely different and equally incredible vibe. You can’t beat being surrounded my thousands of people who have just as much adoration for the incredible musicians as you

Until we went backstage again to see what i had really been waiting for.
JACK JOHNSON! Before Jack Johnson became the 21st century kingpin of beachside pop/rock, he was a champion surfer on the professional route. Being the son to a famous surfer throughout the islands Jeff Johnson naturally led to an interest in surfing at a young age, having practically learned to surf as he learned to walk, the man has grown up on his board. He eventually became a champion surfer who scored a sponsorship with Quicksilver and who seemed to be heading towards the professional route.

Jack began surfing the universally revered and feared Pipeline at age 10. By 17, he made the finals at the Pipe trials, becoming the youngest invitee ever to do so at the world’s most prestigious surfing event. Unfortunately, Jack suffered a near death experience at age 17 after crashing his body into the reef during the Pipeline Masters. While recovering, he pursued his interest in filmmaking and soon became a surf film director, photographer, producer and score composer. He received much praise for his surf cinema documentaries, Thicker Than Water (1999) and the follow-up The September Sessions (2000) which won The Surfer Magazine Poll award for best film of the year and rightly so – they are amazing. Jack also began quietly writing songs during his college years, having played the guitar since 14 and being brought up with influences such as Nick Drake, Ben Harper, the Beatles, Bob Marley, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and A Tribe Called Quest. Then the stars aligned when he met G. Love for a day of surfing who ended up recording his song “Rodeo Clowns”. It became the first single from G Love’s last album and Jack sang and played on the track. With this new confidence he made a four-track demo which caught the ears of Ben Harper’s producer and the rest my friends is history. His melodic, beachy guitar rifts are at one with his easy going voice and his thoughtful nature is realised in every one of his soothing songs

In one of the photos below are his guitars. JACK JOHNSON’S GUITARS!!!!!! – just seeing them made me giddy and uncontrollably excited!

And then. THERE HE WAS!!!
and unbelievably Hannah and i were brought even CLOSER to the stage – my idol, mere metres away. I couldnt believe it and singing along to all of the songs, swaying side to side i felt absolutely on top of the world

As if it couldnt get better he was also joined for a few songs my Matt Costa. I was in musical bliss.

It was truly incredible night and one which i’ll always remember, i was walking on air and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face!! When we returned home we found that the dogs had also had alot of fun! Tearing up the bed that belonged to Archie (my Jack Russell) there were remnants of fluff and cloth ALLLLLLLL over the garden

We left it to clean up in the morning and that night i had blissful dreams and probably still had a smile on my face the whole time. Amazing.


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