Talk about a double whammy for Bluesfest owner Peter Noble. For the second year running, his well known music festival got a big fat red covid cancellation. Just hours ahead of opening day and a few hours after we’d set up camp here, the NSW government issued an unexpected, out of left field announcement that the festival would not be going ahead.
In our camp, the news was met with shock, tears and sympathy for a man who had carefully crafted 120 open hectares into one amazing music village which in this covid year aimed to pump out an awesome line-up of Aussie musicians.
Our good friend Lorrie is the reason we’re here. A fierce supporter of Australian music festivals, her work in ensuring festivals meet rigorous sustainability requirements is full on.
When she asked if we’d like to volunteer at Bluesfest, we didn’t hesitate. Our non glam job on the recycle tray (plastics go here/paper goes there) would see us work 5 hours a day for 5 days in an enviable location- just outside the main stage. When we weren’t working, the days and nights were ours. A pretty good deal all round we thought.
A buggy ride around the festival site showed us three enormous stages, thousands of chairs set out (it was a fully seated concert this year), hundreds of tents standing ready in dozens of camping areas, toilets and shower primed with soap and toilet paper, police, firies and ambos in place, green fields newly mown, sanitising stations front and centre.
Trite as it sounds- what an absolute shame Bluesfest never got the green light.
That night we talked and drank til late with other festies, admiring young ones who commiserated with their top of the lungs tribute to Jimmy Barnes, older festies who took the news in their stride and musos who lamented that Bluesfest was tipped to be the meeting place for the big names who’d recently attended Michael Gudinski’s funeral.
Reliable word is that Bluesfest will be rescheduled. Ticketholders are urged to hang onto their tickets. When and what format is anyone’s guess at this early stage. Here’s hoping it all works out.