Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Byron Bay Blues Fest!

Highlights of the 5 days of music madness: in no particular order.

Undoubtedly – Eddi Reader. Whose surname is one who reads books; not – as I thought – rhyming with Eddie Vedder. At least confusion is now eliminated. She's a Scottish singer, who tells wee stories prior to her songs. Eddi sings the songs of Robert Burns (among others) and is probably best known for having once demanded that all her relationships be-eee-eee per-FECT!

Memorably, Amadou and Mariam – Malian musicians. Amadou plays guitar and Mariam serenely rubs loving circles on his head and shoulders as she sings.

Deliciously, Fish Tacos. Not a band – although that would be a pretty cool name – it's food. Good food. Made by the imaginatively named: Fish Taco Co.

Surprisingly, Rain. Lots of it, all in a few hours, mostly on my head. Rain causes mud. Smelly mud.

Magically, Plasticine People (not their real name). Street performers themed: the sea! the sea! – with a majestic dragon (the serpentine kind), bobbing jellyfish, dancing seahorses and comic crabs. They entertained children and the child-at-heart (me, and every other festival goer).

Ukuleles. I want one. Oh, and Taasha Coates, of The Audreys soon-to-be fame plays mean ukulele.

Yee ha!

Once upon a time it was uncool to like country music. And then people rediscovered the joy of jigging and the banjo, mandolin, squealing guitars and harmonica were no longer pariahs in the trendy music scene. Now I see gorgeous young ones in designer dreads and funky fashions dancing it up to the country-est of musics and my heart goes: Yee har!

Irish accents. Australians have always loved the Irish accent but I discover that I am particularly partial to it plus uncontrolled dancing. If you can leap about a stage, arms akimbo and legs a-kicking, you're in with a mighty good chance of taking me home. If you can also hold a tune while doing the above, consider me your bestest fan ever.

Hitch-hikers. My partner and I would have to be the most anxious and amusing hitchhiker picker uppers. Our first set of intrepid hitchhikers – a guy and 2 gals – we had to wave down. I brandished my bright-yellow 5 day music loving wristband and pointed at their green only-3-days-and-therefore-less-cool-but-still-music-loving wristbands. My partner had to honk the horn before they noticed we were going to give them a lift. The second was a lone young man. When he found out we were going to the festival and not all the way through to Byron Bay town, he backed away from the car. We ruminated on what we had done wrong. Was I too eager to tell him that we weren't going into town? Should my partner have suggested that we drop him on the other side of the festival where he might have more luck scoring an appropriate ride? He was two days worth of conversation – and we didn't even mention his very groovy (but somewhat weather inaccurate) jacket.

Dreadlocks. Once, I wanted some. Now, I work in a conservative, anti-dreadlock industry. There were feral dreads, reggae dreads, groovy dreads, fashion dreads and hippy dreads. Some were unwashed, some were beaded. All were cool.

Singers who think you can sing and harmonise too. Just because I am enthusiastic does not mean I can hold a tune. Or a note. And don't expect me to harmonise – I can and will disharmonise all around me. (It's just the sort of girl I am).

International mega-stars who tell stomach hurting stories about how said mega-stardom still doesn't score the girl said international mega-star had a crush on in high-school.

Sleep. Not exactly a part of the festival, but definitely a highlight.

Middle aged men who are so into the music that their feet are tapping. Against their better judgement, no less.

The 8(ish) month old baby with lime green trousers and matching headphones. Looking all the world like a wee hippy / gansta rapper.

Being 'spotted' for our Threadless t-shirts. One guy pointed at my chest and nudged his friends – who all grinned and gave me the thumbs up. I grinned back because I knew it was appreciation for 'Nuts' rather than sexist ogling of my boobs. Another stopped me and said: Hey! Is that a Threadless T-shirt? Cool. And the hippy asking for money who inquired of my partner's Roadblock: What does it all mean, man? We didn't know but we were sure it was deep. Man.

The fact that no matter how full my back-pack, I pass through security with nary a glance. I even joked about having vodka instead of water in my water bottle and they laughed. I mean – how honest do I look? Bet that wouldn't happen if I had dreads...

Couples in matching outfits. Groups of young men in matching pink singlets. The colourful tambourine man. Girls who photograph themselves giggling in front of artists whom they haven't listened to. Being assertive / aggressive in queues – I'm better at it than most people.

Hothouse Flowers, Taiko drumming and Davell Crawford – piano and egoist extraordinairre.

Shaking it to Femi, Jigging with Fiachna and Giving it up for Marva.

I love you, guys.

Now I'm off to sleep!

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