Music hits chord at Bluesfest
THERE are few things more powerful than the sound of one honest voice; except maybe the sound of thousands singing in unison.
Despite the mass of crowd-thumping treats at Bluesfest, including Sydney-based Celtic punk-rockers The Rumjacks, The Melbourne Ska Orchestra and Alabama Shakes, it was the sound of one lone voice that brought people to tears.
Suddenly oblivious to the rain and the stench of the mud, which was akin to a zoo whose stables had never been mucked out, all came to a standstill as David Gray sang.
Any questions as to why people flock to these events to spend days running from one stage to the next in a constant state of FOMO (fear of missing out), playing a non-stop game of where's Wally with friends and family members while battling third world conditions in port-a-loos, were pushed aside by this one moment.
Glancing across the crowd in the middle of David Gray, a surfer in his mid-twenties could be seen head hung forward, holding the bridge of his nose, sobbing. After watching to see if he had in fact lost a loved one, it soon became obvious that it was the music moving him to such emotional depth as he became ecstatic, jumping, fist pumping the air. This is what it was all about - the music.
And the money, as local stall holders raked in the dough in exchange for luscious clothes and delicious treats in lines which never dwindled, Mullum based Ya Man, Yemeni food, and the Byron Bay Organic Donuts being among the favourites.
Masses of people swayed their way through the mud pits to the bar. Having pre-purchased tickets for specific drinks they were forced to line up twice, once for the ticket and once for the drink. But at least the barman already knew what you wanted.
Others who could no longer enunciate their desires were hauled off by first aid personnel in a feat of co-ordination that has to be applauded, including clearly marked first aid points and an emergency number printed on every wrist band. Otherwise reluctant crowds parted as strangers came to the aide of strangers, hauling them to safety, the sniffer dog welcoming party at the front gate having been seemingly ineffective.
Unless you were unfortunate enough to get stuck in a traffic jam at the end of the night, or waiting in the line for the Byron bus which stretched almost back through the festival gates, getting home was far easier than getting in to the festival.
Those living in Lennox and Ballina having had to pick from only four buses a day to get them there.