It's a wrap! ... The highlights of Bluesfest 2012
16 April 2012
The driest festival weather wise in the event’s 23-year history was also its third at its new permanent home at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm.
Crowds were thrilled with all the work carried out in and around the site since last year’s event, including new roads and walkways which have helped weather-proof the grounds in the event of future downpours.
However, Mother Nature decided not to test the ground works this year, with patrons swapping gumboots for sunscreen under perfect blue skies and clear, full-moon-lit nights.
Highlights of the harmonic convergence have been many, from some of the five-day program’s best performances, by My Morning Jacket and headliners Cold Chisel, on Thursday’s opening night to John Fogerty’s second, rocking greatest hits set on the Mojo Stage on Monday night.
After 44 years of being together Earth Wind and Fire at last have made it to tour Australia . As festival director Peter Noble says “Their debut Bluesfest performance was extraordinary and proved without doubt why they are the top selling black music band of all time. They are equal to the best bads who have ever played Bluesfest.”
In fact, there were no bad performances. The standard was both high and consistent, the range of musical styles covered ensuring fans young and old were all well catered for.
Older audience members hung on every note served up by master craftsmen such as Crosby Stills and Nash, Steve Earle, and John Hiatt and his band The Combo.
Betty LaVette, Joanne Shaw Taylor and Rosie Ledet all raised the roof while The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd were all red hot and blues.
One of Canada’s top bands Great Big Sea were one of the discoveries and it was great to see a thousand Canadians in the audience singing along to every tune.
New Orleans singer and brass master Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, who has surely cemented his place as one of Bluesfest’s favourite new sons, was another standout as was fellow funky brass star Maceo Parker.
Return visitors included African queen Angelique Kidjo; incomparable Chicago blues master Buddy Guy; hillbilly hero Seasick Steve (accompanied by Led Zeppelin great John Paul Jones); Nicky Bomba’s incredible Melbourne Ska Orchestra; and reggae giant Ziggy Marley.
A rare show by Melbourne’s Wedding Parties Anything ahead of an all-in singalong with Irish rovers The Pogues proved a hit with crowds of all ages on the Crossroads Stage on Sunday night.
And it was hard to say no to progressive rock royalty Yes, who topped an A-list lineup in the Mojo Tent on Monday night following a brilliant display of technical wizardry by Zappa Plays Zappa, Dweezil’s tribute to his father Frank Zappa, and country rock giant John Fogerty’s all-in singalong which saw him perform classic Credence Clearwater Revival album Green River from start to finish.
While fans old and new are still raving about the sonic quality of Cold Chisel’s album-launch set, Sunday night’s all-Australian lineup on the Mojo Stage, including festival party starters Blue King Brown and John Butler Trio and award-winning songsmiths The Audreys and Josh Pyke, is proof the future of home-grown music is in safe hands.
The APRA stage drew terrific crowds across the five days with drawcards including Hat Fitz & Cara, enigmatic favourites Alabama 3 and local stars on the rise Round Mountain Girls, Tijuana Cartel and Eagle and The Worm.