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Mary J Blige
Mary J Blige

Report: Greg Phillips Photos: Jason Rosewarne

Before Bluesfest day 2 stage proceedings took place, festival head honcho Peter Noble held court at a press conference, taking questions and talking up the weekend. Not holding back, Noble expressed disappointment at cancelled headliner Neil Young’s lack of respect in not informing him of an excuse for pulling out of his festival appearance. However, rather than dwell on who wasn’t here, Noble was more intent on showcasing those who were and brought along a couple of festival artists for a short acoustic spot, a taste of what’s in store for the rest of the weekend. Lucy Gallant sat with guitar and demonstrated why she’s become such an in demand artist worldwide and one not to miss at Bluesfest. African born, Grammy award-winning flautist Wouter Kellerman also impressed the gathered media with a mesmerising performance on flute.

Back on the stage proper, Nikki Hill was powering through her second performance of the festival and adding more punters to her ever-increasing fanbase. Chicago-based guitarist, vocalist Melody Angel delivered thumping’ rock versions of classic rock tunes amid her energetic originals from her debut album In The Fire. Joan Osborne used her second Bluesfest spot to perform acoustic versions of Bob Dylan songs from her soon to be released Dylan covers album. The Strumbellas brand of folk rock is infectious and the large crowd at the Delta stage warmed to their amiable personalities and good vibes. Wouter Kellerman presented an eclectic set featuring vibrant African rhythms blended with ambient world music themes. Backstage was a flutter with appearances at the Gibson tent by Game Of Thrones hunk Jason Momoa and word was getting round that Matt Damon and Chris Hemsworth were also in the house. Patti Smith and band were back, this time in acoustic mode featuring a soaring version of Beneath The Southern Cross. Jimmy Buffet drew an enormous crowd to the Crossroads stage for his laconic brand of cocktail rock. I’ve never seen so many Hawaiin shirts at a concert before. He didn’t disappoint with his tight, powerful band, delivering Buffet classics mixed with covers such as Brown Eyed Girl and Weather With You. Bonnie Raitt eased into a magical set. The multi-award winning rock blues legend seems to get better with age. Mary J Blige offered a slicker form of RnB with a highly polished set, leaving The Lumineers and Mountain Goats to end the day with their contagious rhythms. Two days down and three to go!



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