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Words: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne

Easter Saturday saw a steady stream of punters through the gates, eager to see what Bluesfest day 3 had to offer. Sister act Larkin Poe (Rebecca and Megan Lovell) on their first trip to Australia were playing to a packed Delta tent, where the audience was getting off on the raw blues and roots sounds coming off the stage. The girls were clearly thrilled to be at the festival and told the crowd how much they appreciated being in a place that supports live music with such passion.

Next door in the Juke Joint tent, Double J’s Zan Rowe was presenting a Best of Bluesfest session, which involved interviews with artists and short acoustic performances. We caught Fantastic Negrito, who told us he was the 8th of 14 children. There were tales of his rough upbringing and the loss of his brother and so many other close friends to gun violence. On a lighter note, Lukas Nelson followed discussing his role of ‘authenticity consultant’ on the Hollywood movie A Star is Born.

Making some rocking’ noise to a lot of people inside the Mojo tent was Kurt Vile and The Violators, pumping out their brand of laconic rock. The former The War On Drugs guitarist is almost as laid back as Dinosaur Jr but with a fraction of the distortion.

Colin Hay proved to be a popular attraction with a crowd stretching way beyond the bounds of the Crossroads tent. Starting mellow, Hay gradually built the atmosphere as he played the Men At Work classics the audience wanted to hear. Be Good Johnny was particularly epic.

While there was much activity within the performance tents, unbeknown to the public there was also much happening backstage. Byron Music have a tent set up for musicians to check out instruments and jam as they please on gear supplied by Yamaha Music, Fender and Maton. Going through for a look and jam were members of Allen Stone and Marcus King’s band as well as Jon Deas, the keyboard player from Gary Clark Jr’s band. Later on Colin Hay’s band dropped by for a play too.

Jon Deas pic Greg Phillips

Also backstage, a press conference was held featuring Bluesfest boss Peter Noble, artists Jack Johnson, Lukas Nelson, and Nicky Bomba, as well as representatives of the initiative byo bottle. The byo bottle campaign is aimed at music industry personnel, encouraging them to encourage their fanbases to promote reusable drink vessels in order to reduce the overall plastic footprint of their shows. More on this from us soon, including footage from the press conference. In the meantime you can find out more at

Back at the Crossroads tent Kasey Chambers was putting on one of the most inspiring performances ever witnessed at Bluesfest. Featuring special guests Ben Harper, The War And Treaty, and The Veronicas, Kasey belted out her soul-stirring brand of alt-country rock and had the audience cheering long after she’d finished. Peter Noble came to the stage to present Kasey with a special ‘star’ award in recognition of her long-standing service to Bluesfest and the Australian music scene in general.

Lukas Nelson & The Promise Of The Real made their first Bluesfest appearance for 2019 and took no time in delivering a blistering set to an adoring crowd. Our ace photographer Jason Rosewarne had rare side stage access, so check out the photos below. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals followed, another Bluesfest fave, invited along to help in the 30th anniversary celebrations. Ben and band always deliver something special and tonight was no exception. Elsewhere Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul were blowing minds, Melbourne Ska Orchestra were creating fun and Flogging Molly were gettin’ jiggy!



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