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Bluesfest 2013: It’s a Wrap! | FESTIVALPHOTO

Bluesfest 2013: It’s a Wrap!

Bluesfest 2013: It’s a Wrap!

Press conference with the Director of Bluesfest, Peter Noble.

• Peter joins the media at ‘The Lotus’, a solar powered venue custom-built for Bluesfest by Southern Cross University.

• We hear about the success of the 2013 festival and get a sneak peak as to what we can look forward to in 2014.

Bluesfest 2013 was another triumph for festival director, Peter Noble. This year’s line-ups were one of the best the festival has had, attracting an audience of 104,244 people.

“It was a hell of a line up and I am really proud”, Noble says.

International and local musicians equally love playing at the event. The festival has always been a ‘blues’ based festival and Peter is often approached by the general public asking, “ Why blues?” However, Peter has remained solid to his word and kept it as a blues festival, and People from all over Australia - and the world - love it for this very reason. As a result, Peter has a long list of musicians queuing to perform at Bluesfest because of its uncompromising commitment to celebrating a blues in all its varied expressions.

Ben Harper and Xavier Rudd keep coming back, and there is talk of other international bands returning in 2014. These acts will be announced at a date, closer to the 2014 festival.

Punters young and old enjoy the festival, which is a family friendly event. To watch the younger ones appreciating musicians who have been in the music industry for over 20 years is amazing.

Acts such as The Lumineers, Ben Howard, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, Grace Potter - “They don’t come hotter than Potter”, says Peter Noble - Iggy and The Stooges, Robert Plant presents Sensational Space Shifters, Mavis Staples and Bonnie Raitt were all on this year’s list. Each act distinctly different from one band to the next, but enjoyed equally by all the punters present.

“Punters want to come, artists want to play; word of mouth builds momentum and that momentum has built up over time, and now we’ve gone to another level”, Noble says.

So how does Peter choose up and coming talent for the Bluesfest stage?

Firstly, bands need to have an exceptionally professional approach to their own act.
Reviews, professional film clips, live performances where their fans have followed them in larger numbers and playing at other festivals helps.

Peter keeps up-to-date with the latest music media news. He’s always looking out for something fresh whether that is via Big Sound, AWME or other industry events that he attends.

The festival has only just finished for 2013 and Peter is already working hard towards the celebration of the 25th birthday of Bluesfest in 2014. Meanwhile, a companion event is being born. In the form of the Boomerang Festival, which is to be held at the Bluesfest site in Tyagarah near Byron Bay over the, Labour Day long weekend, this 4th-6th of October.

Once again utilising the state-of–the–art solar powered sound system used at Bluesfest in 2013, The Lotus will be making another appearance at the Boomerang Festival. ‘”The Sunflower”, a nickname given to for the solar powered system used in) The Lotus, was created by Dr. Barry Hill and students from of Southern Cross University. This system is already being used by festivals such as The Bleach Festival and The Mullumbimby Festival.

“The aim of the project is to show the way sustainable design principles can be promoted within the Australian music industry, as well as promoting best practice in alternative power generation and energy efficient audio visual technology”, Dr Hill says.

Federal, State and Local Governments are presently looking at Dr Hill’s proposal for the ongoing usage of solar powered systems on a much larger scale. The aim is to encourage more festivals to use the system and for much larger stages or venues to be set-up with solar energy.

There are no promises that the main stages at Bluesfest 2014 will be powered by solar energy., however Bluesfest actively promotes positive awareness about the benefits of solar energy in music venues for other events around the world.
Nevertheless, with the 25th birthday of Bluesfest coming up next year, Peter and Government are looking into ways of using more solar power.

Overall, the costs of a solar powered stage are no more than running a stage with regular power. Dr. Hill and Southern Cross University students have customised the solar powered system to run for up to five days which makes solar energy very efficient for most music festivals.

Another advantage of using solar power at music festivals is that there is significantly less noise pollution, a common problem for festivals running generators late into the night Generators also take-up a lot of space, are very heavy and cost a great deal of money to put in place.

Aside from the use of solar energy, Peter also encourages charity stalls and fundraising at Bluesfest. Charity stalls at Bluesfest 2013 included, Australian Seabird Rescue, Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter, Byron Youth Service, Cancer Council New South Wales Australia, Music Maker Relief Foundation, Boomerang Music Festival and Playing for Change. The fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis raised an amazing $50,000.

Bluesfest 2014 is one third sold out already, with more than 4000 tickets sold during the 2013 festival and another 2000 since.

Let’s see what’s install for Bluesfest’s 25th birthday in 2014. If 2013 was anything to go by, next year’s festival is looking set to be a blues-buster!

Tameika Brumby

Writer: Tameika Brumby
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