News: The festival proper begins – Bluesfest Byron Bay, Day 1, Thursday 28.03.2024

Following on from the special Camper’s Night show, Bluesfest Byron Bay began in earnest with its’ first full day’s entertainment.

It is impossible to shoot/see everybody, but we tried to get to as many artists as possible. First up was the traditional Welcome To Country, with Festival Director, Peter Noble introducing local First Nation’s representative, Delta Kay who welcomed the festival attendees, musicians and workers to country on behalf of the Bundjalung people. This was followed by a mixed traditional/contemporary dance, which was well-received by those in attendance.

Welcome To Country Gallery:

First cab off the rank in the music stakes was US singer-songwriter/guitarist, Jackie Venson who brought her beautifully velvet vocals to the festival for the first time along with her fantastic guitar work. Rarely do you see an artist smile as much as Jackie did, but it was a smile that lit the stage.

Jackie Venson Gallery:

Next up was round two of the freight-train that is Taj Farrant. Hendrix, SRV and Gary Moore tones reigned supreme through another highly-charged set of ferocious guitar-work from the central coast teen, and he left those in the audience who hadn’t previously seen him live in awe of his prodigious talent.

Taj Farrant Gallery:

After a short break, fellow Australian musical prodigy, Ben Swissa brought his talents to the Bluesfest stage. Highly touted by the likes of Rolling Stone Magazine and Tash Sultana, Ben delighted the crowd with his Prince-like funkiness and guitar prowess.

Ben Swissa Gallery:

Traditional blues were back on the agenda with the talents of Fiona Boyes and her band, The Fortune Tellers. Another of those artists who’s sheer enjoyment for what they do is plainly evident, Fiona brought her contemporary, electrified and cigar-box guitar interpretations of traditional blues to the purists and newcomers alike. Her husband, ‘The Preacher’ even made a brief appearance, shaking his tail-feathers as he left the stage.

Fiona Boyes & The Fortune Tellers Gallery:

From the traditional, to the progeny of the outright legendary, Allman-Betts Family Revival brought the classic music of the Allman Brothers to life with an authenticity that only those with the genetic strains could. Devon Allman (son of the late Gregg Allman) and Duane Betts (son of the late Dickey Betts) have joined forces to keep alive the legacy of arguably the best jam-band who have ever graced the stage, anywhere, anytime.

Allman Betts Family Revival Gallery:

More classic rock was to follow with legendary Atlanta, Georgia band, The Drive-By Truckers

Drive-By Truckers Gallery:

Moving from classic rock to funk, our next artist was the aptly named Here Come The Mummies. A collective of hugely-talented, yet somewhat anonymous musicians hit the stage swathed in bandages, and boogied and gyrated their way through a fabulously choreographed, and highly amusing set of champagne funk.

Here Come The Mummies Gallery:

To finish the day, the impeccable, and legendary talent that is Elvis Costello & The Imposters took to the stage, and ran through the eclectic catalogue of music that has thrilled fans since the late 70’s.

Elvis Costello & The Imposters Gallery:

All Photos: ©fullonrockphotography/Andrew Fuller

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