ON the eve of the 22nd annual Byron Bay Bluesfest, festival director and co-founder Peter Noble reflects on some of his top moments from the world renowned music festival.
1. Ben Harper, 1996
Ben Harper in 1996 was a big turning point. He showed us an artist who was doing music that wasn’t easy to put into one sort of genre. He was fusing it up. When Ben came along he showed the way for the John Butlers and the Michael Frantis and the Xavier Rudds and so many others. He showed me somewhere to go with this festival musically.
2. James Brown, 2004
For some people the Beatles were the great artists of the 20th Century. For others it was Bob Dylan. For me it will always be James Brown. That (Brown performing at Bluesfest) was a wonderful moment.
3. Dave Matthews Band, 2005
I remember after their performance they said it was the best performance they’d done in years. There’s reasons for that - one is Bluesfest happens in circus tents, the vibe is really great, and the audience is just such an appreciative audience. When an audience is with you it takes a band to a whole new level and that’s what Bluesfest is about.
4. Australian Event of the Year Awards, 2010
Winning the Australian Event of the Year Award for Best Cultural Event, and then also winning Best Event of the Year last year - that’s a big moment, beating things like the Australian Open Tennis and the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
5. Bluesfest 2011 and beyond
From doing my festival in Singapore last weekend, John Legend was just incredible. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while. Bob Dylan did Bob Dylan. If you’re a fan of Bob Dylan then I guess you’ll like it. I like John Legend and Michael Franti personally. I’m thinking the number one moment, though, is what I’m working on now for next year’s festival.
The Byron Bay Bluesfest starts on Thursday and runs daily through Tuesday at the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm. Tickets are still available for Tuesday. For more information go to www.bluesfest.com.au.