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hipgrave
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 10:21:25 AM
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Hello Peter

Thanks once again for a wonderful inspiring festival. While I saw a lot in my five days, reading all the other posts its clear I still missed a few great acts.

This was my 9th festival in 10 years (I missed last year) and the music and was as good as any.

Here are some comments and suggestions from this armchair critic regarding the running of the event itself:

The Weather
Clearly the big topic. The rain was pretty much exactly as predicted. On Wed the long range forecast predicted showers on Thurs and Friday, rain on Sat and Sun and showers again on Monday. As it turned out, the heavy rain did not arrive until early Monday morning, so you may have got off lightly. Nevertheless, you should have been much better prepared.

It was evident as we walked home on Thursday night that the public entry/exit near the Apra Stage was not going to survive the weekend, and it should have been fully duckboarded on Friday morning. What would have happened had there been a site emergency requiring a fast evacuation through this gate?? Nothing short of chaos.

The combination of water /mud and lots of bare feet across the site is a health hazard and I am sure your public liability insurers will have some advice for you regarding the need to minimize your risks in this area. Woodford has a policy of ‘no footwear-no entry.’ You should too.

I was at Woodford in 2007/2008 and was impressed that while Billy H and his team were also struggling with the rain, they never gave up. Every morning there were truckloads of gravel arriving and bobcats pushing it around the worst areas. I realise you don’t own the Belongil site (and were prob not permitted by your contract to randomly dump gravel across it), but thoughts of George W his Katrina response crossed my mind as I sloshed across the Belongil site. I got the impression you just didn’t care.

If you don’t get the site preparation and drainage right at Tyagarah, the only winner will be the QFF who will hand over to you the hated Mudfest title they have worn for many years.

One last thought. The weather problems could have all been solved if only someone had thought of asking Elana James to stand on stage and just smile for the five days. Nothing else, just smile. The clouds would have parted, the sun would have shone and little birds would have started singing in the trees.

Site Layout
Great – whether you planned it or not, we effectively had two festivals, one for the teenagers around the Mojo, and one for the rest of us at Crossroads & Jambalaya. This worked well.

Smoking
Not only were the sound guys smoking, but there were quite a few fags lit up on stage. Not a good example for the kiddies.

Sound Quality
Other posters have said it all. Must do better next time.

Tents
A big leak along a seam of the Crossroads tent created a huge puddle/pond inside. Don’t pay their bill

Chairs
A perennial problem which will only get worse as us baby boomers get older. There were more chairs than ever this year, and I was particularly annoyed tripping over empty chairs, where owners had left them to get up close to the stage. My wife (a mean, vicious woman), suggested that standing punters be allowed to pick up abandoned chairs and toss them into a big bin to be placed at the back of each tent. ‘That’ll learn’em’ she said

Make sure the new site is wheelchair friendly. Science gave us baby boomers the pill in the 60’s, and Viagra in the 90’s. It’s going to give us large comfy wheelchairs in about 10 years and there needs to be plenty of concrete paths, ramps and space for them.

Overall Site Attitude
Wonderful. Everyone (punters, stall holders and bar staff) were all happy, smiling and cheerful despite the shitty conditions. Alcohol prices were outrageous but did a good job keeping people pretty sober. I saw only one example of ‘crowd rage’, up front during Lucinda’s second set. One happy young thing in a white tee shirt and dark sunglasses (at 11.45pm!) was waving her arms about and taking up a bit too much of the personal space of another female to her left, and copped a right hook for doing so. Fortunately the respective boyfriends sorted it out quickly.

I would be interested to know how effective the sniffer dogs were, as I noticed on the way in stash carriers were sending recce’s up ahead to check if the dogs were there.

So, in summary Peter, I apologise for being a bit negative, but we all have a big chunk of emotional capital invested in your festival and we want it to grow and prosper. (In fact, with the GFC it’s the only capital I have at the moment). I look forward to another great festival next year, whether it be at Tyagarah (DA approvals permitting) or still at Belongil.
waffles
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 4:37:27 PM
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apparently most of the people busted for pot received a caution,as it was deemed for personal use.so i guess thats 1 consolation.
with these being the worst conditions of any bluesfest,i hope peter learns about where to put roads,drainage etc.
i meant to take a trip to tyagarah to see how it coped with the deluge.
belongil fields is not under bluesfest complete control,so what could be done is limited to the way the camping,entrance ,parking etc can be used.
lets hope its tyagarah next year ,and all problems are solved.
personally,i just thought it all just added to a great weekend,and a bit of an adventure.

I don't want to hang up my rock n roll shoes
I get a good time feeling every time I hear those blues.
RaucousReg
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 4:50:53 PM

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I'll throw in a couple of criticisms of security.

1) Despite the fact they were prohibited there were a range of umbrellas, from the collapsible, easily hidden variety to the 'cover 10 people' golf umbrella. Presumably the staff on the gates were too busy operating to their narrow brief to notice these. I hope no-one was injured by those unthinking and irresponsible pholk who breached this obvious safety rule. If they were I hope the imbeciles on security share in the resultant law suit.

2) I know there is a restriction on opened bottles but in previous years there has been common sense applied by security, ie one sniff shows no booze present so all is fine. This year I was told I had to throw away my bottles. These included a BF bottle I bought on Good Friday 2000 and have taken with me, full every day since. What made this especially annoying was that following a health scare a few months back I ALWAYS carry water with me (as advised by a number of medical practitioners). Common sense should have applied.

On a related topic congratulations for finally complying with the Licensing Act and providing free water on the site, even though at least one station ran out by Monday.

namaste
RR
RaucousReg
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 5:09:40 PM

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waffles wrote:

i meant to take a trip to tyagarah to see how it coped with the deluge.


Bit hard to tell as the tea tree obscures the ground but the turf farm was (and still is) under water. I don't think the new site is that much higher and, in historical terms this weekends's rain wasn't that heavy.

waffles wrote:

lets hope its tyagarah next year ,and all problems are solved.


Do you really think they'll get there next year? Squalor is a long way further in the approvals process and still at Belongil this year, and I think the Tyagarah site has some huge environmental issues...

namaste
RR
waffles
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009 2:43:20 PM
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re the umbrellas,in the photo section of this site is an umbrella in the front rows during a set-pretty stupid.
and yet they stop you taking your own water bottle-also pretty stupid. why?
i think squalor has other issues-wildlife habitat.,nimby neighbours-even though its a long way from anywhere.
i truly think if bluesfest keep aiming at a younger crowd,their problems will worsen. im amazed their wasent more violence from so much grog.
i just hoping for tyagarah,to give bluesfest more control over some issues.

I don't want to hang up my rock n roll shoes
I get a good time feeling every time I hear those blues.
nani
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009 4:17:35 PM
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We brought our own water bottles in everyday but Thursday without any problems. The bottles just had to be empty, so we'd fill them at the water tanks (great idea) as soon as we got in.

Overall we had a really enjoyable festival with just a couple of minor gripes.

1. The rows and rows of chairs at Jambalaya really short changed some of the artists playing there. They would have had twice the crowd if people had been able to move forward.

2. The disappearing chairs from the eating area behind Crossroads. There must be a way to ensure the chairs stay at the tables rather than ending up in the tents. If people want to sit that badly they should pay for their own.

3. It's a shame that it ends up as almost two distinct festival spaces, Mojo and everywhere else.
The crowd at Mojo was largely unpleasant and we missed several acts we would have otherwise seen. In some ways I miss Red Devil and the hills that gave the opportunity to hang back and still check out the massive acts comfortably. I also miss encountering awesome acts purely by chance - that was easier at Red Devil, Belongil requires a lot more commitment to moving around.

4. The lack of food options near Apra & Jambalaya.

Loved the inclusion of the Indig stage and was thrilled to finally see the Stiff Gins again.
madameshawshank
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009 7:10:23 PM
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at The Sydney Writers' Festival each venue is cleared...before the next interview...while I realise that would be a bit tricky at the bluesfest...something is asking to be done...some creative minds could be employed to find a suitable solution to the chair people..I saw Peter looking at the quagmire outside the cd tent..his expression was almost 'if I keep looking maybe it will go away'....the mud didn't go away...I didn't really mind it..I had good gumboots...however given that so many people were there...it became hazardous...I agree with hiprave about the duckboarding of the entrance...at times I felt as if I was at a medieval fair..especially with the folk with their forks trying to spread the woodchips...
finleym
Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2009 7:40:14 PM

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My two cents probably just repeats much of what has been said - but here I go anyway:

1. Mojo was the most unpleasant it has ever been - the long walk in amongst the drunk and aggressive punters put me off going again after watching the amazing Zappa Plays Zappa. To say it was drunk kids - which many people I talked to labeled them - is incorrect, they are adults and they were not here for a musical festival but a party. Put me off seeing a number of acts in mojo for the rest of the weekend. I had one group of really drunk guys approach me on Friday afternoon looking for artist line-up for the day (they didn't know who was playing) and kept asking me if Ben Harper, Jack Johnson or John Butler was playing that night. When I told them no for one they would ask me again about the other. I own most of their cd's, so I am a fan of these artists, but I hope next year the Friday through Monday night has artists who either haven't been here in many years or who are new to the festival - even though I didn't have any trouble filling up my days with great musicians I think the headline acts define a festival and bluesfest needs to shake up it's lead players.

2. Chairs - perhaps a section for chairs. I know this has been talked about frequently on past boards, but especially in the smaller tents a small section for chairs only would make a big difference. Both Ruthie Foster and Luka Bloom suffered a smaller audience from the many people sitting in chairs - who also complained when people were standing in front of them. When the tent is full and you want to see an artist what else can you do but find a place that is free to stand?

3. Having spent most of the time at Crossroads and Jambalaya I had a very good festival experience. Food lines were not long, bathroom queue's were non existent, beer flowed quickly and the walk between stages was short - all you needed was a pair of gumboots and a poncho!

4. Sound bleed was a big problem - particularly coming out of APRA into the other tents.

5. Most bands I saw started bang on-time - a job well done to the crew. It is nice to show up at a set time and see the band up and ready to go. It gave me real confidence when planning my clashes.

6. I enjoyed the festival. I saw many wonderful acts and the tents I frequented had a great atmosphere and some wonderful people. But many people talked of the weekend feeling like two separate festivals on the one site. I hope this is something that can be improved for next year.

7. Most importantly a big thank you to all the people who make this one of the best music events in the world. Look forward to another 11 months of speculating, requesting and conversing with everyone.


Trumpet bells ringing
Bass drum is swinging
As the trombone groans
And the big horn moans
jarryd987
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 2:47:47 AM
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So I thought I might add some insight from a young person's perspective as I deem that many of the posters on here (and please correct me if I'm wrong) aren't of an age around 20. I don't claim to be an expert on anything I'm talking about but this is just my opinion from what limited experience I have. Being my first major music festival I don't have any comparisons to fall back on either.

I'm 19 and came down from Brisbane with my girlfriend for our first Bluesfest and really loved it. We camped at the grounds and after arriving at midday on Thursday we ended up down in the very wet end of the grounds near the artist's carpark (which provided some excitment in seeing a few familiar faces like JB and Dallas Frasca hanging around or driving past).

Firstly the weather. Rain was to be expected and when there is rain in a field like Belongil with so many trampling feet your going to get mud its inevitable. Same as happens on a sporting ground. I've read several posts suggesting that gravel or woodchips etc. should have been laid. There is only so much water the ground can take at once so its going to pool no matter what material is there. The festival grounds are a large area so we are talking A LOT of material and A LOT of trucks and plant to transport and distribute that material. This just generates more traffic on the already heavily congested main road not to mention that driving trucks and machines around on the damp ground is only going to accelerate the process of creating mud. Also not forgetting the safety hazard when you have however many thousands of people in the area every day. My understanding is also that they don't own the fields so going around building and dumping stuff willy nilly is not possible. I say just release the inner child and have a bit of fun in the mud, tape your thongs to your feet like I saw some guys doing or put on the gumboots or just go barefoot (its what I did and I know it wasn't sensible but I didnt encounter any problems and preferred that to flicking mud everywhere with my thongs and losing them with every step!).

A little rain never hurt anyone right? Our tent leaked and soaked half our bed on Monday night but by then we were dripping wet ourselves and too muddy to care much! Most of the artists I met also agreed that the mud just adds to the fun of the whole festival.

Now the issue of drunk young people. I go clubbing and drink more than I should on the weekends but I was at Bluesfest for the music and drank next to nothing the whole time. Yes there are people who go to just to get drunk and yes there are underage kids getting trashed and yes I also had problmes with these underagers, especially down the front for JBT and preceeding acts; a group of 15yr olds were openly smoking, drinking straight out of a large glass bottle of Smirnoff (makes you wonder what they are checking for in peoples bags at the gates!), and too busy making out with each other. Presubaly these kids are mostly local and just finding somewhere to party on the Easter weekend. Still you can't discriminate by age by 'sending them all to BDO' or Splendour as people have said because some of us actually really enjoy the type of music at Bluesfest. Also I'm glad FINLEYM pointed out that a lot of the drunk people are actually adults so just be careful with stereotyping us because a small portion have given us a bad name.

Like I said before I haven't been to any major music festivals before but I do see a lot of live music and the sound quality for some acts did leave a lot to be desired. I'm not sure of the affect the open air venues have but still...

Chairs and issues with the crowd mainly at the front of Mojo. People setting up camp on chairs right in the middle of the tents really ticked me off. The worst of it was in Jambalaya where people coming into the tent just got bottle-necked. I understand the need to sit down (we are young fit and healthy and we were extremely tired and sore by Monday) but really...parking your chair in the middle is like parking a chair in the middle of a fottball pitch, they below on the sidelines. If the tent isn't very full, fine, but trying to see Luka Bloom on Saturday was just ridiculous. The other related issue I had was with a couple who we were next to right at the very front of Franti Friday night. They were up there with their daughter but proceeded to get rather annoyed with everyone around them when we started jumping and dancing, even having a go at the people behind when a push came from a long way back. When your up there with a lot of people your balnace pretty much relies on leaning on everyone else, if they go forwards you go forwards if they go left you go left. If you don't like that dont go to the very front its pretty simple. Also I read a complaint about tall people being at the front. I'm not tall myself but hey they just wanna see the music as well like the rest of us. If you dislike tall peope at the front have a listen to the Tripod song about it, bit of humor might change your mind.

Basically I loved every minute of the festival and will be back next year I'm sure and will most likely go earlybird tickets again because there is always good music at Bluesfest. It's just the actions of some people that spoil it for others. And for those who criticise Mr Noble, I wonder how many of you could actually organise an event as big as this let alone do a better job?

So if you've made it to the end of you'll realise I'm not very concise at all but hey...feel free to respond as you will...I like a good discussion.

Cheers,
Jarryd

P.S. Did anyone else really enjoy those bacon & rolls with cheese from the little canteen thing out the front? Oh and don't get me started on the Portuguese or Yemen food near Mojo...
swoody72
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 9:10:25 AM
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This is the first year since 1990 that I have stayed well clear of Mojo (or its equivalent) for the majority of the festival. Am I getting old, or is the Mojo lineup getting more commercial? Having said that, I don't want to be a complete downer - I still had a hot time. My mates and I are discussing the possibility of putting on a Bluesfest Fringe - watch out Peter!
waffles
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 9:22:53 AM
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jarryd,some very valid points made. you show maturity beyond your 19 years.be great to see you come back.
hint-register as a member to receive the earlybird email offer. see you next year.

I don't want to hang up my rock n roll shoes
I get a good time feeling every time I hear those blues.
ianarrighi
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 12:13:09 PM
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Ok Peter this is my 6th or 7th Bluesfest and the first time I feel compelled to provide some robust feedback. I know some of this has been addressed already so won't go into details on those but just want to add my support for some change.

1. Pre-paid parking. This was a bit of a nightmare. I like many others did not realise the prescribed parking was for pre-paid punters only. I did not see any notification to this requirement. It certainly made for a traffic jam at the intersection turning into the parking as greater than 50% of parkers had to turn around and find their way straight back out. I found the poor folks on the parking gate pretty exasperated and they were very helpful to me with suggestions for alternate parking. I did unfortunately also see them cop quite a bit of abuse from a number of other potential parkers who found themselves in the same predicament as myself.

2. Chairs. Mainly a problem I found in Jambalaya but they were everywhere. I reckon once the music starts all chairs need to be folded and all folks need to be standing. It did create quite a bit of tension amongst punters at times with some of the major acts. It is especially annoying when many of the chairs remained empty.

3. Acoustics. This year was by far the worst acoustics I have encountered at a BF. I know you only plan to be back at Belongil for one year but I hope that the 1st year at Tyagarah is not going to be as bad.

4. Sound mixing. I am going to give this a seperate topic as it deserves it. I encountered very poor sound mixing on a number of different acts. It tended to get better towards the end and was certainly fine for some like JBT. However, the sound mix for ben Harper on Saturday night was disgraceful. I was about 50m from the front and on the artist's right hand side and there was virtually no vocal microphone at all. All you could hear was drums and guitar. The only sound of Ben's voice I could barely hear was directly from the stage. Heaps of people left in disgust. Most people around me resorted to just talking loudly amongst themselves. A few people tried to get Ben's attention to let him know but it was futile. How can you not know this was happening?? I lasted about 1 hour before leaving in disgust as well. The music was destroyed. If I could have found an official BF person at the time I would have let loose at them and was not impressed that this could happen with a headline act.

6. Noise interference from other tents. Worst at Jambalya due to loudness of Apra but still evident at crossroads during quieter sets. Perhaps some reprogramming of the schedule could avoid some of this.

7. Annoying/Drunk folks. This is not new this year. It really is only a few spoiling it for the rest and whilst they are "younger" people I reckon most of them were in fact adults. Irrespective of their age I think this should be better controlled.

8. Security. I really think you need a lot more security folks. Particularly in the tents to curb some of the anti-social behaviour. I saw a couple of minor fights and many incidents that were very close to becoming a fight. This will escalate if punters believe there is no real security and it is left up to them to resolve. I would love to see security folks inside the tents getting rid of the large cameras, making smokers move outside, removing chairs during concerts, and ejecting folks trying to ruin it for others. These issues have been progressively building up over the years and need attention by the organisers before the situation gets any further out of control and someone innocent gets injured.


As usual the music selection was great, the weather is not of your control and does not really matter. Mud did not bother me but the smell of raw sewerage at times was a bit much. Thanks for a great festival and see you next time.


finleym
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 7:51:41 PM

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Added to my earlier rant is the smoking issue. If the tents are sign-posted as non smoking then can security please make sure it is enforced. For me it was worse than drunks and particularly annoying as it is sign posted everywhere but routinely ignored.

Trumpet bells ringing
Bass drum is swinging
As the trombone groans
And the big horn moans
colinsid
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 8:41:17 PM
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I was annoyed by teh change of schedule between Tony Joe White & Ruthie Forster on Monday night. TJW set cut short so they could insert Gracie Woodruff in who played a short set & took 3 songs to find her voice. There was no pre announcement of this so we did no know what was happening. Then Ruthie on 1/2 hour later than scheduled (she had her voice from the first note.) This meant I missed Special Beat which I thought I would see the last 1/2 of their gig after Ruthie.
phelan1973
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 9:12:14 PM
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finleym wrote:
Added to my earlier rant is the smoking issue. If the tents are sign-posted as non smoking then can security please make sure it is enforced. For me it was worse than drunks and particularly annoying as it is sign posted everywhere but routinely ignored.


Yeah, the smoking ticked me off too. I'm very sensitive to cigarette smoke... it makes my eyes swell, burn and water.
madrag
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 9:19:58 PM
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Just want to add a vote for a few of the issues raised:

Music - some old favourites and a few new ones.

Young ones - leave them alone. The bad behaviour was NOT age related. Loads of great people of all ages to talk and dance with to great music. Idiots will be idiots regardless of age. Saw plenty of the not-so-young being dickheads.

Lighting - needs to improve around all crossover areas and access points. Sliding around in dark slime isn't much fun!

Drunks and the drug trashed - regardless of age, they are irritating and need to be removed so the rest of us get a chance to actually see/hear acts we came (and paid) to see rather than being trodden on etc. Had one trashed couple push in beside me during Toni Childs, dump all the run off from their rain gear on me (they didn't look) and then proceed to chomp on each others necks and yell at each other for most of her set. ( Would it be illegal to exterminate these pests????) One amusing moment for me was watching a few would-be trashed people trying to retrieve their whole bag of 'party pills' from where they had fallen in the running, muddy slosh on the walkway between Crossroads and Jambalaya. Smiles but no offers of help from the passers by.

Chairs - very annoying, thoughtless and selfish when left in the middle of tents, however most people clearly want somewhere to sit at times (especially for the earlier in the day acts when tents are not too crowded). Loads of people of ALL ages taking the plastic chairs from the food courts into the tents. Clearly people want something to sit on - 12 hours standing makes a long day. Why not have designated chair areas to the rear and the side of all tents and bring back some stand seating? Why did the stands end up both sides of Jambalaya and nowhere else? Why not some in all tents? Lots of people of all ages in all tents and wanting to sit at times - out of the way a bit towards the back and to the side allows room for people to get into a 'mosh pit' and to dance if they want. Very fond memories of seating at Red Devil in both Mojo and Crosswords. And yes - I have eclectic tastes in music and - unlike many posters - enjoy sampling a wide variety of music at festivals so I do spend time visiting all tents and I often find myself dancing along with others of all ages. Have regularly seen all ages - the very young to the very old - in all tents and enjoying chatting to each other and getting into great music. Don't think this is an age thing. When there was more stand type seating, chairs were rarer. They seem to have become more plague proportions since the removal of the seating. Is there a message here for the organisers???

Wet weather contingency planning - It's Byron. It's around April. This is consistently the rainiest part of the year in Byron. Why the apparent lack of planning? Most of us can tolerate getting a bit wet but the extent of the trudge through ankle deep mud/ooze and slime this year meant a lot of people bailed early and missed acts they had wanted to see because the thought of another mud run in the dark defeated the desire to see some acts. Surely some kind of makeshift pathway - e.g. planks - could have been put in - it wasn't as if the extent of the rain was any surprise given that it had been flooding up on the coast for weeks before. Have never seen so many people with wrists and ankles bandaged. Heard loads of people saying this will be their last Bluesfest because of the site conditions. Seems very disrespectful of people, who shell out a fair bit of money each year for tickets/fares and accommodation, to be treated to a filthy oozing venue with nowhere to sit or walk to stay relatively dry and very poor lighting on access points.

Timetabes - agree re the insertion of that woman between TJW and Ruthie being very annoying. If we had wanted to see her at all, we would have made the trudge when she was actually scheduled.

Smoking - why advertise no smoking in tents and then not follow up. Felt free to cough all over anyone who blew smoke on me - think it is only fair that if they feel free to blow smoke all over me I should be free to cough all over them.

Next year - Not for me. May return - to get to 10 years - if planning improves. Otherwise - off to New Orleans
suave
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 10:54:39 PM
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If I couldn't take my chair I wouldn't be able to go to the Blues Fest which I so look forward to each year. I am 65 and have a disability and have to sit down. At Woodford white plastic chairs are put out which take up less space than some camping chairs. Volunteers in each tent look after the space and adequate bins are provided for rubbish. There's certainly no smoking in the tents and sound engineers there would be sent packing if they smoked inside the tent or around the gear. I agree chairs should only be allowed at the back or sides of the tent...but if we start being prescriptive perhaps drinking alchol should only be in certain areas and smoking in others.
We can make hundreds of rules but who is going to police them? This festival has always been for all age groups to enjoy and long may it remain so.
PS the only trouble I had from intoxicated youths was one wanted to date me (ha! ha!) and another wanted a cuddle...all good fun truly!
dtucker
Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 11:43:33 PM
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Maybe it was because I only ventured into the Mojo early in the day to see Resin Dogs, Tom Freund and Tinariwen but I thought smoking in tents was much less of a problem than in previous years when it was really annoying. I was very grateful to many smokers who were standing outside in the rain to have a smoke. My other pet hate, people who think that leaving a spot up the front to get a beer automatically entitles them to push their way back up to the front thirty minutes later because they have a friend up there waiting for a beer, also seem much less prevalent this year.
In fact, considering the strain on everyone caused by the weather I thought the usual bluesfest goodvibes were still prevalent. Maybe I was just lucky or didn't have my eyes open. My only annoyance was a couple who forced their way into the front rows half way through Lucinda's first set but even then you can't stay mad for long when Lucinda is playing.

I think calls to go back to Red Devil Park are misplaced. The crowds there were oppressive with very little space to escape them, even if you were prepared to go as far as possible from the tents, whereas at Belongil last year there were many areas to get away from the crowd and stretch out on a patch of grass. That wasn't possible this year of course because of the weather but I can't imagine how Red Devil would have been any better. I remember it being pretty muddy sometimes too. More (a lot more) undercover seating would help to make Belongil more comfortable in the wet as well.

I also think that complaints about the Mojo and its crowds forget that these people help meet the costs of all the artists but by keeping to that area leave space in all the other tents for the rest of us. Take away the acts that attract them and we won't be getting the acts like Lucinda that headlined in the other tents.

All in all, although I have a few gripes about this year all, except the sound bleed from APRA and the fact that Lucinda wasn't perfect like I hoped she would be, were based on the weather and pretty much out of anyone's control. The great moments, some of which I have listed and many more I haven't, outweigh any of the downs and I'll certainly be back for more, rain hail or shine.

In the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy the comments on the forum. I love it how many people had different favourites and only wish that I could have seen every act. I hope that we will see lots of video footage of this years festival over the coming year.

cheers to all,

d



arbee0
Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2009 9:45:06 AM
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colinsid wrote:
I was annoyed by teh change of schedule between Tony Joe White & Ruthie Forster on Monday night. TJW set cut short so they could insert Gracie Woodruff in who played a short set & took 3 songs to find her voice. There was no pre announcement of this so we did no know what was happening. Then Ruthie on 1/2 hour later than scheduled (she had her voice from the first note.) This meant I missed Special Beat which I thought I would see the last 1/2 of their gig after Ruthie.

Ditto for me on all counts
But I thought Ruthie had lost the top end of her range - and she certainly wasn't sustaining the big notes as she had the day (and the year) before.
It even crossed my mind, trying to find an excuse for the abysmal unsceduled inclusion (sorry Gracie, nothing personal, but I lasted about 15 seconds before having to dash for the sanctuary of Apra) that it may have been to allow Ruthie time for treatment

But she was wonderful as always and I'd crawl across broken glass to see her regardless of how much or how little voice she had
ScottM
Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2009 10:35:52 AM
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Posts: 862
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Location: Down Home
arbee0 wrote:
It even crossed my mind, trying to find an excuse for the abysmal unsceduled inclusion (sorry Gracie, nothing personal, but I lasted about 15 seconds before having to dash for the sanctuary of Apra) that it may have been to allow Ruthie time for treatment

But she was wonderful as always and I'd crawl across broken glass to see her regardless of how much or how little voice she had


I thought that perhaps it was an issue with Toni Childs, whose voice was about to pack it in, being that it was the last of a 33 date Australian tour. I agree that Grace was highly over rated (someone should tell her that Cat Power does it much much better these days), and I wouldn't have minded an abbreviated set from Ms Childs, given that I only stayed in order to avoid the torrential rain and to hold my spot for DBT's (though that proved to be a redundant action on my part). In any case, very very strange, and I couldn't work out why it was done.
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