Day 1. The Bloody Good Food Cafe

Only an Australian catering outfit would call their café Bloody Good. They start at 6am selling Bacon & Egg Rolls for $9, cooked on a bar-be right there in the tent. The smell of searing bacon is drawing in the campers from far and wide this morning. Four years ago they were selling the same thing as well as good coffee and the usual camping supplies like milk and bread.
So far it’s a wet BluesFest with tropical down pours – but the show will go on and the organisers are well prepared for the rain. The camping areas have been earthworked years ago to be curved into channels either side of the rows and even the roads have been raised up to create run-off. Best place to be right now is in the Bloody Good Cafe  – that bacon!
I really like this festival, it sounds a cliché, but everyone is so friendly, people have time to chat and this year I’m going to be more sociable and so far have managed to meet all sorts: old, young, fat, skinny – everyone has a story. One thing I have to say about Australians, they sure know how to do outdoor living in style; their camper vans and fold-out trailer campers (like Top-A-Gee’s) are amazing vehicles – and they’re all pouring into the site right now, hundreds and hundreds of them.
Last night I slept for about 12 hours, it’s the first time I’ve done that for a while. I’m on NZ time which means 8am here is my 6am so I get to the showers before the crowds. It’s the first time I’ve used a one-tap hot shower, and the temperature is set just right – cheers.
It’s actually been four years since I was last here and I pleased to say it’s all more or less all the same, same layout, same atmosphere, even all the stages and facilities are the same, and there’s staff everywhere. I have met a few people who are ‘voli’s, (volunteers), who work a couple of hours a day for a free pass. One person I met is assigned to loading in the road cases back stage – nice, I wouldn’t mind doing that.
I went for a walk around Byron Bay and down to the beach and around the streets. The township seems more prosperous now and I glad to see woman still stroll around the streets in bikini’s and blokes shirtless in board shorts. It’s a beachy kind of town and very warm – I definitely brought too many warm clothes.
There’s so much great stuff to buy, from real shops too, not a mall in sight. I can imagine the locals have banned the development of malls, the Byronshire Council are pretty staunch I hear, no fast food chains are allowed to operate here either – good on them. The music starts at 3pm and later I’ll be seeing Tash Sultana and Leon Bridges. Talking to Mark as he ate his bacon and egg roll, Canned Heat are a must see – ok.
It’s now 12.30pm, the gates to the festival area will open in two hours and I can hear the PA systems cranking up – first with that huge roar of big pink noise they use to check EQ levels, and now the headliners are in there sound-checking. Not all artists do sound checks at a festival because it’s impossible to pre sound check all artists, so, only the ones who demand it, the rest accept the constraints of performing on a festival-stage, and bring in their presets to load into the digital consoles, and the first song is the sound check – that’s so rock ‘n’ roll.

Author: Tony Richards

This is a travel journal for family and friends interested in my stories that I've continued as a general blog now I'm back at home. I chat about design, music, pastries, the people I meet, and new thoughts and ideas – I hope you'll tune in.

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