Once again the Easter rains have played havoc with Bluesfest. But with the grounds now covered with gravel, the mud has been kept to a minimum, at least in the performance area.

Now in its 35th year, the massive music festival draws around 70,000 people to the grounds at Tyagarah with camping for up to 6,500.

Last night (Good Friday) many of those were facing sodden sites as an unexpected deluge dumped down upon them. And many others were bogged in the carpark which quickly turned to black mud as the masses tried to exit the grounds after the last acts finished around 11.30pm.

L.A.B. at Bluesfest
Kiwi powerhouse L.A.B. set the Crossroads stage on fire at Bluesfest 2024

Despite the mayhem, music lovers crammed into the four big tops to hear performers like East Arnhem Land songman Yirrmal, super cool jazz mistress Meshell Ndegeocello, Kiwi powerhouse L.A.B, and global groove outfit Snarky Puppy.

Octogenarian ‘Sex Bomb’ Tom Jones headlines tonight (Saturday) with many besotted fans threatening to throw their knickers at the stage in a tradition that goes back to 1968 when a woman handed him her undies to wipe his brow in New York’s Copacobana supper club.

Velvet Trip
Local First Nations man Zeppelin Hamilton and Clayton Allen from Velvet Trip

Local muso Zeppelin Hamilton and his partner in psychedelic sounds Clayton Allen are performing at Bluesfest for the first time this year with their band Velvet Trip. They were selected to be part of Mushroom Group’s First Nations Pathway Program last year and the pair also recently toured Australia with fellow local superstars Parcels.

Other local acts include The Cruel Sea, who smashed the Bluesfest site’s Greenroom last year with a sell out fundraiser for Knockrow’s Wildlife Hospital. And up and coming funkster Jerome Williams from Banora Point will play 4 shows for artists in the VIP Greenroom and two on the main public stages over the weekend.

All up Bluesfest will host 65 acts over the 5 day Easter fiesta making it Australia’s biggest blues and roots festival. But has it grown too big for its gumboots?

Roadtrip’s Big Nelly was on the ground for the full 5 days and recorded this debrief.