I spent months counting the days until easter weekend for exactly 92 reasons. Two of which are Paul Simon and Manu Chao. Because the organisers of the Bluesfest kept on throwing big name after big name in my face, I had no choice but to go and dance in Byron for five days straight. Wanda Jackson, Rodriguez, Santana and Fat Freddy's Drop featured heavily on my bucket list. But so did the rest of the line-up. I was completely lost. After a five day extravaganza of blues, funk, soul, nonstop beats and festival frivolities, I could finally sit down and think about what just happened. I felt like I booked a ticket for the fast train to Funkytown and back. Where Mavis Staples, Fred Wesley, Taj Mahal Trio, Joan Armatrading, Saskwatch and Bonnie Raitt made me show them my ultimate dance moves. Sweaty head and muddy feet, but feeling mighty fine. Rodriguez, let's be honest. You didn't even have to sing for me to love you. You are 70 and wearing tight leather pants. Bluesfest was on fire during your concert. Same for Manu Chao. I lost my flipflops and my mind somewhere in the mud, but I didn't need any of them while you rocked the place. I danced so hard my arms and legs went numb, but it was all worth it. Because who ever has seen this man in the flesh before knows: there ain't no party like a Manu Chao party. I have been working as a volunteer on the festival every afternoon, and chopping up fruit and veggies in the morning for the awesome Gourmet Goons. And then there were the left over hours filled with dancemoves and singalong fun. There was definitely not a lot of sleep. Paul Simon played on the very last night. I promise you, Paul, I tried and I tried hard to do a little dance, but my body wouldn't let me. My voice went on her own journey somewhere in between Kitty, Daisy & Lewis and Xavier Rudd. So all I had in store for you was my flowerdress filled with a tired person who could only smile and move her head left and right when you kicked off Diamonds on the soles of her shoes. Paul, you are the one who taught me there must be 50 ways to leave your lover. A life lesson I always forget. And so did you, this time. But I forgive you, because we all make mistakes. Except for The Beards. This Australian band does NOT make mistakes. Because all they do is grow beards and sing songs about beards. They won my heart with lyrics like 'No beard, no good' and 'If your dad doesn't have a beard, you've got two moms'. I fell beard over heels in love with all of them. I met the band and asked if I could touch their beards. For some reason (I blame overtiredness and mindlostness) I didn't use my hands, but my CHIN to touch their beards. So we were all sharing one big beard. It was a bit awkward but overall I would describe the experience as pleasant. That same day I met Angus Stone, the short bearded brother of Julia. I was ready to declare my love to him and meet his family, but the thought of another beard made me dizzy. So I just stared at him from a distance instead. On every festival I laugh and sing until my voice goes missing, I try new dance moves hoping a professional choreographer sees me and pays me lots of money to dance in a music video, I fall in love with at least one musician/random man with facial hair, I drink horrible cheap things even sixteen year olds wouldn't touch like gin&tonic in a can or pink beer, but then act all grown up by eating sophisticated meals like sashimi. And sometimes one artist plays music so deep it hurts my soul and turns my heart into a puddle of tears. That's when people have to throw me their tissues and give me shoulders to lean my head on because when it starts, there is no way I can make it stop. Like a heartbroken wombat I cry my eyes out during each and every song. Because the lyrics are so goddamn beautiful and I feel like they are all about me. This year the award for the weepfest concert goes to the winner of the Bluesfest Busking Competition: Claire Anne Taylor. This lady from Tassie sings like Janis Joplin, smached a big chunk of blues right in my face and made me want to be sat on my mother's knee and rocked to sleep. Mind blowing and heart bleeding.
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