Musical Opposites Attract

Posted: July 14, 2011 in Fav Stuff, Funny Stuff
Tags: , , ,

Bluesfest 2011

It has always been my dream to go to the holy grail of all festivals:  GLASTONBURY.  I missed out on tickets yet again this year. I vowed to check out the competition instead.  I went to Bluesfest in Australia and Sonar in Spain.  Two very different musical experiences.  Bluesfest is a 5 day blues marathon held in Byron Bay, the hippie part of Australia.  Sonar is a 3 day electronic music event in Barcelona featuring d.j’s from all over the world.

Me and Scott enjoying our 1st beverage

I heard about Bluesfest when I was travelling in Thailand.  I met an Aussie guy Scott who told me it was not to be missed.  I managed to get a two day ticket.  I extended my stay in Australia to make the festival.  When I got to Byron Bay, I soon found out there was no accommodation ANYWHERE.  I tried everywhere.  The campsites were mostly full.  I figured I could hire a campervan and park up.  I found a campsite:  Belongil Fields that was willing to take me and my WICKED campervan.  Sorted.  I just needed to get the van.  I had booked it online and needed to pick it up from the local garage.  Only 5 mins from the campsite.  No problem.  I figured I could make that.  I had just passed my test a few months back and hadn’t driven in a while.  I had never driven a van before.  No problem.  I was immediately nervous.

I went to pick up the van.  Immediately, there was a problem.  Garage guy wanted to see my credit card.  My card was in transit.  Old card had got scammed in Thailand.  New card was flying over to meet me and we kept missing each other.  I had the new number.  I had been winging it ever since.  This was not gonna cut it.  I decided to work some Irish charm on him: beg, plead and offer to buy him a drink.  He smiled and said he would take 500AUD  in cash as a deposit.  I took out my daily limit.  I gave him the cash and he gave me a piece of paper that said something to the effect:  If you crash and mess up this van, we will pay the bare minimum and you will have to cough up the rest…  I signed and he showed me to the van.

Wicked Campervan

It was pink and said Surfin’ Steven on the side.   It was old and rusty with no power steering or air con inside.  He told me to fill her up.  My palms got sweaty.  There was pink everywhere.  I couldn’t find the petrol tank door… At that moment, I felt like every cliché said about women drivers.  Stupid.  I had to own up.  He offered to reverse the van for me and showed me how to fill her up.  I was now on my own.  As I spluttered and chugged my way out onto the main road, I could see the guys in the garage shop laughing at me.  I was defiant.  I didn’t care.  I was determined to make it the 5mins down the road to the campsite.  I was not going to miss this festival.  I was motoring along in 1st gear when I realised the gear stick had no numbers on it.  They had worn off… I guessed my way up through the gears.  Even worse, I couldn’t find 5th gear.  I made it to the campsite with a mask of “I know what I am doing” and “You may laugh but I am in fact driving an old van here”…

I parked up and soon realised I had nothing in the van.  I could not get cash till tomorrow and had no food, torch, sleeping bag or blanket.  It soon got dark and cold.  I noticed the irony of the statement on the back of the van.  I put on all my clothes and put my head down to try and get some sleep before the festival the next day.  I was starting to think that this festival better be worth it…

The Lovely Aussie Boys

I wasn’t Girl Scout prepared but I got what I needed the next day.  I met some lovely aussie boys who were camping next to me. They helped me find 5th gear on the van and checked the oil and mirrors for me.  More importantly, I had Wellies.  I met Scott inside and he showed me the ropes.  Well, he showed me where the bar was and his itinerary.  You had to queue to buy a drink ticket and then queue again to get said drink with bought drink ticket.  Feckin pain in the arse…  Once sorted, off we went to check out the list.  I had expected it to be an older crowd but there was a mix of young and old and families.  The happy vibes were infectious.  The first day just blew me away.  The highlight for me was ZZ Top.  They are old school veterans who got the crowd riled up and pumped.

Mojo Bluesmen

On the second day, I met Scott again and managed to smuggle in some wine for him in my wellies.  He had run dry and was happy to see me.  We went to see Mojo Bluesmen together.  They are talented buskers who are making it big on and off the streets.  They were lively and lyrically entertaining.  I went to see Bob Dylan with one of the lovely Aussie boys I met.  I had heard he was hit or miss.  He was definitely a hit that night.  He was the highlight for me and the song “Blowin in the Wind” stood out for me.  After the gig, some of the boys went mud-sliding.  I was left holding the wallets, phones etc.. It was hilarious.  My only regret is that I forgot my camera.  Next time, I’m gonna get someone to video it and dive right in… It was definitely worth it…

          Bob (Not Bov) Dylan:  Gonna Change My Way of Thinking

Sonar By Day

I went to see Sonar in Barcelona next.  My mate Val flew over from Dubai to go with me.  There was Sonar by Day and Sonar by Night.  Sonar by Day seemed like a more relaxed affair with the odd mentalist dancing with a toy Unicorn thrown in.  Sonar by Night was in an old aircraft Hanger on the outskirts of town and went on to the early wee hours.

Unicorn Spotting...

Sonar by Day was fun and chilled.  Sonar by night was not without incident.  When we got there, two burly security men told us in broken English that Val had been given the wrong ticket.  They told us to go to the box office to sort it out.  It took over an hour to sort out.  Val kept telling me to calm down.  I couldn’t believe how incompetent they were.  Thank god Val had the credit card receipt as proof.  We got the go ahead to go through again.  The security then wouldn’t let me in.  They said I had already been through or scanned or whatever… No Joke.

Sonar By Night

It was mission impossible to get into Sonar by Night.  I tried to keep my cool and explained the situation.  We finally got in.  It took us a while to get our mojo back.  We finally got our dancing shoes on to Underworlds “Born Slippy”.  My feet were killing me at the end of it but it was well worth it.  If a competition were to exist, Bluesfest would come out on top for me and I will get to Glastonbury to find out if it really is number one.

Underworld play Born Slippy at Sonar 2011

Fav Bluesfest Highlights 2010

  1. Scott says:

    By the way that wasnt my first beverage for the day

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