Bluesfest and then some

One of the best things about moving house is getting rid of all the random crap you accrue from nesting for that little bit too long.

Since moving from my family home in Yea six years ago, I’ve packed, sorted and dragged my belongings to seven different locations in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. But it wasn’t until last year, when I settled in Mooroolbark, that I really started to nest. I’ve never been that big on owning lots of stuff and I honestly find it a little claustrophobic, but over the last year I’ve accrued a ridiculous amount of furniture and filled a whole house with enough junk to comfortably sleep seven people, maybe even eleven or twelve at a stretch.

Now that I know I’m moving house and downsizing, I’ve committed myself to a mass exodus of furniture. This afternoon I ran around the house with my camera and photographed all the shit I don’t need. Half an hour later I was sitting in front of my computer, glass of wine in hand, waiting for responses to my add on gumtree. Fast forward another half hour and a little more red wine and I’ve gotten rid of a book case, coffee table, a desk, plates, glasses, cups and a microwave.

It feels gooood.

Last week I promised to add a little filler to my pretty sparse account of my week at Bluesfest in Byron Bay.

Justine and I woke up at the crack of dawn (or possibly before) to make our flight to Brisbane. We hadn’t organised a lift from Brisbane to Byron, but on a whim I had posted an add on gumtree (what’s with me and gumtree?) the previous night seeking a ride share. The next morning I was pleasantly surprised to find that a woman named Anna had replied. We waited till a decent hour to contact Anna, who was more than happy to take us to the festival and who planned to arrive around the same time that we needed to be there.

We met Anna after a quick stop off at Coles and gave her an Easter bunny along with some petrol money for her help. Anna lived with three friends and a baby named Sunny in a two bedroom house. It was one of those nice, slightly dilapidated old Queenslander homes that you just don’t see around Melbourne. The garden was an absolute jungle and all of the doors and windows had been flung open in an effort to get some air circulating on a particularly muggy and humid day.

After hanging around for a little while, we jumped in Anna’s beat up Toyota Camry and woo-hoo’d the minute we hit the road.

For me, Bluesfest is like a good friend you don’t get to see that often. On the drive there I could actually feel myself unwind and relax.

We arrived just in time to set up our tent and start our first volunteer shift. We hit the ground running and after the first shift explored the festival grounds and all the music on offer.

We watched a little of Joan Armatrading, caught some of Rodriguez and spent some time chilling out to Ben Harper but were both so exhausted from the actual trip that an early night became a lot more appealing.

The whole four days we spent at Bluesfest were pretty much the same. Music, volunteering, more music and the occasional proper meal. There were some fantastic acts, such as Ruthie Foster, Soja, Mavis Staples, Allen Toussaint and, of course, the Blind Boys of Alabama.

I can honestly say that I wasn’t disappointed in any of the music I saw and had a ridiculously good time. But after a hell of a lot of rain, perpetual dampness and Justine basically being flooded out of the tent, I was definitely ready to head home.

We couldn’t volunteer on the last day, so we decided to hitch a ride into Byron, spend some time at the beach and then try our luck at hitching a ride to Brisbane. A few cars passed us and when I saw a truck coming I was a little hesitant to stick my thumb out but my desire to catch a lift overrode doubt and the sound of my parents voices screaming ‘no’ in my head.

The truck pulled over and we both piled in. The guy, whose name is Brian, turned out to be a super nice guy who had moved to Australia only four years previous. He was from Iran but identified himself as Persian and spoke of the overt racism he had experienced in Australia. He was very easy going, quick to crack a joke and one of those rare individuals who was happy to do something kind for the sake of being kind.

He drove us into Byron and told us that he would be passing through a few hours later on his way to Brisbane. He was happy to give us a lift the whole way to Brisbane and after swapping details Justine and I made our way down to the beach.

We spent a few hours at the beach, sipping on a coconut, reading magazines and watching a bearded man shout ‘JOIN ME!’ to beach goers as he pulled some pretty awesome dance moves to the beat of whatever was playing on his ipod. Afterward we made our way back to the main street to meet Brian. He picked us up right on time and drove us back to Brisbane. Once we reached the city he asked if we were hungry, I wasn’t about to lie and knew that I probably wouldn’t be having another meal until breakfast the next day. He took us into the city and insisted on buying us kebabs. Unfortunately the dude that made them totally screwed up the order and covered mine in BBQ sauce. Not wanting to be rude, I ate the whole thing and when asked if it was good, I replied ‘yeah…it definitely filled a space’.

I asked Brian where we could catch a train from to get to the airport and he was horrified at the suggestion, this guy is so nice that he insisted on driving us to the airport and even suggested a Persian restaurant that we had to visit in Melbourne.

We arrived back in Melbourne pretty late. On the flight home I was literally surrounded by babies on all sides who all decided to cry simultaneously for the duration of the flight. By the time we landed in Melbourne I was feeling a little traumatised and Justine recounted something I’d said earlier in the trip that went something like ‘I don’t like babies, and babies don’t like me’.

What a crazy week! I also just realised that the whole time I’ve been writing this blog I’ve been saying it out loud as I type..that’s a bit weird…

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