Bluesfest 2016 – A Little Ray of Sunshine

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“Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.”
~ Langston Hughes, The Collected Poems


This Easter I’m spending some time with Ben and our friends at Byron Bay’s Bluesfest.

Bluesfest is one of my favourite music festivals. The atmosphere is always so friendly, it’s full of music lovers, and there is a delicious diversity of new bands and musicians to discover.

Here are a couple of my favourite acts so far:

St Paul and the Broken Bones


Elle King


Blind Boy Paxton



Plus you can buy vinyl records, and enjoy Chai and Byron Bay Organic Donuts and lovely food from my friends at Doma Cafe, among other delights.

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Maybe I’ll see you here next year?

Lots of love, Nicole xx

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Rain, Mud, Blues and Gumboot Dancing!

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”
~ Hunter S. Thompson


It just hasn’t stopped raining here at Bluesfest, but with our trusty gumboots on we are still whooping it up and having plenty of fun. I’d forgotten how freeing it is to be muddy and soggy and dancing in the rain. Plus there is fantastic chai, lots of good eats, and plenty of spots to get under cover for a while. And we get to come home to a warm house, hot showers, clean sheets and two dogs who give us a joyous welcome each night.

Here are some of our musical finds of Bluesfest 2015:

Pokey Lafarge sings the La La Blues. I love these guys – they sound like something straight from the old-school deep south. Makes you want to chew on a stalk of grass and get those feet stompin’.


Melbourne Ska Orchestra have a  big feel-good sound, as you’d expect from a 26 piece band. These are the guys who used to crowd the aisles of school buses with their trumpet and trombone cases, and who were maybe not the coolest kids in school. Hey – look at them now. Musos rule! But you knew that. If you read my blog you were probably one of those kinds of kids too. I know I was. 🙂 The other great thing about these guys is their vocal support of the charity The Thin Green Line, assisting International Park Rangers as they protect endangered species and ecosystems, and giving aid to the families of those rangers who are killed in the line of duty. During MSO’s set buckets were passed around to collect donations for this charity, raising over $3000 to buy mosquito nets for rangers and their families.


Counting Crows are a band from my youth, and their music is still as resonantly beautiful as ever. Ballads that touch your heart, make you smile, cry and everything in between.


Last, but not least, Diesel N’ Dub is a collaboration that features Australian and international reggae and roots artists performing covers of Midnight Oil songs – songs with political and socially conscious messages. This is a project dear to my heart, supporting and raising money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and bringing a focus to issues that need awareness and consideration within our community. And the music? Fantastic!


I’d forgotten how much music means to me, and I am grateful for a weekend filled with music that fuels my soul. <3


Image from

Image from


Singing the Blues while baking Easter Treats!


“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” ~ Billy Joel

Just one more sleep and it will be here. Bluesfest! The music festival in my own home town that showcases the best of Blues and Roots.

We’ve got five day tickets, and our gumboots are lined up at the back door, ready for all kinds of weather.

I’m not sure just how much dancing there will be for me this year. I’ll just be happy to be out, soaking up the atmosphere, listening to music, catching up with friends and getting a soul injection of the most wonderful kinds of creative expression.

Ben has his best outfit picked out…

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And I’m already dreaming about chai and Byron Bay Organic Donuts.

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I’m not quite sure how much time or energy I’ll have left over for posting in the next few days, but I’ll do my best.

In the meantime, here are some yummy Easter Treats for you to make. Just click the links to follow to the recipe:

Best Coconut Ice Recipe

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Delicious Marshmallows

toasted-coconut-marshmallows (1)Five Minute Fudge

fudge (1)Cherry Ripe Slice

choc-cherry-slice (1)



Byron Bay Bluesfest – An Easter Tradition

“If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: 
― Kurt Vonnegut

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” 
― Bob Marley

Sorry, I’m late posting today.  Big night out for me last night, and there are a few more to come! I have a crowded house, and a fantastic Easter filled with live music, groovin’ and living life loud. Why? Bluesfest, of course!

I first discovered blues when the movie The Blues Brothers came out.  I was twelve years old, and the soundtrack was a revelation.

I was already in love with jazz thanks to a great teacher at my primary school, so Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Dizzie Gillespie and Duke Ellington were my heroes. Within a short period of time I was listening to some of the blues greats; Bessie Smith, Ray Charles, James Brown, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters.

There was something about blues music that spoke to my soul.

So one of my greatest delights is that we have a world class music festival, Byron Bay Bluesfest, right on my doorstep every Easter.

Cigarbox Guitar impromptu jam - Bluesfest 2012

It’s become a ritual for us..  Music-loving friends arrive on our doorstep to stay for a few days, beds are hastily added to every corner of our small house, and the fridge and pantry groan with extra food and grog. We spend our first dinner together debating the various tents and acts, playing excerpts from the Bluesfest website or our own music collections, and marking up our programs.

A mate who drives the booze bus for the local bowlo (Lawn Bowls Club) acts as our chariot each day, dropping us off and picking us up. So we share rowdy breakfasts together over music at home, or at one of the local cafes in Bangalow, and then head off to Bluesfest for an afternoon and evening of music, dancing, festival food and fun.

Every day there are new musical delights. They fuel the music-filled conversations we’ll have over the next few days.

One of my new favourites? Seth Lakeman. That’s him in the video below. He had us all dancing before the end of the first song, and we danced til the last!


Come Monday we are always wrecked, but in the best of ways.

Each year there are new discoveries. Each year there are some of our old favourites. And each year we laugh, dance and celebrate all that is good about music and friendship.

Last night I also danced my little feet off to the sensational Earth, Wind and Fire who opened with this crowd pleasing classic.  And I have to say they were even BETTER than their original version.


Rock me, Baby, until I want no more…