I spent the Easter long weekend with my family who had flown from different parts of Australia and NZ for a holiday on the iconic Gold Coast and the Blues and roots festival held in Byron Bay. It’s not very often our whole family all get together, with my sister and her other half living in no mans land 14 hours north of Perth, my little bro and his girlfriend at University in Christchurch and parents running a business in the small coastal town of Westport, NZ. Spending Christmas separated made us take action and plan 2 weeks together over Easter.
The blend of artists at Bluesfest make it a perfect fit for a family affair; from contemporary to classic, young and old, local and international all with a relaxing chilled out vibe that lasts well into the night. Xavier Rudd stole all of our hearts due to his performance with the United Nations…Flag was a song that completely united the crowd, gave me goosebumps and was that special moment when nothing else matters apart from the people beside you with their hands in the air and the glorious music soothing your soul. We continued to play Flag at every opportunity for the rest of the trip and it will forever bring up warm fuzzy memories of that moment in time.
Fly My Pretties was another act that blew me away. Seeing Mel Parsons; an artist from my hometown sing on stage with one of, if not NZ’s best collective of musicians was a delight to the senses. The group is headed up by Barnaby Weir, the former front man of the Black Seeds who were monumental in starting my love affair with dub and roots music. Ben Harper closed the night in ridiculously good form reuniting with the Innocent Criminals after 7 years apart. With arms covered in NZ tribal tats due to loving the country so much, a swag that never seems to age and the ability to play every kind of instrument it’s no wonder he steals kisses from fans the world over. No pun intended. The amount of fashion and food stalls was insane; we tried everything from sweet potatoe on a stick to organic doughnuts, popcorn, chai lattes, and sugar coated almonds.
For the rest of the ten days we spent a lot of time at the beach due to dad loving the size of the shoreys and attempting to bodysurf them, disappearing and popping up in ankle deep water, while the rest of us tried to teach Hannah to be graceful in the water; as face first dives were not uncommon. We pretty much ate out at every Mexican Cantina we could find trying every single taco on the menu and found the best acai bowl on the Gold Coast. I showed the fam the rest of the Byron and it’s hinterland including the majestic Crystal Castle, and we finished off my sisters birthday with sunset sessions serenaded by Bobby Alu at Brunswick Heads. Mama bear also wanted to have some “fun” which consisted of Putt Putt (mini-golf) followed by Ashley’s favourite; Pancakes. Needless to say the boys got way too many hole in ones, and we ate way too many pancakes.
With full bellies and happy hearts (amidst the goodbye tears) there are now mountains of memories and plans to meet again in another part of the world next year.