Byron Bay Bluesfest Roadtrip

Come on a little journey with us to northern NSW. We went to Bluesfest – an amazing blues and roots musical festival, visited friends in the mountains, swam in a hidden away waterhole, visited beaches, joined the protectors at the Bentley Blockade and more.

These photos are just a little record of our trip. I was not focussed on photographing and just picked up my camera from time to time but rather this was time away with my family. They are shot on a mixture of my Iphone, my Fuji X100 and some on my Canon 5dmkIII. (I only took the x100 into the music festival)

Bluesfest Byron Bay, I’d always wanted to go and with Jaiman being 14 and a still child ticket (much cheaper than an adult’s ticket), it was the right time to go. The added bonus was that his whole motivation to get into music was John Mayer and he was playing at the festival alongside many other of our favourites. Jaiman and I were really excited when Jamile and her boyfriend Tom wanted to come too. We had a great trip away.
Our first night was an overnight stop at my dad’s – we didn’t get there until late that night sadly due to my work and car problems back in Shepparton. (I was so very grateful that my mechanic made a house call to get us on the road after replacing our battery, thank you Chris from C & M Automotives)

And we are off from dad’s farm …..

something to leave with dad

This road, this spot leads to lots of special places to me and holds many special memories. As I drove down this road as I have done many times during my life I smiled and thought about what I love about it. Today my dear dad lives up the road further behind. I pass a laneway called Weatherstone Lane (named after my grandmothers’ family), a road that use to lead to where my grandmother (one of 13 children) and her family were born and grew up and my great uncle Wilbur & Aunty Muriel lived to a very old age. I loved to visit them and sit by the wood fired oven or walk in the garden to see the what veggies were growing or to pick a rose. Sadly that house was pulled down not that long ago and I just can’t drive up that road now. I just can’t bear to not see it there. The road in front of me leads to a house that has had different relatives live there over a long period of time. My grandmother, Mimi use to tell me stories about when it was a store. I find that hard to imagine in such a remote place. I have my own memories of staying in that house of when I was in primary school down for a weekend from Sydney with my cousins, Joanne & Danella and their dad. We had such fun. I had a bright idea to light a fire in the upturned old water tank that had a door cut in it for a little playhouse, Roger saved us after we collapsed inside coughing and spluttering, not really a good idea after all but later that night took us for a drive around the lane ways in our pyjamas shining torches into the trees looking for possums and owls. It was the first time I’d seen them in the wild. I will never forget that day. I remember many years later having cups of tea and biscuits with Bill and Kerry when they owned the little house. I often think of the walks with my mum when she was alive down this road and round a rather large block back past the old schoolhouse where my grandmother and her siblings went to school – I often think about them walking to school and the mischief they might of got up to along the way, or I imagine talking or laughter, running and jumping. I couldn’t believe it when flying to the U.S a few years back this exact spot in a film advert for travel to Australia this exact spot featuring amongst many other places all around Australia. I suppose that must have loved this spot too. And now this little road also leads to the left to a tiny cemetery where my mum’s ashes rest but it feels like home. It has so many other relatives there too. I love to visit there This road is a special place for me. I love to stop at this point and look all around and remember and smile

We didn’t have long at dad’s farm sadly but before we left we popped down the road to visit mum. We love that little cemetery. Sometimes we even have picnics there.

This is not our kombi on the road but of course in Northern NSW they were everywhere. We lost count how many we saw.

We wanted to camp at Bluesfest but didn’t have enough room for the camping gear. The tent motels were fully booked so I booked us into the tipi village. All we had to bring was our sleeping bags. It was so easy and a great experience. I highly recommend it. It was a beautiful community and we even had our own communal lounge with places to chill out or have a cup of freshly made chai.

Just arrived and already ‘lost’ my phone – I was forever looking for my phone when it was right there in my bag

We saw so many amazing performers, some we knew their music well but others we didn’t. It was all amazing and there was something for everyone. These are just a few of our favourites – Edward Sharpe the Magnetic Zeros (totally memorable), John Butler Trio (passion, passion, passion), John Mayer (great musician, great songs), Jack Johnson (who chills us out in a way that only he can do) , Nahko and Medicine for the People (gathering the tribes together and so much passion for mother earth) , Kim Churchill (a multi talented musician – who played 4 instruments at once and sang as well)  and a really fun band called the Beards (who sing all about beards). Each tent was packed out and the energy was great. Sometimes we went close and other times we were happy to sit or stand or dance further back. It didn’t matter where you were it was great, but when you were up front the energy was amazing. Many other favourites I didn’t photograph – these are just a few little snaps. I was there to enjoy the music not to photograph.

Passenger – um what can I say, it was by far my favourite concert that we went to. Passenger is so humble and such an amazing songwriter. I am choking up with tears writing this as I think about how wonderful his music is and the way he presents it with the stories between. So Talented.

Nerrida, Bethany, Jaiman and I had so much fun down the front of the Passenger concert and we even ended up in a crowd photo in the newspaper. The little picture you see close up of us was taken just before the concert started on my iphone – we were really excited to have such a great spot .

Happy feet – After the Michael Franti concert the night before (yes I went to 2 concerts) and this was my feet after a wash

Our fantastic communal lounge in the Tipi village

Yep, I had to do it again, I love getting Henna trees.

Michael Franti and Spearhead – oh my goodness what a party !! I danced and jumped and clapped and waved my arms about and had so much fun. I LOVED the way that Michael literally gets amongst the crowds and entertains. He had thousands of people jumping and partying within minutes. So much fun!! (in Tom’s words – ” Liz were you like a crazed beatle teenage fan at that concert” – yep, I had fun)

We have these polaroids on our wall now – so much fun to reflect on and remember

Time to go and the tipi village begins to be packed away until the next festival. I hope we can come back some day.

After the festival we had drove into Byron Bay and I checked out the beach for a little bit. I had been Byron lots of times before but not the kids. Then we headed to a yummy breakfast a little walk around town. Byron Bay town has changed over the years and is very touristy and busy now so we were happy not to stay there too long.

We took a drum class in Byron Bay with an amazing drummer called Hope Medford. She is from a band that we fell in love with that the festival called Nahko and Medicine for the People from Hawaii. It was so very special to go to her drum class. During the class she shared much information about the history of drumming, the different types of drums, and so much more. We also got to try many different drums during the class. Jaiman really liked the cohurn whilst Jamile and I prefer the djembe

And then back to the beach to pickup Tom who had been for a big walk up the beach, went on a light house tour and shared lots of stories with us of the history of the region.

Our friend Nerrida took us to this waterhole – so private, so peaceful, so refreshing – one of the highlights of our trip

My friend Nerrida loves to take photos too

always fun skipping stones

I cannot believe I got out of the car and got this close to a snake. I am terrified of them normally, but Nerrida told me this one is a python and it would be safe. Tom was really really excited to see this snake. I must say it was pretty, but they still make me feel uneasy.

After our waterhole swim we had lunch at the amazing Harvest Restaurant in Newrybar Village – wow, amazing is understatement with natural produce sourced from the local region and their own 5 acre organic farm. Jaiman said it was the best steak he’d ever had. We all loved our meals.

Then for supper we had this yummy cheese and dried muscatel grapes bought from the Harvest deli next door to the restaurant

This is the beautiful road leading to my friends house

Sunrise – what more can I say

Some see sunrise – some don’t

Even in their broken state it these still have so much charm

Watching and hearing Nerrida and Evan tenderly care for their edible plants with so much passion has inspired to start my own vegie patch again. I tried lemon sorrell for the first time and it was amazing. I have to try growing that down here too.

My friends live in a beautiful place

Lunch (with a lizard) at dear little place called Poinciana Cafe in Mullumbimby.

A place you can swim in the ocean fed inlet or round the corner in the beach – Brunswick Heads – we loved this place very much. Quieter than Byron and so much charm

Nerrida’s house is nestled in these mountains

Sunrise on our last day

Nerrida’s place is very relaxing

Great people that we loved spending time with for a few days, hope to come back and see you again soon

A little treat before heading off

See you soon, we hope. We hadn’t seen Nerrida for over 10 years. Nerrida was Jamile’s first teacher which was at Milbi Steiner School

We took a beautiful drive through the forest toward Nimbin

This was a beautiful community hall we passed along the way

We caught an Anzac Day service and then had lunch at the Rainbow Cafe.

Nimbin Museum

In 1973 the Aquarius Festival was held in Nimbin, NSW.

Nimbin Rocks

Everyone was talking about the Lock the Gate campaign and how much support was needed so we took a trip out to the Benltey Blockade to learn some more and see what action was happening onsite.

We headed home to Victoria with much discussion about the peaceful protest and what it was all about. It was the kids first visit to a protest. We keep regular watches online and in the papers to see what is happening at the Bentley Blockade. Go to this website to read more about Gasfield Free Northern Rivers


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