GREAT SOUTHERN BLUES FESTIVAL…Had to cry today

Had to cry todayGREAT SOUTHERN BLUES FESTIVAL…the end of an era.

The world’s first supergroup Blind Faith (Steve Winwood from Traffic, Eric Clapton & Ginger Baker from Cream, Rick Grech from Family) sang a song “Had to Cry Today.”

Fitting for the news I heard the other day.

Neil Mumme the promoter of the Great Southern Blues Festival called us into the Peter Phelps tent for one last goodbye.

After 20 years of the best blues on the planet…GSBF as we know it will be no more.

Kinda fitting our last full gig were the Nasty Boys…Pete Cornelius, Darren Jack and Shannon Bourne…three of the young guns of Aussie Blues that we have followed from youngsters to mega stars…own bands…together for one last blistering hurrah.

Ross Wilson (ex Daddy Cool) closing the festival…”Eagle Rock”…”I’ll Never Smile Again”…”Come Back Again” …if only.

Blind Faith have not played at the festival…but hundreds of other bands have.

What will we do over the October long weekends in future years?

We have been making the pilgrimage from Sydney to the south coast town of Narooma for 16 years…what will we do now?????

Time to relive the bands…the music…camaraderie…good Bluest bluestimes.

Time to say…”Thanks for the memories.”

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We found out about it 17 years ago…staying in a solar house in the forest at Bakers Flat…coming to Moruya for supplies…meeting Texas Dave.

He had a shop that was all things Texas…reminded of him when I saw a t-shirt at the festival…”Sir Texas Dave’s Greatest Concerts Down Under”…last entry on the shirt was 2006…not seen him for years.

Has he also played his last gig?

Texas Dave told about the GSBF…so we headed down to Narooma for number 5.

Can I find a pic to share him by?

Our first gig was walking into a tent and being blown away by a young guy on guitar…his dad on drums…uncle on bass…his “All my Heroes Are Dead” still one of my favourite blues tracks.

The M.C. at the end saying, “How good was that? And he’s only 16.”

The young guy leaning into the microphone, “Only 15 actually.”

That was the first gig of Pete Cornelius and the Devilles at the festival.

16 years later that first gig is the stuff of legends…the CD “Live at Narooma”…back yet Pete Corneliusagain with his own band…and as one of the Nasty Boys…ah the memories.

Gotta love it.

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In the early years we used to camp in tents…some years we brought our camper trailer…one year even on a houseboat.

But in recent years we have been staying at the eco-lodge…$50 deposit each year securing for next year.

That was a good move ’cause we used to have coffee on the shared verandah of a morning and chat to the sleepy heads from the night’s gigs before.

And met a number of great folk that we’d say “Hi” to the next year and the year after that.

And being blues fans they had exuberant yarns and far fetched stories but true…with heaps of good laughs.

GSBF is as much a community as a festival…many of the same faces year after year…all loving the vibe and the brilliant music…and the camaraderie that only love of the blues can do for you.

This year we stayed with Murray Foote the festival’s official photographer & Julie Manley his partner who is one of the world’s premier doll exhibiters.

Jools has an exhibition in The blues...gotta luv itCanberra at the moment before she whips off to another doll convention in USA while Murray heads off to Madagascar, the Falklands & ors on yet another photographic sojourn.

Hope to pick his brains or sidle up next to him in some gigs to pretend I’m his sidekick as we snap away.

Reckon I’ve got some shots you’d be proud of Murray.

I picked up his camera bag…or more accurately tried to lift it…no way I’d be able to shake my bootie if I had to carry all that stuff.

While the gigs were all great, one of the best times was with Jools, Andrew, Debbie, Matt, Manu, Denise & I on our balcony having some wines, beers, nibbles and good times.

And then there was the music.

Coudn’t see all bands on show but did see Muma Janes Blues Band, James Southwell Band, Claude Hay and 19 Twenty on the Friday…The Tommyhawks, Swamp Stompers, Chris Harland Band, Pete Cornelius Band, Swamphouse, Chris Cain (USA), Darren Jack Band, Royal Southern Brotherhood (USA), Chase the Sun, Richard Clapton and Blue Shaddy on the Saturday…Marshall O’Kell, The Backsliders, Gail Page, JJ Grey & MoFro (USA), George I admit it...Had to cry todayPorter & the Runnin’ Pardners (USA), Ross Wilson & The Peaceniks and The Nasty Boys on the Sunday.

Watched the Rugby League Grand Final on the big screen…Brisbane Broncos v Nth Queensland Cowboys…Cowboys score in the corner with 1 second to go to draw level, conversion kick hits the post and out, extra time fumble, field goal, ecstacy, Broncos agony, Cowboys first Grand Final win…gotta see the game we saw to appreciate 90 mins of twists and turns…while George Porter & The Runnin’ Pardners (USA) played beautiful blues metres away.

So it’s not just the music we’ll miss.

It’s also the football, the smiling faces, the rockin’ heads, the bodies moving to the grooves, great friends with shared experiences, reaching those heavenly places that only the blues can take us to.

Always other gigs…can’t live without them…see some of you there.

But Great Southern Blues Festival…end of an era.

Let the pics tell their own story.

I admit it.

Had to cry today.

Relax & Enjoy,

Dancing Dave

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