The first day is a blur, I'm travelling in full festival mode. My partner ushers me to the bar, I don’t object. It’s raining and before too long I’m watching Norah Jones perform ‘Don’t Know Why’. It’s good. She plays ‘Come Away With Me’ too. Then there’s Hozier. As he’s singing his suffering out on stage, it strikes me that as the kind of guy who’s just really into his music. He doesn’t miss a trick and the band saves ‘Take Me To Church’ ‘til last.
The biggest draw tonight though is Iggy Pop. James Jewel Osterberg once described himself as, 'the fucked up godfather of nihilistic horseshit.' My partner would instead describe him like this: ‘a big leather handbag’. And it’s true, Ig is getting on in his years but he still lives up to the reputation. Rough, tough and rock ‘n’ roll, a walking casualty but one that never hit the ground, rock’s dark passenger.
If you scroll back far enough on Tash Sultana’s Instagram feed, back to 2014 you might see someone a little different to the glowing figure on stage. Things happened fast for her and I get the impression that she’s someone still coming terms with her fame. But her talent speaks for itself. Her musicianship is something else. Blues Festival has always been kind to its buskers tonight this ex-busker is headlining. The crowd is enraptured, the vibration mellow. There’s a couple of thousand people here but instead of jostling or jumping or shaking their bodies they are all jamming along to her music in their own heads. People are just here to listen to her music. It’s not in her stage banter or an image, it's her sound that draws them here. She’s expressive, a conduit for raw emotion. It’s powerful stuff but the smell of a dozen food stalls curls around my nostrils and before too long I’m finding comfort in a thick slice of pizza, the riffs of ‘Jungle’ echoing around my head.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Photo Credit: Stuart Anderson