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A huge turnout of festival goers was treated to free world-class live entertainment across 20 diverse stages over four days spectacular day at Blues on Broadbeach 2017 last week.

The event showcased a unique brand of festival – offering access to a wide variety of quality restaurants, accommodation, and all the facilities of the Broadbeach CBD. Patrons enjoyed accommodation ranging from five-star hotels to casual camping grounds, and loads of food options, from Woolworths to six-star restaurants. For music fans, Blues on Broadbeach can be either a five-star festival experience or a relaxed family adventure.   

Story and Gallery Photos by Dave (DOS) O’Sullivan

A funny thing happened to me on Monday, May 2nd ……I woke up ( no, not that ), went downstairs from where I was staying…..and nothing, no sound, no people, no stages, no production…..WTF ? what happened, what did I witness…..well, here goes.

Blues on Broadbeach, in its 16th year of producing a FREE…..yes FREE music festival. The brainchild of the Broadbeach Chamber of Commerce was conceived to fill a gap between school holiday periods when the area is very quiet. The idea was accepted by 98% of businesses approached, and so it began……

Thursday, May 18th:

The day begins with fine weather, defying the grim forecast and first up is Ezra Lee, a Tamworth-born piano man who now resides in Melbourne. At 15 years old he was a member of Johnny Greens Blues Cowboys and now 15 years later he has a clutch of albums out all old school rock and roll, calling out Elvis, Johnny Cash, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis et al…..check him out on Spotify.

Austin Walkin Cane is a delta blues man down to his shorts; hailing from New Orleans he is a world traveller and plies his craft on clever songs and some excellent resonator playing, a real discovery!

The Flaming Mudcats from New Zealand impressed many; fronted by charismatic harp blower Craig Bracken they sold heaps of CD’s after their opening set and will hopefully be back.

And now to one of the most welcome and for sure a festival highlight….The Turner Brown Band. Backsliders founder Dom Turner travelled to Toledo, Ohio to record with sacred steel player Nikki D. Brown and her sisters and cousin who from her church based back home. None of these ladies had ever left Ohio! After 16 hours travel, they were ready and delivered a love filled set, the first of four they would play over the weekend.

Slim Jim Phantom Trio (Photo: Blues On Broadbeach)

The Jacky Howlers set the early evening vibe before a stellar performance by the Ray Beadle Band…..looks good for the weekend!

Friday, May 19th:

Bloody rain…..the bain of any good music festival! But we must press on and first up were Adam West and the Custodians who were and are bloody sensational! A complete melting pot of New Orleans, Chicago, Soul, Funk, Jazz and some obscure Stevie Wonder covers thrown in…..again, listen to their live album on Spotify. A lot of shows were cut short, moved or rescheduled, another regular Mojo Webb delivered the goods as only he can and was followed by a great set from veteran Phil Manning flying solo from Chain. Phil is like a fine French wine….he just get’s better with age! Ward’s Express saw me out for the night…..always solid with Al Britton on bass and Tony Boyd on drums and of course RW on guitar and vocals.Ray Beadle and Kevin Borich snuck indoors as well and from all reports kicked some serious arse!

Saturday, May 20th:

“Here comes the sun”……finally a perfect Queensland day and many highlights; B B Factory, a local band with international members were impressive with a 10 piece fat sound and Ezra Lee again impressed. Jimi Hocking’s Blues Machine got to entertain the lunchtime crowd but please Jimi….leave the Status Quo covers at home! The Hussy Hicks always impress and though their set was short they were gracious with all fans who sought them out. Bag O’ Nails are a dirty in your face blues rock outfit from Melbourne who were great before another stellar show from Wards Express.

Lachy Doley and the Horns of Conviction……just a show stopper. His performance in 2016 of the Bill Withers song “Use me “ gained 1.2 million social media hits in a week! With the Hussy Hicks on backing vox and J J Barnes on drums, this performance was through the roof and got my vote as the weekend showstopper. A Live on Broadbeach album is available…..get one!

Sunday, May 21st:

The sun again shone on this truly beautiful place, filled with happy friendly people who happily stop for a chat about the music that brings people together from all walks of life. Juzzie Smith, Shane Pacey Trio and others already mentioned before the rockabilly onslaught of The Slim Jim Phantom Trio. They were great and got the dancers out in force before Aussie guitar legend Ian Moss took over and again stunned the crowd with some brilliant playing and songs. Headline act Bonnie Tyler, at 66, was a revelation indeed, I went out of curiosity and was blown away, comparing her at times in my mind to Janis Joplin.

Ian Moss (Photo: Blues On Broadbeach)

Finally indoors to the high energy of 19 Twenty. These guys have a good album out called “Triad “but nothing can do justice to their live show…….and that was it for 2017!

Blues on Broadbeach will be on again in 2018 May 17 to 20th.

My thanks to the organisers, the sponsors, the staff at The Wave Apartments, Virgin Australia, Ross Ward and his band……and the Harajuku Gyoza Beer Stadium ( don’t ask )

As the sun sets on an overwhelmingly successful Blues on Broadbeach, preparations have now kicked off for the Broadbeach Country Music Festival (July 28-30) featuring US super group AMERICA and local stars Kasey Chambers, Troy Cassar-Daley, Shane Nicholson, Travis Collins, Fanny Lumsden and many more.

DOS’s Gallery:





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