Bluesfest 2014 #8: An Open Letter to Peter Noble and Bluesfest attendees

Hello dear reader and thank-you for following along with my Bluesfest rambles. As I mentioned first up, this has been about my Bluesfest experience; you will have your own which no doubt will have many differences to mine although I’ll be surprised if we don’t share some commonalities.

And that is the purpose of this final Bluesfest post for 2014. This is my very own Suggestion Box with a small collection of observations about some of the not so pleasant experiences that maybe many of us shared during the festival’s five days. Or even one if that’s what you attended. And like my Bluesfest experience, I’m sure you’ll have your own similar list. Feel free to comment if you must. And no apologies if you recognise yourself here. If you do, suck it up.

Things to improve from an organisational POV:
1. Artists signing point: surely there is a better way to organise the way people line-up to get CDs or merch signed by their favourite artist? A long line that reaches out into the general walking area is just plain asking for trouble. How about something that snakes along the fence line at right angles to the merch tent? Directing people this way would avoid pissing people off, both those lining up and those simply trying to walk passed. Or put the whole thing somewhere else.
2. Artists CDs: similar to above but it was almost impossible to look through CDs this year due to the small stand at the merch tent. Not sure what happened but this year’s set up was very poor compared with last year’s.
3. Misleading signs: after not being able to bring water filled water bottles (something I have no issue with), many people seemed relieved to see tents with large writing stating WATER on them. However, it was only on approaching the counter that it was clear there was a cost involved, despite no prices being clearly displayed. There was free water of course, but it wasn’t obvious where it was.
4. Alcohol costs: really? $6.50 for a light beer? By the way, Four-Ex Gold is not a Premium Beer. I could certainly afford to drink more if things were cheaper. Oh wait….
5. Paying $3 for a programme to then get it offered free a day or so later does not seem entirely fair to me; does it to you?

Audience observations:
1. If you wish to have loud conversations with friends that’s fine; just don’t keep having them while a performer is playing. Others around you might actually like to enjoy the performance. I for one am not interested in stories about your drinking abilities or sexual conquests. Go outside the tent and let others enjoy what they (and you, let’s face it) have paid for.
2. Wide brimmed hats do not keep the sun off your head while you are under cover of a tent. Take them off, particularly in smaller venues with large crowds. It will feel better and not only that, others, not as tall as you, might just be able to catch their favourite performer a little clearer. Or at all.
3. People taller than 163cms: it really is not cool to simply plonk yourself in front of people cutting off their view. Look behind you and you might find a place where you can stand and see the performance over the head of the shorter person whose view you just blocked. And if you get asked to move by such a person, don’t be a prat and just do so. We’re all trying to enjoy the experience of the festival and that means seeing most of it too.
4. Smoking in tents. I don’t give a crap about whether you have a nicotine (or some other) addiction; I choose not to smoke and I certainly have no intention of joining your ill-disciplined ranks. I also don’t wish to have my brand new Bluesfest shirt burned. Butt out of my space (bad pun  intended).
5. If you must insist on ‘putting your hands in the air like you just don’t care’, then please wash.
6. I like my mobile ‘phone’s capabilities to take pictures and so on but having you stick yours up every time I try to take a quick snap shot, and for you to leave it up there for entire songs and performances is just plain ignorant. Do you really think the world wants to view your crappy YouTube video with shit sound? Take a quick snap and put it down. You are invading my space enough without you preventing me from enjoying a show.

This all said, I have to say I love Bluesfest. These few minor comments or criticisms aside, it is one of the most enjoyable festivals I’ve attended. It is clear that the volunteers work really hard to keep things clean over the whole event and hats off to them (especially wide brimmed ones) and their supervisors . I enjoyed the variety of acts at this year’s festival; it might be a cliché but to me there was definitely something for everyone.

See you in 2015. Hopefully our tired feet will have recovered by then.

2 thoughts on “Bluesfest 2014 #8: An Open Letter to Peter Noble and Bluesfest attendees”

  1. nice blog-work Jim, a lot of that crap mentioned in your last blog just comes with the territory esp with festival crowds, makes you appreciate the smaller club / pub shows where actual fans of the band/artist are majority of the audience. having said that like attracts like so quality performers like Kathleen Hanna attract a quality audience. ahh – but you already know all if this anyways, glad u enjoyed yr experience and got to see Elvis Costello at long last 😉


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