• mardiegray

Barham - Byron Bay

Bluesfest, Crystal Castle, test drives and a small incident with the salt.

We left Barham much later than hoped for but earlier than expected! We said Goodbye to our beautiful riverside home and headed in to see Gran and drop off Louis. Louis had of course been dreading this day since we first mentioned travelling without him. I think part of him was glad it had finally arrived. He could stop dreading it. After a quick photos and lots of hugs, we left Louis in the devoted care of my Uncle and Aunt (Johnny and Kaye) waved goodbye to Gran and headed north.

First stop Deniliquin! We didn't get far. A quick snack at the Deni Bakery and a loo stop and we were on our way, destined for Dubbo. Hugo and I had done this road trip with Gran only a few weeks earlier, however he had slept from home to West Wyalong (400km). The trip across the Riverina plains was much slower awake.

It was dark by the time we approached the Western Plains of Dubbo. Glen skilfully backed us in to our spot and we settled in for our first night. Hugo and Glen had been sick leading up to our departure. Glen was only just starting to improve. That night in Dubbo I was heading downhill fast. The next day I spent in bed, sweating, hallucinating and aching. Glen and the kids test drove a Rav4 at Dubbo Toyota. By that night Rose was on the same downward trajectory as I had been the night before.

Day 3 and we hoped to get to Byron Bay, an ambitious 780km target. Mid afternoon and only half way to our goal we pulled the pin. Rose and I were fading fast and needed a hotel. We checked into the Comfort Inn. Glen and Hugo went for an explore - they discovered Armidale has a huge amount of incredible Churches, literally one on every corner. By 3pm Rose and I were snoring.

Friday and Byron was now in our sights. A hair raising, rough, narrow and windy track (Waterfall Way) took us from Armidale to Grafton. We were all very grateful we hadn't continued the day before. Glen guided the van like a champion. That road was TRICKY. We pulled into the Discovery Park in Byron and backed into our beautiful spot by the river. We had arrived. A quick rest and Hugo and Glen headed off to Bluesfest. Rose and I stayed in bed!

Lucky we had boots.

The crowd was epic. The event was so well organised.

5 Stages running continuously for 5 days. 100,000 fans, 40 different artists to choose from every day. Food stalls, market place, buskers. It was incredible. The sound engineering was awesome. Once outside of each tent you could no longer hear the music. Inside the tent each artist could be heard so clearly without interference from the others playing at a stage nearby. I was blown away.

Quintessential Peter Garrett, commanding the Main Stage Friday night.

We all managed to get there Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed seeing Kate Miller Heidke, Missy Higgins, Amy Shark, Kasey Chambers and Paul Kelly. All in the one day/night. Missy Higgins has grown into a fierce powerhouse performer. Her new songs are raw and authentic. They speak of a women finding her power and using it to roar. Kasey Chambers finished with an epic version of Eminem's "Lose Yourself." At the end of the song she collapsed exhausted and crying on the stage. She sang like her life depended on it. She blew the roof off.

Paul Kelly came out with the Bull Sisters backing him up. What a treat to see the old crew back together. After his opening number he quietly wept and wiped away his tears, proclaiming how good it was to be singing and entertaining again at Bluesfest, how good it was to be on Bundjalung Country. Bluesfest did not disappoint.

The next few days we spent, relaxing, recuperating, landing. Our holiday had begun. We were doing it.

Rose and I visited the Crystal Castle. It was an incredibly peaceful and beautiful place. Amethyst Crystal gate, Bamboo Forest, Rose Quartz Spiral.

Oh and did I mention a little incident with the salt. We're just about to tuck into delicious fish and chips from Hunky Dory in Byron Bay. Hugo is fervently adding salt to the chips. The lid flies off and 250gm (a cup full) of salt is deposited on the chips. We tried to brush it off tossing them in the steamer, Hugo thought washing them might help. Nope. They were done. It was pretty bloody funny, the look on his face, the look on all our faces. Turns out you can have too much salt on chips.

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