Bluesfest Day 2: From Jason Momoa to Mary J Blige

Hollywood star Jason Momoa was happy to interacts with fans backstage at Bluesfest 2017.
Hollywood star Jason Momoa was happy to interacts with fans backstage at Bluesfest 2017. Nicky Ramones

HOLLYWOOD stars came out to play on Day 2 of Bluesfest 2017, with local leading man Chris Hemsworth making an appearance at the event with fellow actor Matt Damon, plus Hawaiian star Jason Momoa.

Momoa, 37, has become popular in recent years thanks to roles such as Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones, Conan The Barnarian (2011) and as Aquaman in Batman v and Superman : Dawn of Justice (2016).

Momoa, who is also a director, writer and producer, will be the lead of the Aquaman film, due for release in 2018.

The actor, whose presence at Bluesfest took many by surprise, was happy to share some time and pose for photos with fans in the artists' hangout area.


Hollywood star Jason Momoa was happy to interacts with fans backstage at Bluesfest 2017.
Hollywood star Jason Momoa was happy to interacts with fans backstage at Bluesfest 2017. Nicky Ramones

He then moved backstage at Crossroads during Jimmy Buffett's show.

Just after 8pm, Hemsworth and Damon spent sime time at the VIP Bluesfest area, with adozen of friends.

Hemsworth spent some time talking to his friend, Australian music icon Bernard Fanning, while Damon spent some time with other friends, including 1980s rock legend Jon Bon Jovi.

The music

Easter Friday offered one of the most varied arrays of music styles of this year's Bluesfest, and while all of it was quality entertainment, it did not always enjoyed the crowd's favour.

First in line was Patti Smith, who offered an 'acoustic' show, different to the one she performed on Thursday, when she played her debut album Horses.

During Friday's show, Smith read poetry, sang Bob Dylan's A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall and even read a passage from the Gospel of St Matthew.

Smith's voice has evidently recovered and sounded much better than on Thursday, when she was affected by a throat infection, and the audiences filled up Crossroads stage and listened to her with respect and admiration.

The most recognisable of crowds on Friday were Parrotheads, the name given to Jimmy Buffet fans.

Many donned Hawaiian shirts, lays and even inflatable parrots in their heads.


Jimmy Buffett fans wait for his perfomanace at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay at Tyagarah.
Jimmy Buffett fans wait for his perfomanace at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay at Tyagarah. Marc Stapelberg

It was a day of covers, with Rickie Lee Jones singing David Bowie's Rebel Rebel, Jimmy Buffett sang Neil Finn's Weather With You and Gregory Porter performed The Temptations' Papa Was a Rolling Stone.

And speaking of Porter, the American of the velvet voice offered one of the most accomplished shows of the evening.


Gregory Porter plays at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay at Tyagarah.
Gregory Porter plays at Bluesfest 2017 in Byron Bay at Tyagarah. Marc Stapelberg

Every time Gregory Porter releases a new album, it wins the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Jazz Album.

Porter's voice and charisma, plus the talented band behind him, are the perfect combination for a show that mesmerised and enchanted, even for those how are not avid jazz fans.

The diva

Mary J Blige is an R'n'B Soul icon in the United States.

Her voice is still as powerful and beautiful as it was when she started her career in 1992 with her first record, and since then she has sold more than 50 million albums an won nine Grammy Awards.

But Australia audiences have never been totally receptive to R'n'B music, so it was a great thing to see Mojo tent full of people for the start of her headlining performance.

Problem is, audiences listened to six or seven songs and then left the area.

By the end of Blige's show, only a third of the original audience, obviously Urban music fans, were left in front of the stage.


Mojo stage at 23.15pm during the second half of Mary J Blige's show on Friday, April 14, 2017 at Bluesfest.
Mojo stage at 23.15pm during the second half of Mary J Blige's show on Friday, April 14, 2017 at Bluesfest. Javier Encalada

This was a serious blunder and an unfair treatment to Blige, who offered a well-produced show, sung superbly, interacted with the public and was the professional entertainer she has been for decades.

Exit strategy

So far this year, getting to and exiting the festival venue (so far) has not been an issue. Access to buses, traffic in or out of the festival, and safety issues faced in previous years seem to have been resolved.

The Bluesfest Facebook page has not been inundated with complaints, although the festival has messaged audiences via their app and social media each evening encouraging them to be prepared for possible traffic issues in the Pacific Highway.

What not to miss on Saturday

Day Three of Bluesfest brings a new wave of artists to the stage for the first time this years, such as:

  • The Doobie Brother at Mojo from 10.30pm.
  • St Paul and The Broken Bones at Crossroads from 11pm
  • Buddy Guy at Crossroads from 9pm
  • Nahko and Medicine for the People at Jambalaya from 9.30pm.
  • Laura Mvula at Delta from 7.30pm
  • Melody Angel at Juke Joint from 5pm

Topics:  bluesfest2017 chris hemsworth gregory porter jason momoa jimmy buffet jon bon jovi mary j blige matt damon northern rivers entertainment whatson

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