Music Maker Blues Revue Goes to Byron Bay

inUncategorizedon May 9, 2014


International travel is tricky. In the best of circumstances you can expect that there will be many transfers, visas, customs interrogations, passport inspections and the occasional pat down/strip search. The stories Tim and Denise tell about getting through airports with Macavine Hayes and Guitar Gabriel are hilarious and hair-raising. It probably sounds fatalistic, but because of these stories and the general circumstances of international travel, I am always prepared in my mind for something to go wrong. That said, I was still surprised when I got a call from Corn back at the office while I was standing at the ticket counter having just arrived at the airport to head out on the first leg of my 36 hour journey to Byron Bay, Australia for the 25th Byron Bay Bluesfest.

I hadn’t even made it through security.

Big Ron was at the ticket counter not far away in Greensboro, but they wouldn’t issue him his ticket. Apparently, his passport would not pass muster. Yes, there was plenty of time left on it, but Ron doesn’t let it out of his sight so it was a little worse for the wear. The inner pages were hanging loose between the covers. I found this out as the ticket agent was passing me my boarding passes, with 30 minutes to get to the plane that was already boarding. The ticket agent told me that our only option was to change Ron’s ticket to fly him to Atlanta and get him to the embassy there where he could have them fix his existing passport. This seemed like a major headache and first I had to get through security and make sure I got on my own plane. All I knew was Big Ron had to get on that flight. There was no alternative.

When I got to the gate, I ran to the agent…

Now the other axiom that always delivers is that when things go wrong, an angel miraculously appears. This time, she came in the form of a very kind flight attendant. At this point I had the agent from Greensboro on the phone. I put her on the phone with Gina, the flight attendant in my airport. In the interim, Ron had gone back to his car and his wife Belinda used some nail polish to re-glue the pages. Within five minutes, Gina had talked down the overzealous agent in Greensboro and I was informed that Ron had his ticket and would be boarding the plane on time.

Sweet relief.

It was like wedding day rain, because the rest of the trip ran like a Swiss watch. The weather was perfect, everybody was nice and happy and the band was hot. Each night, Big Ron would warm the crowd up until the tent was bursting with love and then Albert White would give them a taste of funk, Pat Wilder would tease and taunt the notes out of her guitar and Cool John would finish them off with face melting solos. Over the four shows, the crowd grew and grew and the applause extended longer and longer.


We closed out our run at the festival with a 6pm show on Monday. About halfway through the set, Bluesfest director Peter Noble showed up to check out the show and with a quick signal the band leapt into a special song they put together to celebrate Byron Bay Bluesfest’s 25th anniversary. The crowd went wild and the whole tent joined together to sing the chorus “Byyy-ron Bay Boo-gie, Byyy-ron Bay Boo-gie”

Listen to the Byron Bay Boogie, live, here!

I looked over to Peter who was standing by the side of the stage, he had a smile all over his face

— Aaron

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Support for the Music Maker Blues Revue’s trip to Byron Bay Bluesfest provided in part by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s US Artists International Program. Thank you MAAF!

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