AU ABROAD

Paul Simon closes out Bluesfest for 2013; Peter Noble looks towards the event's 25th anniversary in 2014 and Boomerang.

After five days of music on the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm in a year, festival director Peter Noble called "their best ever year" at a press conference this morning; both in terms of lineup, and the way the festival was run - including new noise restraints that kept disruption to both people and wildlife to an absolute minimum - Bluesfest was brought to a close tonight for the 24th time, by the one and only Paul Simon.

Paul's headlining and highly anticipated set took the Mojo tent beyond capacity, crowds pouring out of the sides of the venue fighting for a view of the legend. His set, which he wanted to be a "dance party", featured no less than three encores and was accompanied by an eight piece band, featured songs from the legendary album Graceland (which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary) such as "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes", "Graceland" and the iconic "You Can Call Me Al", reportedly with the backing band featuring many members who have been touring with him since its release. In addition, Simon embraced a couple of his most loved tracks sans Garfunkel, "The Sound of Silence" and set closer "The Boxer" and of course a cross section of the rest of his career, including the popular "Still Crazy After All These Years".

Bonnie Raitt (pictured above) performed before Simon, another legend in her own right, performing tracks from her entire career, after earlier popping on with Mavis Staples, who again proved that the festival is a draw card for some of the biggest artists in the world. Among the more up-and-coming talent, Busby Marou, a favourite of the festival from last year, opened up the Mojo stage and welcomed special guest Scott Owen from The Living End on for a couple of songs. And with The Lumineers, The Beards and Wilco among the bands helping close out the night after Paul Simon left the stage, this was just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for our full review and wrap up of the day.

As highlighted in the earlier press conference, Peter Noble and his team will be looking to address traffic flow issues for the festival's 25th anniversary next year; which will also mark the event's fifth year at the current permanent venue. Lines for buses, taxis and the traffic jams were among the issues of most punters this year, along with "chair rage", which Noble also said they would be addressing. In addition to preparing for the 25th anniversary of the event - which Noble hopes will include return visits from Manu Chao, Trombone Shorty, Grace Potter and long sought after Bluesfest premieres from The Decemberists and Experience Hendrix (none confirmed), and will coincide with a book and DVD release - the team will also be launching a new World Indigenous festival over the October long weekend called Boomerang.

Stay tuned to the AU for more reviews, interviews and photos from the 2013 Bluesfest in the coming days, as well as news, as we look towards Boomerang and the 2014 Bluesfest. Noble anticipates a first announcement for the next year by August, and will be travelling to places like New Orleans to discover new talent for the event. He also says he's already put in the call to some "super headliners" who have been involved with the festival in the past.

Let the speculation begin...

Photo by Johnny Au