READY TO ROCK: Kate Augl with daughters Tirisuli, 2 and Sienna, 7 months, from Airlie Beach, getting set up.
READY TO ROCK: Kate Augl with daughters Tirisuli, 2 and Sienna, 7 months, from Airlie Beach, getting set up. Patrick Gorbunovs

Hordes descend on Bluesfest

THE first of 5300 campers began setting yesterday at nine Byron Bay Blues Festival camping sites. They, and the other 40,000 punters expected over five days, will be serviced by 146 portable toilets, 43 food stalls, more than 800 staff and 120 security personnel.

"When you get into it, we're powering up a city," said festival director Peter Noble.

It's the first time Airlie Beach camper Kate Augl has attended the event in six years and this time she's accompanied by her husband Craig Boxer and their two children. And she was amazed at the size of the festival now on the 80ha Tyagarah site.

Next door, experienced Geelong camper Connie Lamanna's tray-top tent was up and the two portable solar panels she uses to power her fridge and other conveniences of home already soaking up the rays. It's her first visit to the festival despite once being a resident of Alstonville.

The appearance of Paul Simon and Rodriguez had convinced her to finally realise her dream of attending the event.

"It's massive. We're very excited. We're pumped," Connie said.

Christina Covington from cafe Hari Har Chai was also setting up for the event yesterday, a task that would take two days. Christina, a regular at the festival, has hired five staff. Based on past years, she expects to work up to 18-hours a day and be very exhausted by the end of the event.

"I've booked a massage for Tuesday," she said.


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