CENTRE STAGE: Paul Simon on the final night of Blues Festival in 2013 and, below, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe.
CENTRE STAGE: Paul Simon on the final night of Blues Festival in 2013 and, below, R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe. Patrick Gorbunovs AFP

The best of the Blues

IT is hard to forget the image of Paul Simon standing on the stage at Bluesfest last year, alone under the spotlights, acoustic guitar in hand, picking out the chords to Sounds of Silence.

His voice did not fail him as the crowd helped him along by singing loudest during the chorus of the classic tune.

It must have resonated with a lot of people because Simon has been voted the top Bluesfest performer from the past 25 years, according to our online poll that closed yesterday.

Simon played an unbelievable set that night. It included many of his hits with Art Garfunkel and from his solo career and collaborations with African musicians during his Graceland period.

He narrowly tipped out American Indie rockers REM, who finished second in our readers' poll.

Although our poll was hardly scientific, it did give an insight into who the favourites have been at Bluesfest over 25 glorious years.

The Backsliders were next, sharing third spot with four other artists.

The Cat Empire, who have grown up on stage at Bluesfest, were there along with Michael Franti, Iggy Pop and Jack Johnson.

Johnson, who has a house in Byron Bay, is back to play Bluesfest as one of the headliners this year.

Thanks to the readers who took part in this poll and may the debate rage about the top Bluesfest artists for a long time.


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