Set-up for the 2012 Byron Bay Blues Festival near Tyagarah is well under way with site manager Matty Williams and operations manager Nova Mikin over-seeing construction.
Set-up for the 2012 Byron Bay Blues Festival near Tyagarah is well under way with site manager Matty Williams and operations manager Nova Mikin over-seeing construction. Jay Cronan

Tuning up for a festival

FIRST things first, the position is marked out with string.

The poles go up and the skins go on just before the stage is set up.

The PA is the last thing to go into the Mojo tent at Byron Bay's Bluesfest.

Mojo is the festival's main stage which is set to host the biggest names on this year's bill including Cold Chisel, John Fogerty, Earth, Wind and Fire, John Butler Trio and Yes.

Set-up started for the third year at the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm on March 9, allowing just under a month to be ready for this year's festival.

The final touch on the festival site is the entry gates, said site manager Matty Williams.

"It starts off slow and ends up full on," he said yesterday.

"Most of the structures are up, but not the big tops.

"We wait as long as possible before putting them up in case of bad weather."

This year swales, blue metal gravel and a hot-mix poured on top will make the biggest difference for punters trekking from one stage to the next.

All up, with reshaping, grass cutting and weather proofing the process has taken a total of 10 months to complete.

"It's going to make a difference to a lot of areas with drainage and accessibility," Mr Williams said.

"The different routes are easier to get around without damaging the grounds. It keeps it all running smoothly."

For the hundreds of workers on site throughout the festival the work won't stop until a few weeks after the last note rings out on stage.

What's the one thing that really kicks it all off?

"The headlining set on the first night," Mr Williams said.

This year organisers are expecting 87,500 attendees across the five days, 95 acts performing on stage, 35 food stalls, 12 charity stalls and more than 50 market stalls.

And if all goes according to plan we won't be needing gumboots at all.

Bluesfest kicks off on Thursday. For more information head to bluesfest.com.au


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