Undara blues fest turns 11, still building
In its eleventh year, the Undara Rock and Blues Festival is a well-established feature on the music festivals calendar, and this year it was a sell-out.
The festival, held at the Undara Outback Resort, 3½ hours from Port Douglas, highlighted the best of local and interstate talent, with three bands and two singers performing shows on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday.
Ben Ford-Davies, an acoustic guitarist and singer, is no stranger to the Far North, having lived in Port Douglas for seven years from 2001 to 2008.
“I think I played every venue in Port Douglas,” Ben said, “and I was playing in the kiosk next to where the Court House Hotel was being rebuilt and we called it beer with no pub.”
Now living in Adelaide, he recalls his time in Port Douglas with much affection, having named his latest CD Papillon which features an Ulysses butterfly on the cover.
“I haven’t been back to Port for a couple of years, but I have a private function there in November, so I hope I will get a couple more gigs so I can catch up with a lot of the crew I know,” Ben said.
Dr Elephant, an energetic three piece band, had the dance floor packed. Their range of styles was expansive, from ZZ Top to Kenny Rogers and practically everything in between.
The blues were well represented by Melbourne blues super group, The Three Kings, and the harmonica played by Ian Collard gave their performance that individual sound that only the blues can provide.
Jayson Watkin is a Far North Queensland native, and continued to engross the audience with his vocals and his band’s exceptional musical talent.
Anna Weatherup, originally from Townsville, has supported Colin Hay and James Reyne and toured the UK.
She enthralled Undara audiences with her clear, soulful vocals.
The highlight of the festival was the Sunday Recovery Session which started sedately at 10am and built to a crescendo of musicians and vocalists jamming with songs such as The Weight, a couple of great Stevie Wonder songs, The Joker and finished with the Doobies’ Long Train Running.
Bram Collins, spokesperson for the Collins family who own Undara, said that the festival is getting bigger every year.
You know an event is a success when bookings for next year have already started rolling in – and the lunchtime gig has the dance floor packed.
Ben Ford-Davis at the Undara music festival