Students perform at Bluesfest

Student performers at the Bluesfest

Students in the Byron Bay area have embraced the opportunity to perform alongside established artists at the popular East Coast Blues and Roots Festival.

Commonly known as the Bluesfest, the four-day event is held near the North Coast town over the Easter weekend and includes a showcase featuring 'Young Sounds of Byron'.

Kadina High principal Ian Davies forged an alliance with Bluesfest director Peter Noble four years ago, to give public school students the opportunity to perform in a professional setting.

According to Kadina High music teacher Virginia Johnstone Bluesfest was a highlight on the students' annual performance calendar.

"It was a privilege preparing the students for their performances and accompanying them to such a prestigious event," Ms Johnstone said.

"An experience such as Bluesfest was invaluable and gave them a glimpse into what it's like for professional musicians.

"Each act was allotted 15 minutes' performance time and they played to an appreciative audience that filled the tent."

Competition for places was strong, with auditions to choose the acts. Priority was given to students who presented original material.

This year the showcase (combining Kadina and Byron Bay High School students) was opened by Brunswick Heads Public School, a first for the festival.

Kadina High student Andrea Suesskow, who performed with Sam Cooper as a duo, said the experience helped her become more comfortable performing in front of a large audience and made her look forward to a future of performing.

"It also gave me the chance to see fantastic performers in concert whom I would not have had the chance to see otherwise," Andrea said.

Photo by Virginia Johnstone

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