Bluesfest 30th Anniversary

Brisbane -

Byron Bay -


24 Jun 2019




Bluesfest 30th Anniversary

24 Jun 2019

Well here we are, reminiscing on our favourite memories of Bluesfest. And what an epic long weekend it was! 

As the iconic festival celebrated its 30th year anniversary, SAE also celebrated its 14 year relationship with Bluesfest. This year 28 of our film, audio and design students from our Byron, Brisbane and Melbourne campuses received the opportunity of a lifetime to work besides industry heavyweights and get up close and personal with some revered musical artists. 

Working for five days across four stages, it's fair to say the students were left with an exhausting but ultimately invaluable experience. 

We caught up with a few of our students to tell us first hand about their 2019 Bluesfest experience. The theme of their weekend seemed to be fun as they all reported that they were having tonnes of it!


The SAE graphic design team not only worked on site over the 5 days of the festival but also worked in conjunction with the Bluesfest team in the weeks leading up to the event, creating animated assets and informative motion graphics that were utilised across the Bluesfest social channels. 

Once the pre-festival work was completed the team moved to phase two of their work placement experience, tasked with capturing captivating imagery of the festival vibes that were uploaded instantly to Bluesfest’s Instagram and Facebook, telling the story of Bluesfest in real time.  


The students paired up into three teams, each tasked with documenting a different facet of festival life; fashion, family and friends and the Boomerang festival. Bailey says that during the five days on site the design crews spent time working back of house with the Bluesfest social media team. “We were engaged in constant conversations in the office with them discussing what content they need from us and what they expect us to capture, it was a really collaborative effort,” he said. 

The teams were also granted the responsibility of official Bluesfest photographers passes that allowed them access backstage to capture the acts and audience. This was something that Millie will never forget, “my best experience at the festival was going in between the crowd and the stage to the photographers pit, and getting to go to places that as a regular punter you wouldn’t normally get to go to,” she said.

“Working with Bluesfest has been really important for me, to have something like this behind me as I enter the workforce is amazing for my future prospects,” Millie said. 


SAE Audio students worked the longest hours and had the physically hardest job at Bluesfest, but they did it with a smile on their face, knowing that what they were doing was something special. 

Students worked with the tech teams and stage managers back of house at Mojo, Crossroads and Jambalaya stages. Sallyanne and Matt worked Crossroads assisting with the smooth running of the event and getting to experience how a production of this magnitude operates. “To do something of this scale is awesome, to see how it works and see how a really well prepared day unfolds,” Sallyanne says. “Anything that needs doing, we’re here to do it,” Matt adds. 


For Matt the experience is a priceless one. “You wouldn't otherwise get the opportunity to be working with global acts and your right there with them. You’re rubbing shoulders with some pretty great people and some great crews, you’re working with great crews from all around the world as well. It's really good to see how everyone works together,” he says. 

Sallyanne also thinks her Bluesfest experience was invaluable. “I think it's really important to remember that your volunteering because you are getting an awesome opportunity. It’s a huge amount of learning available here and the people that help facilitate that are really supportive. This has been my first live music work experience ever and it's been really approachable and not intimidating and I’ve learnt heaps and I’ve been having heaps of fun so I highly recommend it,” she says.

“The whole time has been fun really. It’s exhausting and fun and delirium all tied into one, so its like one giant big party that lasts for five nights,” Matt says. “It's been the best time. I’ve probably enjoyed myself a little too much,” Sallyanne adds. “We were side of stage for Iggy Pop, Norah Jones played a grand piano, how amazing!” 


SAE film students were lucky enough to get up close and personal to all the artists as they operated the front of stage cameras at Bluesfest’s two main stages Crossroads and Mojo, broadcasting live footage on the big screens to thousands of adoring fans. 


Tyler describes the feeling of starting out on day one, as free falling, luckily the experienced directors are there to catch them. “The directors are really helpful,” Bianca says. “They tell you exactly what to get and they really take care of you. They are so lovely and it’s been such a good experience working with them. They are very encouraging and they allow you creative freedom as well as staying within the limits,” she says. 

The director's guidance gave the students the confidence to immerse themselves in the festival reality. “I wasn’t sure what to expect at all. It’s getting that key experience. I was scared of it at first but I’m not scared at all anymore and I’m looking forward to doing more of it in the future,” Tyler says. And Bianca agrees, “I don’t know what I was expecting but I’ve fallen in love with the process and I would 100% do it again,” she says. 

With hard work comes well deserved down time as the students were free to enjoy the festival once they had knocked off. And with their spare time of course they checked out some live acts, student favourites were Ocean Alley, Tash Sultana, Julia Stone and Jack White’s band The Saboteurs. 

Can’t wait to see you all next year at Bluesfest, the party that lasts 5 days!


2019 BluesCrew - Team SAE Byron Bay 

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