Jeff’s Shed was an unusual venue for a festival but the indoor setting was perfect given the weather

Bernardo Duarte and Natasha L'Aimable at the Melbourne Bluesfest.

Bernardo Duarte and Natasha L’Aimable at the Melbourne Bluesfest.Credit: Justin McManus

With an older audience – at least compared to other festivals on the Australian music calendar such as Splendor in the Grass – the vibe was well received.

Bernardo Duarte and Natasha L’Aimable arrived in time for Shaun Kirk’s opening set on the Music City Stage on Saturday.

They saw the benefits of the indoor festival’s accessibility and shelter from Melbourne’s unpredictable weather, but found that spreading to Jeff’s Shed changed the atmosphere.

“It’s just a different festival vibe,” said L’Aimable. “It’s more like a Sunday afternoon concert.”

The crowds appeared to be thin at times early Saturday, but the vastness of the venue meant numbers were difficult to gauge. As the bigger names took the stage, there were plenty of blues fans at the forefront.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Bluesfest Byron and just couldn’t make it. And when it was here, I thought I’d come down,” L’Aimable said.

Fans look at Kasey Chambers.

Fans look at Kasey Chambers.Credit: Justin McManus

Mandy and Michael Bennett, both in their sixties, traveled from Tallong in the NSW Southern Tablelands for the festival.

They said the setup wasn’t what they expected.

“For some reason I figured you would walk in and listen to some music. Someone would play, then you would move on and listen to someone else. Almost like street music,” Mandy said.

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But both were looking forward to the Doobie Brothers on Saturday night.

Acclaimed musicians Lucinda Williams, Buddy Guy and Paolo Nutini will headline the Bluesfest line-up for its final day on Sunday.

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Jaclyn Diaz

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