• Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Adobe Photoshop 23.3 (Windows)
  • 2022:05:20 10:09:46
  • 0.005 s (1/200) (1/200)
  • f/5.0
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  • 2022:04:17 20:07:57
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Shot Notes

This is Jimmy Barnes belting out a classic tune on the Mojo stage at Bluesfest 2022. Despite the audience coming out in force to watch this Cold Chisel legend, it was his introduction which made the news. Jimmy asked opposition Labor Leader, Anthony Albanese, to introduce his band. Unfortunately for Albo, there was an audible section of the crowd who did not appreciate a politician in an election campaign delaying the performance by 2 minutes. The mix of booing and cheering ebbed and flowed as he spoke. It created an uncomfortable tension you rarely see in festival crowds, but nothing compared to the sound everyone made together when Jimmy stepped on stage.

Understanding why discontent with government extends beyond those in power, maybe down to the area and its history. The Northern Rivers is a centre for counter-culture in Australia so it is naturally sceptical of big government. Since the last Bluesfest, there has been no pause between drought, fire, plague and flood. Bluesfest 2021 was cancelled with 1 day of notice by a government spooked by 1 covid case. The timing ensured maximum economic damage to businesses and artists already on their knees from the fires. When people started drowning, the government did not respond. Emergency calls went unanswered. It was the community, in a fleet of small private boats who saved the lives of people trapped in their homes. Locals are not surprised when politicians seeking photo ops with survivors get the cold shoulder. Anger at government inaction is so strong the current PM did not risk contact with the public at any point during his obligatory visit after the floods. So tension continued to build and needed to be released.

Bluesfest 2022 has shown that music has a role in mental and economic recovery. Gathering around music is in our DNA. We do it because we are human beings. When we immerse ourselves in music, the rest of the world disappears. This is an essential reprieve, especially when dealing with ongoing trauma. Being reminded of the imminent election during their overdue catharsis was too much for some, but was forgotten as soon as Jimmy began to sing.

UPDATE: Despite Jimmy and Albo getting Covid during the campaign, Albo became Australia’s 31st prime minister on 22nd May 2022.

This image cannot be used as editorial due to localized adjustments so this is purely an exercise in Photoshop for the blog. I used a sunset shot from South Australia called Solar Nuke to add yellow and red. The unedited image is available for download here.

UPDATE: Jimmy will be back onstage on Sunday 31st March 2024. Tickets are available via the Bluesfest Website.

3 Responses to “Jimmy Barnes”

  1. 1
    Little Mel:


  2. 2

    Jimmy Rocks!!

  3. 3
    Benz World Blog » The Voice:

    […] until Bluesfest 2022 and the then opposition leader Anthony Albanese, stepped on stage to introduce Jimmy Barns. Albo got a frosty reception and it was widely reported he was booed. Those reports may fail to […]

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