By Bob Gordon

Toby Beard has long been a Blues at Bridgetown favourite, often returning from tours across the globe to perform.

Yet while 2019 has had its fair share of jetset moments, there have been very important things to accomplish closer to home.

“I’ve been working on teaching my two-year-old daughter to not try and climb inside my guitar or put her toys inside my guitar while I attempt to write a song,” Toby reveals.

And how’s that going?

“Very poorly!” she laughs.

The road is never far away though, and the many miles that Toby has travelled have brought her a diversity of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. There’s been much to savour.

“The highlights for sure are playing worldwide festivals,” she notes. “I will never forget the feeling of over 5,000 people in Nuremberg completely silent, listening to my song called Three Days and then selling over 500 CDs in about 10 minutes. It was pure magic and chaos!

“Recording albums in San Francisco and Seattle with some incredible musicians has also been a major highlight. Playing alongside Etta James in Milwaukee and then hanging on their tour bus was stupidly fun!

“And, to not sound like a total wanker… I adore playing to intimate crowds at house concerts just as much!”

The many festivals she has performed do seem to have left their mark on Toby. While the ethos behind them may be similar, each is unique to itself.

“The greatest thing about playing festivals is for sure the energy,” Toby enthuses. “The energy amongst the crowd, the energy on stage and backstage. The fact that we as musicians can actually watch other bands play! And of course, having awesome sound helps, too. It’s the buzz!”

Blues at Bridgetown, of course, is a festival full of many memories for Toby. It’s a long-term relationship, really.

“Wow, I have so many amazing memories of this festival,” she smiles. “I first performed at Bridgey when I was in a children’s ‘fairy’ band! This has evolved to many, many performances over the years. There was one show in 2008 where we played the Blue Owls Nest and for some reason the crowd got extremely emotional and there were people crying all over the place. I don’t think I have ever felt such a love from a crowd before. It was incredibly special!”

Toby, who says she fits in musically along the blues and roots scale, “… perfectly, somewhere!” has a new live album, Live At Strib Winter Festival, out now. A studio LP is planned for 2020, as well as “more festivals and a lot of fun on the road.” Meanwhile, her forthcoming appearance this year for Blues at Bridgetown promises as much as ever.

“We’ll be playing with my six-piece band and showcasing some brand-new songs and my brand-new live album, recorded in Denmark,” she says. “They can expect a lot of fun!”

Toby Beard performs on at 8.15pm Friday, November 8, on the Geegelup Stage; 9.15pm Saturday, November 9, at the Festival Club and Sunday, November 10, from 4.45pm at Blue Owl’s Nest.