John Butler Trio and Missy Higgins share an Ocean of love at SummerSalt Festival Glenelg Beach

John Bitler Trio

By Deb Kloeden, Rock At Night’s Adelaide correspondent

Venue: Glenelg Beach, Adelaide, 18th Nov,2017

With sand between their toes and the sun setting over the water, around several thousand people saw Glenelg Beach, Adelaide transformed into the perfect summer festival venue for the first ever SummerSalt Festival. Hosted by Zaccaria Concerts & Touring, SummerSalt is a brand new concert event, which exemplifies the great Australian outdoor summer. Headline acts; JOHN BUTLER TRIO and MISSY HIGGINS stole everyone’s hearts as they performed old favourites and new songs.

This family friendly event saw young and old alike dancing to the music; making sand castles and generally enjoying the ideal late spring weather. The day started mid afternoon with Bec Stevens, followed by Emmanuel Jal who entertained the early crowd. By the time Missy Higgins came on stage, the numbers were already large, with long queues for food, drinks and toilets.

MISSY HIGGINS is one of Australia’s darlings. Her strong, powerful voice delivers heart-felt ballads with themes that include climate change and more recently, the responsibilities of parent-hood based on her own experiences. Popular favourites like ‘Scar’, ‘The Special Two’ and ‘Steer’ had the crowd singing along. In between songs, she explained some of the messages or circumstances that went with the next song. She performed a couple of new songs, including one she called ‘How Was I To Know’ written from a future perspective, looking back at how we are dealing with climate change today. Did we do it right?

Another very catchy song she introduced as a lullaby she made up while trying to sing her son to sleep. It took aged for him to sleep, so she kept repeating what became a potential chorus over and over until he slept. A new song was born. Another newy, ‘Torch Light’ was written and recorded in her brother’s homemade studio. Although we all love the old favourites, it’s nice to hear new material too.

Just as the sun was lowering in the sky,  JOHN BUTLER TRIO hit the stage, first paying tribute to the original owners and custodians of the land. John Butler is a highly respected Australian musician who puts his heart and sole behind issues such as land rights, ecology and justice. John Butler Trio first formed in 1998. Since then his supporting bass and drummer/percussion musicians have changed a few times, but always the sound and passion stays the same.

John Butler Trio performed a host of crowd favourites including ‘Company Sin’, ‘Used To Get High’, the beautiful and very long ‘Ocean’ (of course, at the beach), ‘Better Than’, ‘Don’t Want To See Your Face’, and ‘Zebra’ before coming back with encore songs ‘High as a Kite’ and ‘Funky Tonight’, rounding out a generous 1 ½ hr set. One new song that caught my attention was called ‘Who Said Yes’, which had a real rock-a-billy feel about it.

John Butler is a highly skilled guitarist. One of the real benefits about being in the photo pit as a photographer is seeing the musical talent of your favourite musicians up close. John Butler doesn’t use a plectrum; his fingernails are the perfect natural picks. For this show, he played several different guitars including an old favourite, scratched and battle worn. I’ve seen him play a myriad of stringed instruments over the years.

I first saw John Butler Trio perform in Adelaide in 2004. Coincidentally, the support act at that show was none other than a very young, mostly unknown Missy Higgins. It was so nice to see them both on the same bill again after all these years.

It is safe to say the first SummerSalt Festival was a huge success.


There are four remaining Festivals with tickets nearly sold out:

Saturday 25th Nov – Hope Estate, Pokolbin NSW

Sunday 26th Nov – Bondi Beach, Bondi Beach NSW

Saturday 2nd Dec – 3 Oceans Winery, Margaret River WA

Sunday 3rd Dec – Hotel Rottnest, Rottnest Island WA










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Deb Kloeden

Forest Live Festival – UK

Forest Live Festival – UK