“When Bluesfest 2020 was cancelled by NSW Public Health Order just three weeks before the festival, our hearts were broken and so were those of so many of our loyal patrons, who were looking forward to their annual beloved Bluesfest experience. So, we decided Bluesfest 2021 next Easter was to go ahead in the very same week we received the government instruction not to proceed with our 2020 festival.

Bluesfest is synonymous for Easter Holidays spent in Byron Bay with the entire family and friends. With Bluesfest not happening in 2020, the Byron Shire, the Northern Rivers community and State of NSW was not only faced with a great cultural loss, but also impacted by the financial loss of jobs, income and gross revenue, a festival of this scale brings to the area. In exact figures, the community lost $116.9M gross revenue and 745.3 full time equivalent [FTE] jobs and the State of NSW lost $203.6M gross revenue and 1,158 jobs [FTE]. It’s a tragedy!

The economic impact reports [EIR] we have commissioned clearly demonstrate that because of the COVID-19 pandemic our community is not only culturally poorer but also financially poorer. We therefore made the conscious decision to go ahead with Bluesfest 2021, with the awareness that we need to present the festival as a COVID-19 safe event, and we are working with the relevant authorities to ensure that happens, so the public can remain safe and to provide the wealth and jobs in the future that Bluesfest creates. We have 1,500 people in the form of production staff, event contractors, bar staff etc. and 500 Artists, working directly on our festival every Easter, who all want to go back to work.

By presenting these EIR reports we are also demonstrating the impact that just one event of this scale in the live music industry can have on the economy of the country. The entertainment industry is worth $111B in Australia. We promote the Arts; we bring jobs and the trickle-down effect means that people in the broader community have an income they wouldn’t otherwise have. Bluesfest is 100% independent and we are proud to contribute to our State and Local communities and we look forward to doing it again in 2021.” says Festival Director, Peter Noble OAM.

The Economic Impact REPORT [EIR] was commissioned by Bluesfest and undertaken by Reuben Lawrence Consulting, an independent consultancy firm whose reports are accepted and referred to by official authorities.

The report clearly denotes the loss of both employment and gross revenue to the Northern Rivers community and the State of NSW. “The comparisons in employment levels and income as well as gross revenue due to the festival not occurring in 2020 compared to when it did in 2019 are alarming”. Says Noble

In 2019 Bluesfest generated 858 full time equivalent jobs in the Northern Rivers and 1,333 in the State of NSW, whereas in 2020 Bluesfest generated only 36.2 jobs [FTE] in the Northern Rivers and 46.8 in the State of NSW due to the fact the festival was ordered not to go ahead three weeks prior to its opening.

In terms of gross revenue Bluesfest 2019 generated $163M in the Northern Rivers and $277M in the State of NSW. In 2020 Bluesfest generated an output of $7.6M in the Northern Rivers and $10.7M in NSW with the festival being cancelled three weeks prior to its occurrence. The loss due to the festivals cancellation in 2020 was estimated to be $116.9M for the Northern Rivers and $203.6M for NSW, that resulted in a loss of 745.3 jobs [FTE] in the Northern Rivers and 1,158 jobs [FTE] in NSW.

Bluesfest is grateful for the on-going cooperation and advice it has received from the NSW Ministry of Health to assist in the planning for a COVID-19 safe event. “We continue to work closely with the health authorities and will keep our patrons informed on a regular basis via our Mission Statement on our website. This journey is one that our patrons are involved with and it is our duty to provide them with as much up-to-the minute information we can so they can confidently make their own decision as to how they intend to engage with us, and how to implement the COVID-19 safety plan put in place once they reach the Bluesfest site”. Says Noble

Last week Bluesfest advised its 150,000 subscribers that they are committed to and working on different plans for the different scenarios that the government will roll out between now and next Easter. Due to the fluid nature of this situation Bluesfest has created a new space on the Bluesfest website. Here patrons will find the full Mission Statement for 2021 along with updated information as it comes in hot off the press. This along with a FAQ section will help answer all the questions as they arise so Bluesfest patrons can remain fully updated.

Bluesfest would like to thank their loyal patrons for their continuous support and is humbled by the strong response to the 2021 Bluesfest announcement. “When purchasing tickets, you can feel proud that not only are you supporting Bluesfest, you are supporting the Australian live music industry get back to what it does best – to entertain you.” Says Noble

Byron Bay Bluesfest
1 – 5 April 2021