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Report: Bluesfest 2019 attendance, spending up

A recent report shows Byron Bay Bluesfest contributed AU$83m to the NSW economy this year, with attendees spending $304 on average per day

By Anna Grace on 09 Sep 2019

Spending and attendance up at Byron Bay Bluesfest

image © Byron Bay Bluesfest

Byron Bay Bluesfest increased attendance by almost 10% and contributed over AU$83 million to the New South Wales economy in 2019, a new report has shown.

The report, commissioned by the Bluesfest Group and conducted by Lawrence Consulting, documents the economic impact of the 30th edition of Bluesfest, which took place from 18 to 22 April 2019.

Speaking to IQ ahead of this year’s festival, director Peter Noble noted that all ticket sale records had been broken for the sold-out anniversary edition. More than 105,000 fans attended this year’s Bluesfest, a 9.2% increase on the previous year.

Findings show that spending by attendees increased by almost 19% this year, with an average daily expenditure of $304. As a result, festivalgoers brought over $35.5m to the local government area of Byron Shire, contributed $59m to the region of Northern Rivers and a total of $83.4m to the state of New South Wales.

Spending by promoter Bluesfest Services was up 38% in Bryon Shire at $2.6m and increased by 24% across the rest of the Northern Rivers at $1.9m. Overall, annual expenditure on Bluesfest was approximately $18.4m, including around $1.6m in wages to 15 full-time staff.

“Bluesfest has become a pinnacle event in the calendar of Australians and music fans overseas”

The Bluesfest Group this year hired a record number of 1,454 people in NSW alone.

“I’m thrilled to think that from its humble beginnings as the East Coast Blues Festival, Bluesfest is now such a critical contributor to the local economy in the tropical surrounds of Byron Bay,” says Noble.

“Over the 30 years of its existence, Bluesfest has become a pinnacle event in the calendar of Australians and music fans overseas. I’m excited to see where the next 30 [years] will bring us as a festival in relation to the Byron, Northern Rivers, NSW and Australian economies.”

Tickets for Bluesfest 2020, which will take place from 9 to 13 April, are on sale via Moshtix. Tickets are priced at $600 plus fees for a five-day pass and $420 for three days. Single day tickets will become available in December.

Acts confirmed for the 2020 event include Dave Matthews Band, Patti Smith, John Butler and Frank Turner.

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