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Report: Bluesfest cancellation cost NSW €124m

The cancellation of Byron Bay Bluesfest has deprived the state of New South Wales of over AU$200m and 1,150 jobs, a new economic impact report has shown

By IQ on 27 Jul 2020

Byron Bay Bluesfest has received $1 m for its 2021 event

image © Byron Bay Bluesfest

The Australian state of New South Wales lost out on AU$203.6 million (€123.6m) in revenue, due to the cancellation of this year’s Byron Bay Bluesfest, a new report has shown.

The Economic Impact of Bluesfest 2020 report, commissioned by the festival and undertaken by Reuben Lawrence Consulting, highlights the loss of employment and gross revenue to the Northern Rivers region and state of New South Wales as a result of Bluesfest 2020 not going ahead.

In comparison to last year, it is calculated that Northern Rivers has lost $116.9m (€70.9m) in indirect tourism expenditure and around 745 full-time jobs due to the cancellation, with the wider state losing out on over $200m (€123m) and 1,158 jobs.

The 2020 edition of Bluesfest, which was set to feature Lenny Kravitz, Dave Matthews Band, Kool and the Gang, Patti Smith and John Butler, was called off in March – just three weeks before it was set to take place – following a nationwide ban on gatherings of more than 500 people.

“The economic impact reports clearly demonstrate that because of the Covid-19 pandemic our community is not only culturally poorer but also financially poorer”

“The economic impact reports we have commissioned clearly demonstrate that because of the Covid-19 pandemic our community is not only culturally poorer but also financially poorer,” comments Bluesfest festival director Peter Noble, adding that the report also “demonstrat[es] the impact that just one event of this scale can have on the economy of the country”.

“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,” says Noble.

“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.”

Bluesfest 2021 is set to take place from 1 to 5 April at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, featuring Bon Iver, Patti Smith, Jimmy Barnes, John Butler and Xavier Rudd, among others. Tickets for Bluesfest 2021 are available here, with five-day tickets priced at $513 (€312) and single day tickets starting from $157 (€95).

The Bluesfest economic impact report 2020 can be read in full here.

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