UPDATE 31/03/21: Bluesfest has addressed the cancellation in a statement sent via email, but have reassured ticketholders that they are doing what they can to reschedule the festival. They are urging festival goers to not head to the festival site and to make alternative travel arrangements.
Less than 24 hours before it was supposed to begin, Bluesfest 2021 has been cancelled due to the risk of COVID-19 in the area.
“NSW Health advises that the Minister for Health has signed a public health order cancelling the planned Bluesfest over the Easter period,” a statement from the state government read.
“This action is being taken to minimise the risk of the highly infectious COVID-19 variant of concern being transmitted in the local area, as well as across states and territories.”
The news comes just hours after the state government held a press conference, where they revealed that a case of locally acquired coronavirus had appeared in the Byron Bay area following the outbreaks in Queensland.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said, at the aforementioned press conference, that the festival was of “high concern” to the government but, at that point, he had said that the event would go ahead.
“At this stage, we do have concerns – the government has concerns, I have concerns as health minister – that having…up to 15,000 (people) on any one day could be a challenge if some of these people who may have got the virus…could cause some concerns for us, particularly if there’s further transmission of the virus,” he had said.
Of the cancellation, Hazzard said, “While the cancellation of Bluesfest is disappointing for music lovers and the local community, I hope that ticket holders would support Bluesfest and hold on to their tickets as I understand Bluesfest will be working on a new date as soon as possible.”
This is a devastating blow for the event, who last year had to cancel just three weeks out due to the coronavirus pandemic.
More on this story as it unfolds.
Read NSW Health’s full statement below.
breaking: NSW Health says Brad Hazzard has CANCELLED the Byron Bay Bluesfest
new COVID rules for Byron Bay area too – mandatory masks inside and public transport, gathering limits pic.twitter.com/CxUCabvqj1
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) March 31, 2021