Bluesfest organisers have revealed the massive financial impact of cancelling the 2020 edition of the festival, just three weeks before it was scheduled to take place, due to the coronavirus pandemic and resultant restrictions on mass gatherings.
A new economic impact report commissioned by the festival has detailed economic losses for the regional New South Wales areas impacted by the cancellation, along with the state as a whole – including the huge amount of jobs lost as a result.
According to the report, undertaken by independent consulting firm Reuben Lawrence Consulting, the surrounding Northern Rivers community lost $116.9m in gross revenue, with the State of NSW losing $203.6m, and 1,158 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs.
“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,” commented Festival Director Peter Noble.
“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.”
In terms of gross revenue, Bluesfest’s 2020 edition still generated an output of $7.6m in the Northern Rivers area and $10.7m in New South Wales altogether. This contrasts with the festival’s 2019 edition, which generated $163m in the Northern Rivers area and $277m in the state. You can read the economic impact report in full here.
Bluesfest is set to return next year with a lineup that includes headliners Bon Iver, Jimmy Barnes, Patti Smith, and many more. It’s scheduled to take place between April 1 – 5 at its usual location of Tyagarah Tea Farm, Byron Bay.
“What I can say is whilst we don’t know what the future holds for the greater music industry you can be assured we here at Bluesfest are fully committed to presenting an outstanding event in accordance with government regulations,” Noble commented upon the 2021 edition’s announcement.