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NSW Labor Push for Targeted Grant for Bluesfest Following Cancellation

NSW Labor has introduced a motion in state parliament this week to offer Bluesfest a targeted grant following the festival’s shock, last-minute cancellation earlier this year.

In late March, organisers were forced to pull the pin on the festival just one day before it was due to begin, after a locally transmitted case of COVID-19 was recorded in the Byron Bay area – where the event takes place each year.

At the time, there were fresh calls for a targeted business interruption fund for Australian music festivals. Shadow Minister for Music and the Night Time Economy John Graham called for an insurance scheme, saying “It’s not fair that music heroes like the [Bluesfest] team wear all the risk of COVID outbreaks and health restrictions.”

Shadow Minister for the Arts, Tony Burke, echoed Graham’s comments, saying, “The music industry is full of viable profitable businesses unable to function because of public health. Govt has a COVID insurance system for the film industry. Music needs one too. Urgently.”

Now, the State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin MP has moved in the legislative assembly that Bluesfest be given a targeted support package, and reiterated calls on the government to establish a broader festival interruption fund.

“I have previously been in contact with Bluesfest founder Peter Noble OAM, and have met with local small business people who play and trade at this fantastic festival. I’m in their corner,” Saffin commented.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Australia’s live music industry hard so it’s vital for the NSW Government to provide financial assistance to get shows back on the road.”

Yesterday, Bluesfest announced rescheduled dates for this year’s event – with the Bryon Bay festival now set to run between Friday, 1st October and Monday, 4th October. A new lineup will arrive next week.

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