Australia's peak arts and entertainment industry body, Live Performance Australia (LPA) has suggested that the cancellation of Bluesfest will result in more than $10 million in losses that could "destroy" businesses involved with the event.
LPA has highlighted that Bluesfest not only supports musicians but hundreds of employees who run the event as well as small businesses who host stalls at the festival site - all of whom will be impacted by the cancellation.
Advising that NSW Health’s “eleventh-hour” decision to halt the event could cost many their jobs and livelihoods after a devastating 12 months for the live-entertainment industry, LPA Chief Executive, Evelyn Richardson stated “this has cost hundreds of jobs, musicians who were about to perform their first gig in a year have been shut down, thousands of people who were attending the seated, COVIDSafe approved event have been turned away, and the local regional economy has been severely impacted.”
Since last year, LPA has been calling for a Business Interruption Fund to support musicians and artists struggling during the pandemic.
Explaining the need for this, Richardson added "this is irrefutable proof that a business interruption fund is critical to the survival of live entertainment events in an environment where no promoter or producer can get insurance.
"This is a watershed moment ... continued snap lockdowns and border restrictions are killing consumer and industry confidence. We have been shut down for a year. We can't survive the next six to 12 months without some form of insurance."
Organisers said they were "heartbroken" and expressed sympathy for those impacted by the last-minute cancellation, which was announced following a single case of community transmission on Wednesday.
In a statement they advised "the Bluesfest team has worked day and night for a year to achieve the approved COVID-19 Safety Plan - the first of its kind in the music industry and have been told by the NSW Health that it exceeded other major sporting events in its depth and ability to protect the public."
‘Postponed’ not ‘cancelled’
Media reports this morning suggest that organisers are in discussions with NSW Health and the artists involved regarding a possible postponement for the event.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard is quoted as saying “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.”
Suggesting that the event had been postponed rather than cancelled, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would have "loved" for Bluesfest to have gone ahead "but under the circumstances it just wasn't viable", adding “yes, the festival going ahead would have been great, but it is just a postponement as far as I am concerned and the government will continue to work with the organisers to see if that can be resurrected at a future stage.”
According to event organisers, "should the event be cancelled by government, Bluesfest 2021 ticket income will be held in a locked bank account".
The conditions add "if the event is unable to proceed on the advertised date or location by Government order, Bluesfest reserves the right to reschedule the Event, and offer a credit or exchange to the rescheduled date, or offer a refund request window of 28 days."
These details have yet to be announced as an alternative date is negotiated.
2nd April 2021 - Save Victorian Events highlight Bluesfest cancellation as confirmation of need for Governments to back event cancellation insurance
1st April 2021 - Queensland Government ends Brisbane’s lockdown but Easter tourism still impacted
1st April 2021 - LPA calls for emergency Business Interruption Fund after government directive shuts down Bluesfest
31st March 2021 - COVID-19 case sees NSW Health cancel Byron Bay Bluesfest
30th March 2021 - Save Victorian Events calls for Industry Taskforce
30th March 2021 - Brisbane Coronavirus outbreak causing massive uncertainty for tourism and events over Easter
30th March 2021 - Federal Government accused of ‘abandoning’ events industry as JobKeeper ends
29th March 2021 - Greater Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown after new COVID-19 case
25th March 2021 - Live performance and entertainment bodies welcome Federal Government’s funding extension
23rd March 2021 - Entertainment and Live Performance sector representatives takes argument for industry support to Canberra
20th March 2021 - AMPSEA heads to Canberra to present need for stimulus package for mass participation events
12th March 2021 - No relief for events and venues in Federal Government’s post JobKeeper package
11th March 2021 - Bluesfest team share their excitement for the return of live music
8th March 2021 - Australian Regional Events Alliance looks to support events industry
24th February 2021 - Adelaide Fringe events transform the city with open-air entertainment
18th February 2021 - COVID-19 Safety Plan approved for 2021 Bluesfest
17th February 2021 - VTIC fear loss of jobs in Victoria tourism and events without further support
21st October 2020 - Bluesfest 2021 adds to its line-up to appeal to broader audience
27th July 2020 - Bluesfest highlights losses incurred due to festival cancellation in 2020
12th July 2019 - Byron Bay Bluesfest names Moshtix as exclusive ticketing partner
12th February 2019 - NSW Government stance on festivals sees Byron Bay Bluesfest Director threaten to move event
16th July 2018 - Pollstar acknowledges Bluesfest as Australia’s top music festival
16th May 2018 - Bluesfest’s 30 year journey to be shared at 2018 Asia-Pacific Venue Industry Congress
21st April 2014 - Byron Bay Bluesfest celebrates 25th anniversary
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