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COVID-19 case sees NSW Health cancel Byron Bay Bluesfest

COVID-19 case sees NSW Health cancel Byron Bay Bluesfest
March 31, 2021

The Byron Bay Blues Festival has been cancelled for the second year running after a local COVID-19 infection was discovered overnight. NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard has signed a public health order cancelling the planned Bluesfest over the Easter period.

The event was supposed to start tomorrow, and organisers were expecting up to 15,000 people to attend.

The COVID case has been traced to the Byron Beach Hotel, where an infected person from Brisbane visited on 26th March.

Bluesfest was to have been the first major festival to occur in Australia and possibly the world since the summer of 2019/20. It had a capacity of 16,500 people daily over its five days, with three performance stages, plus camping - operating at approximately 50 % of normal capacity and production.

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.

Bluesfest Director, Peter Noble (pictured above) advised “this is one of the most difficult statements I have ever had to make. We really wanted to be at the forefront of the return of live music at Pre-COVID 19 level.

“We feel for everybody affected, the fans, the artists, and the hard working Bluesfest team. But in the end, the health of our community must come first.

“We will be having discussions regarding a Bluesfest postponement and will update everybody soon. However, this weekend we will be packing own the event that was cancelled within 24 hours of gates due to open.

“Please do not come to the festival site.

“To all ticket buyers and music fans, we are hoping that you will support the festival and hold tickets to the rescheduled event.

“All patrons will be contacted by Moshtix directly once we have an update on how to proceed.”

In an earlier statement, NSW Health had acknowledged the event's cancellation was "disappointing" for ticket holders but reiterated that urgent contact tracing was taking place with NSW Health adopting a cautious approach to keep everyone safe.

The statement advised "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.

"Infectious Queensland travellers attended a number of venues in the Byron Bay area and the new locally acquired case was infected at one of these venues."

NSW Health acknowledged the outstanding cooperation of Peter Noble and his organising team, who were working hard to ensure Bluesfest would be conducted in a COVIDSafe manner.

Minister Hazzard noted “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.”

As of 5pm today, the following rules will apply to the local government areas of Tweed Shire Council, Ballina Shire Council, Byron Shire Council and Lismore City Council:

  • Mask wearing will become compulsory on public transport, in retail stores, and in all public indoor settings
  • The one person per foure square metre rule will apply at all public indoor settings including hospitality venues
  • The number of household visitors will be capped at 30 including holiday rental properties.

These restrictions will remain in place until 11:59pm on Monday 5th April, when the community will be updated.

NSW Health urges everyone in NSW, especially in the Tweed, Ballina, Byron and Lismore areas, with even the mildest symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose, to come forward immediately for testing, then isolate until they receive a negative result.

Related Articles

30th March 2021 - Brisbane Coronavirus outbreak causing massive uncertainty for tourism and events over Easter

29th March 2021 - Greater Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown after new COVID-19 case

30th March 2021 - Federal Government accused of ‘abandoning’ events industry as JobKeeper ends

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

19th March 2021 - Live Performance Australia calls for 100% capacity in all live entertainment venues

22nd February 2021 - Live Performance Australia calls for targeted JobSaver action to prevent further collapse of the arts and entertainment industry

11th March 2021 - Bluesfest team share their excitement for the return of live music

18th February 2021 - COVID-19 Safety Plan approved for 2021 Bluesfest

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

30th October 2017 - Steve Romer to join Bluesfest as Chief Operating Officer

21st April 2014 - Byron Bay Bluesfest celebrates 25th anniversary

4th October 2013 - Moshtix releases State of the Industry Report 2013

8th October 2010 - Byron Bay Bluesfest named Australia’s top event


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