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Splendour in the Grass cancellation to hit Byron Bay economy
The announcement that this year’s Splendour in the Grass festival will not be held due to Coronavirus travel restrictions looks set to have a significant impact on the economy of Byron Bay.
Byron Bay mayor urges tourists to visit despite festival cancellations.
In a statement on Wednesday, co-producers Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco advised that the cancellation was a result of there being no timeline yet around the reopening of international borders.
The statement advised “we have been monitoring the situation closely for the past few months and while Australia is now moving into the recovery phase, there is no timeline yet around the opening of international borders.
“As a result, and with our audience interests front and centre, we must announce the reschedule to 2021 now. We intend to rebook as many of the 2020 artists as possible and we have started to work through that process.”
The annual festival, which attracts daily crowds of up to 50,000 people and which was due to celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, had already pushed back its dates from late July to October as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
However, Ducrou and Piticco added “we send a huge thanks to all of our Splendour community for their support during this time, and hope you are all keeping safe and well.
"We also send our love to all of the music industry workers who are doing it tough at the moment.
"We can't wait to see you all in 2021 for the biggest birthday celebration of all time.”
As a result of the cancellation, as well as that of Bluesfest in March, Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson fears the economic impact on the coastal town.
As reported by the ABC, the North Byron Parklands, which hosts both events, estimates the two events lead to more than $25million in spending in the Byron Bay shire area.
Richardson told the ABC “it's almost cataclysmic really … the losses are in the tens of millions (of dollars).”
In March, Mayor Richardson called on the NSW Government to prevent city residents from travelling to regional towns out of concern they’d spread COVID-19 to more vulnerable areas. Now, as restrictions begin to ease nationwide, he hopes they consider visiting Byron Bay even if Splendour and Bluesfest aren’t going ahead.
Fearing some local businesses will struggle to survive the latest setback, Mayor Richardson urged visitors to return, stating “a few months ago we were all quite public in saying that we love our visitors but we just want them to stay at home, now I guess the message is that we love our visitors and we'd love them to come and enjoy what we have to offer."
An economic impact report released last year showed that Bluesfest poured $35.5 million into the Byron economy, and more than $59 million into the broader Northern Rivers region.
The 2021 edition of Splendour in the Grass will be held from 23rd to 25th July next year.
Images: Splendour in the Grass (top, courtesy of Moshtix) and the North Byron Parklands festival site (below).
10th June 2020 - Australian music industry issues ‘SOS’ to Government
9th June 2020 - Industry stakeholders unite to restart sport and entertainment
22nd October 2019 - NSW Government’s failure to consult sees festivals threaten to move interstate
17th July 2019 - Splendour in the Grass festivalgoers urged to stay safe
5th June 2019 - Byron Bay named among world’s worst locations for overtourism
13th April 2019 - Splendour in the Grass achieves record ticket sales
24th January 2019 - Australian Festival Association launched to create ‘world-leading’ standards
31st October 2018 - Finalists Announced for the 2018 Australian Event Awards
16th July 2018 - Pollstar acknowledges Bluesfest as Australia’s top music festival
5th December 2016 - Live Nation expands festival portfolio with Secret Sounds acquisition
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