The 2021 Byron Bay Bluesfest, set to take place this weekend, has been called off, after COVID-19 restrictions were reinstated across several local government areas in Northern NSW.
NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard signed a health order cancelling the event on Wednesday, one day before gates were due to open.
The team worked “day and night for a year to achieve the approved COVID-19 Safety Plan” and were reportedly told by NSW Health the plan exceeded other major events in its depth and ability to protect the public.
“This is one of the most difficult statements I have ever had to make,” said Bluesfest director Peter Noble.
“We really wanted to be at the forefront of the return of live music [to a] pre-COVID-19 level.”
NSW Health acknowledged the cancellation of Bluesfest will be disappointing for ticket holders and event organisers, but with urgent investigations and contact tracing underway it decided to take a cautious approach.
“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,” said Hazzard.
— Bluesfest Byron Bay (@BluesfestByron) March 31, 2021
Due to welcome festivalgoers from today 1 April, Bluesfest was set to return after also being cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Slated to be the first major festival to take place in Australia since the pandemic began, Bluesfest was readying for 16,500 people daily over five days, operating at approximately 50 per cent of normal capacity
The team said while they feel deeply for everybody affected, in the end, “the health of our community must come first”.
Ticket holders are being urged not to go to the festival site, and are encouraged to hold onto their tickets for the rescheduled event.
All patrons will be contacted by Moshtix directly in due course.