The popular Bluesfest in Byron Bay has been cancelled just a day before the event was due to get underway.
The event was thrown into doubt after seven people in Queensland tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a hen’s party in Byron on the weekend.
A man who attended the Byron Beach Hotel at the same time as the hen’s party guests on Friday has also since tested positive.
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The cancellation is another bitter blow for the live music industry which has been reeling throughout the pandemic
Jimmy Barnes, Peter Murray, John Butler, The Living End, Kasey Chambers and Kate Ceberano were just some of the artists due to perform over the weekend.
Organisers had been expecting up to 15,000 people to attend each day.
After raising concerns about the event earlier today, New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard has now stepped in
“NSW Health advises that the Minister for Health has signed a public health order cancelling the planned Bluesfest over the Easter period,” NSW Health said in a statement.
“The 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 acknowledges that the cancellation of Bluesfest is disappointing for ticket holders and event organisers, however, while urgent investigations and contact tracing are ongoing, NSW Health is adopting a cautious approach to keep everyone safe.”
Bluesfest organisers say they had worked diligently to bring this year’s event together and are ‘heartbroken’ at today’s news.
“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 per cent 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 says they wanted to be at the forefront of the return of live music to pre-COVID levels.
“We feel deeply 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, ” he said
We will be having discussions regarding Bluesfest postponement and will update everybody soon. However, this weekend we will be packing down the event that was cancelled within 24 hours of gates due to open.
Ticketholders will be contacted by Moshtix directly.