April 1 2021

Byron Bay Bluesfest has been cancelled a day out from its kick-off after a single case of local transmission was detected in the Byron region, linked to one of the two current COVID-19 clusters in Brisbane.

The NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told a press conference on Wednesday morning that there were concerns about the event proceeding and that he was in discussions with organisers.

“It’s difficult. It would have been better if the Bluesfest had been perhaps in another few months instead of right now,” Mr Hazzard said.

Within hours he had signed a health order cancelling the event. Bluesfest issued a statement confirming the cancellation a little after 5pm.

According to the statement, “Bluesfest was to have been the first major festival to occur in Australia and possibly the world since the summer of 2019/20.

“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.”

The event was to allow 16,500 attendees per day for the five days of the event.

Bluesfest Director Peter Noble said it was one of the “most difficult” statements he’d ever had to make.

“We really wanted to be at the forefront of the return of live music at Pre-COVID-19 level,” he said.

The statement indicated the festival was likely to be rescheduled.

Top image: Byron Bay Bluesfest | Photo: Tourism Australia