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News August 3, 2021

Bluesfest 2021 cancellation cost $181m in lost revenue: Report

Bluesfest 2021 cancellation cost $181m in lost revenue: Report

The cruel, last-minute cancellation of Bluesfest 2021 triggered a crippling financial hit.

According to independent data published today (August 3), government officials’ decision to shut down Bluesfest on March 31, just one day before showtime, generated a nationwide loss measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The 2021 Economic Impact Report, collated by Reuben Lawrence Consulting, reveals a combined estimated loss of $181.2 million, including job losses of 897 [FTE] totalling $44.2 million.

Despite the non-start, this year’s edition of Bluesfest managed to create economic output of $33.8 million and wages valued at $7.4 million.

“We lost so much when Bluesfest was cancelled less than 24 hours out by NSW Public Health Order,” comments Bluesfest Director Peter Noble.

“Our entire industry was traumatized,” he continues, “yet we picked up the pieces, put ourselves back together, paid our bills, including significant payments to the cancelled artists and still delivered major numbers to the economy of New South Wales in economic output and job creation.”

Image of Bluesfest founder Peter Noble

Bluesfest founder Peter Noble

Breaking it down, the financial impact of this year’s cancellation is estimated at $97.7 million for the Northern Rivers, $171 million for the state of NSW and $181.2 million across the country, resulting in a loss of 555.6 jobs [FTE] in the Northern Rivers, 863.3 jobs [FTE] in NSW and 897 jobs [FTE] in Australia.

That compares to an impact on the Byron Shire and Northern Rivers in 2020 just shy of $117 million in lost revenue and 745 full time jobs, while the figure then blew up to $203.6 million in lost revenue for the state of New South Wales and 1,158 jobs.

The New South Wales Health department issued a public health order to cancel this year’s edition, when a single COVID host was identified in Byron Bay.

bluesfest byron bay aerial shot location

Bluesfest

It was the second-successive year without Bluesfest on the calendar. Following the scrapped 2020 fest, organisers drew up a COVIDsafe format “within weeks,” a statement reads, with an all-local line-up featuring the likes of Jimmy Barnes, Tash Sultana, Ocean Alley, Ziggy Alberts, The Teskey Brothers and many more.

Bluesfest moved swiftly to announce an “October Edition,” set for October 1-4, 2021 at the Byron Events Farm, Tyagarah, with a bill featuring Midnight Oil, Russell Morris, Vika & Linda, The Church, Ocean Alley, Briggs, Xavier Rudd and more.

Read the Economic Impact Report 2021.

This story has been updated with the headline figure of $181.2 million. An earlier figure of $250 million was erroneously supplied. 

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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