‘How wonderful’: Bluesfest’s Peter Noble responds to NSW’s reopening plan
Bluesfest festival director Peter Noble is feeling good about the prospects of the 33rd iteration of his festival going ahead in 2022, issuing an emphatic statement of support for the NSW Government’s COVID-19 recovery roadmap.
The festival has been besieged by COVID-19 in recent years, with the 2020 event called off due to COVID-19 lockdowns, and hopes for a revival in 2021 dashed at the 11th hour. Its rescheduled October event was also canned.
Noble has repeatedly called for more support for the live sector, drawing attention to the economic impact of the cancellations and uncertainty, but has also noted each time Bluesfest gets knocked down, it comes back with bolder plans and an even stronger lineup.
He said the past couple of years had been a really tough journey for Bluesfest and the wider live music sector, but with the new plans in place it feels like Christmas has come early.
“How wonderful it is to be able to tell all of you Bluesfest will be happening – officially,” he said.
Between now and Easter 2022, Noble said the group will work with the NSW Department of Health to develop its COVID-19 Safety Plan to ensure the event is safe.
“The NSW premier’s announcement leads us to believe that it will be quite different from what we may have originally expected – by that we mean it will be much closer to a normal Bluesfest after all,” Noble said. “We suspect, based on the NSW premier’s statement on Monday, that entry conditions may differ for those who choose to remain unvaccinated than for those fully vaccinated, but those details are not clear yet.
“What truly matters is that we will be in a position to present to everyone, and that the world is opening up again. By the time Bluesfest 2022 comes around, that same world will be at a place that allows us to present our festival, complete with all its magic.”
The event is reverting to its five-day format, kicking off on Thursday, April 14 with a roll call of talent selected by Noble himself. There will also be an all-Indigenous component, plus an evening of special performances curated by a legend of the Australian music industry, Noble promised.
Noble also paid tribute to Bluesfest patrons and said they have inspired organisers to keep going throughout the recent arduous times.
“Take a bow. You are brilliant. And now we can truly see the light. We can’t wait to present Bluesfest at Easter next year. It’s going to be a celebration like no other in history.”