April 23, 2021

NSW Labor calls to save Bluesfest, establish business interruption fund

NSW Labor calls to save Bluesfest, establish business interruption fund

The NSW state opposition is calling on the Berejiklian Government to provide financial support for Bluesfest, which was forced to cancel a day out from its 2021 instalment.

Bluesfest was cancelled by a public health order following fears of COVID-19 transmission in the Byron Bay area after one new locally acquired case was reported.

“We really wanted to be at the forefront of the return of live music at pre-COVID-19 level,” Bluesfest director, Peter Noble, said at the time.

“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.”

Now, shadow music minister John Graham has reiterated calls for some form of business interruption fund, which would cushion the blow for festivals that are forced to postpone or cancel due to the pandemic. Following its cancellation, Graham said NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet’s comments on a fund were “encouraging”, but there has been no follow-up since.

“Festivals who saw Bluesfest forced to close the gates 24 hours before the event won’t be back unless they’re given greater certainty; this is one way to do it,” Graham said in a statement.

“Millions of dollars were invested in the event which provided thousands of jobs for artists, crews, managers, promoters and music workers.”

A similar proposal for a federal business interruption fund was put forward by Live Performance Australia last year, which put the loss of economic output at $24 billion at the time. LPA has also claimed Bluesfest’s sudden cancellation cost the festival more than $10 million.

Graham added: “Festivals are currently planning now for the summer season.

“NSW needs to know where this is up to and when live music can safely plan for the future.”