Bluesfest organisers have responded to ticketholder concerns about whether the festival will be able to take place this October, following its shock last-minute cancellation back in April amid an outbreak of locally-transmitted coronavirus cases.
In a new letter, organisers acknowledged they had yet to make a call. As The Music reports, organisers said they understood the desire from ticketholders for answers, and opted for transparency, ultimately revealing that a reschedule of the planned October dates is becoming more likely.
“The COVID-situation in NSW is at large, once again. This time with a strain that has increasingly been more difficult for State Governments to contain,” the letter reads. “And as the clusters begin to pop up in more places and continue to grow exponentially, a reschedule of our October event is becoming ever more likely.
“But, what does it take to firstly know that we can achieve a reschedule, have the resources necessary to do so, and then publicly announce this? To put it simply, A LOT. We value you and all of the support you have given us,” it continues.
“We know you’re hungry for a festival and for live music – nothing can replace it… and the last thing we want to do is reschedule. However with the current situation, we are not confident that we can deliver a safe and successful event in October – and, in the end, that’s the bottom line. We’re not giving up – we want to put on Bluesfest SO BAD! But we cannot until we know that we can achieve this at a standard worth presenting.”
Bluesfest was originally supposed to take place this year across the Easter Long Weekend, but an outbreak of community transmission saw the event cancelled due to a Public Health Order just one day before it was supposed to commence. The Byron Bay festival was rescheduled for October 1-4, with a lineup that included Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Jimmy Barnes, Tash Sultana and more.
Speaking to Music Feeds in May, Bluesfest’s Peter Noble was asked whether he’d considered scrapping 2021 event entirely considering the cancellation earlier this year. “People go, ‘Are you mad, trying to come back again?’ But we’ve got to stand up for our industry,” he replied.
“You’ve got to be fighters and you can’t give up or wait to see what happens. We have to cause our industry to get back. That was my statement going into the Easter event and it hasn’t changed going into October.”
Earlier this week, Bluesfest shared an Economic Impact Assessment report for 2021, revealing the devastating effect of the festival’s April cancellation. The report, commissioned by Bluesfest and delivered by Reuben Lawrence Counsulting, estimated that the Easter event’s last-minute cancellation resulted in over $181 million in losses for the economy, and impacted nearly 900 full-time jobs.
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