Organisers of the Byron Bay Surf Festival (BBSF) say this year’s fifth annual event will not go ahead, blaming lack of major sponsorship as well as council and government red tape for the decision.
Festival director Mike Jahn and co-founders Vanessa Thompson and James McMillan said in a media statement that after four years of successful events and winning the recent Surf Culture Award from Surfing Australia, ‘the decision was neither taken lightly nor easy to come by’.
The festival had become a regular part of Byron Shire’s community event calendar, and was widely known for its fun, creativity and innovative flair.
‘It both reflected and inspired the unique Byron Bay surfing community and its vast global reaches. BBSF always intended to be a free community festival to encourage, support and inspire handcraft, the arts, sustainability, beauty and goodness amongst fellow ocean-minded people. To this end, it has proved itself year in year out,’ organisers said.
But they added that ‘regulatory hurdles’ imposed by Byron Shire Council and the NSW Government, alongside the lack of major sponsor support for the 2015 event were impossible to overcome, ‘rendering the festival logistically and financially unviable this year.’
Despite being ‘stifled’, BBSF organisers have not given up just yet but are focusing on keeping their unique surf culture festival alive.
Festival director Mike Jahn said, ‘Arts and culture needs to be supported and encouraged rather than suppressed, as [this is what] leads to a stimulated and colourful society, which in turn creates participant citizens.
‘We encourage the community to come forward with any major funding contacts and investors who may see the benefit of sustaining this event for many years to come,’ Mr. Jahn added.
The BBSF has thanked everyone who supported it over the last few years.
‘Previous festivals were a great achievement and even though BBSF will not be celebrated this year, the trust to regain momentum and continue in 2016 is unbroken,’ organiser said.
Investors or anyone wishing to support BBSF can contact the festival at [email protected]
Keep an eye out for 2016 festival dates on www.byronbaysurffestival.com