22 C
Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Festival of COVID-19

Latest News

No accountability for proven police misconduct

On Australia Day in 1998, I was the legal observer for the ‘Nude Ain’t Rude’ rally at Belongil Beach.

Other News

Overcharging and misrepresentation

Josh Scrivener, Palmwoods Three weeks ago I looked online to buy a Bluesfest 2021 ticket. The Google ad directed me...

An insult, Poppa

From what I can understand, Poppa Veet Mayo’s letter seems to imply that this latest COVID scare is a...

Man charged with assault after death at Coffs Harbour

A man will face court today charged with assault as inquiries continue into the death of a man at Coffs Harbour after an altercation on Saturday.

MardiGrass is on and Nimbin is ready to roll

The recent cancellation of Bluesfest sent a shiver up the spine of MardiGrass host Michael Balderstone, as visions of the same fate awaiting the annual protest at Nimbin came too close for comfort.

Help from Red Cross for flood-affected communities in NSW

With disasters coming thick and fast as the climate emergency worsens, Australian Red Cross this morning launched financial help for flood-affected communities in NSW.

Step up, Ben

Martin Corben, Lennox Head With the cancellation of Bluesfest now would be a good time for the NSW state government’s...

Oliver Dunne, Byron Bay

In the past few days, the NSW government appears to have changed direction on managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Not surprisingly, this has left many who had praised its performance and its ‘slow and steady’ strategy feeling totally confused. Suddenly, accelerating a ‘snap back’ to the pre-March economy appears to be the new narrative.

However, there has been no update by our Premier of what is proposed for the big music festivals scheduled for Byron Shire – Splendour in October, and the Falls Festival over the New Year’s break.

I have always been a supporter of the ‘Shire of festivals’ concept. But in this period of COVID-19, and without a vaccine, the question has to be asked: ‘Is our Shire fully prepared for bringing up to 50,000 people together for three days and then letting them loose on the unprotected towns of Byron Bay, Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads?’

Large intense religious festivals in France and Iran led to uncontrolled COVID-19 outbreaks in these countries. In South Korea, one church gathering affected hundreds. Ditto for the Cheltenham Race Festival in March, where thousands gathered before the lockdown, and then spread the infection into all corners of the UK and Ireland. This event was held days before the UK abandoned its ‘herd immunity without a vaccine’ policy.

For the past six weeks, Wategos Beach has been packed out with young surfers, both local and visiting, all taking advantage of the excellent surf and abundant time to spare. Observing the under-30’s it’s patently clear that they practice zero social distancing, with handshakes, kissing and hugging remaining the norm. They just don’t get it. I understand that, as the feeling of invincibility has always been the essence of youth.

As a deteriorating senior, I don’t mind hiding away a bit longer if it helps young people get back to work earlier, and gets local businesses back up and running. I want to see restaurants reopen, chefs employed and music makers fed. If that’s the deal, I’m happy. However, on the other side of the bargain, we look to our State government and Council not to take unnecessary risks in expediting the return to ‘normal’ economic activity. One Ruby Princess is enough.

If these festivals do go ahead, the organisers will have a COVID-19 safety plan for their customers. But for the community at large, Council should prepare its own special COVID-19 safety plan to make sure Byron doesn’t become known as the origin of the second wave.

So, councillors: if you intend to permit these festivals, let us know very soon about how you propose to protect us.

After all, we are all in this together, aren’t we?

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Please Oliver, don’t give out Premier ideas. In the absence of a successful vaccine this would seem unthinkable but anything is possible under the pressure of big money. I think the only viable safety plan for Council would be mass evacuation of the shire. I would hope someone else pays for it!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Pottsville policing forum asks the hard questions

Members of the Pottsville and Tweed Coast community say that in response to an increase in criminal activity in the area and their request for increased police presence, they were hosting a police presentation at Pottsville.

Coalition ‘hellbent’

Mat Morris, Bangalow The NSW coalition seems to be hellbent on outdoing their federal counterparts when it comes to the denigration of women and protection of...

An insult, Poppa

From what I can understand, Poppa Veet Mayo’s letter seems to imply that this latest COVID scare is a government conspiracy (yes, another one). To...

Upgrades for Lighthouse Parade in Ballina

One of the showcase areas of Ballina is about to get a safety and aesthetic upgrade, with the Lighthouse Parade Pedestrian Precinct and Road Safety Project commencing soon.