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Byron Shire
December 9, 2023

Bluesfest 2021 cancelled, 2022 event announced

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‘It’s only 35 weeks to Easter – LET’S GO TEAM !!’

Bluesfest Director Peter Noble ended his latest media releases on one of the only positive notes a regular festival fan might find in the unsurprising announcement of the event’s second postponement this year: planning was underway for the 2022 program.

Bluesfest normally happened over the Easter holiday but was cancelled in 2020 and postponed at virtually the last minute in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

With all of NSW in an extended lockdown and the state’s premier saying she didn’t expect COVID-19 vaccination targets to be realised until October or November, Mr Noble on Tuesday announced Bluesfest’s October 2021 event was off.

Bluesfest 2022 was scheduled to be a four-day event starting Friday 15 April but with a ‘special event’ happening Thursday 14th, and due to end Monday 18 April, the official Easter long-weekend.

An easy decision to make

‘It is obvious that we cannot present Bluesfest in a safe manner in October,’ Mr Noble said via his media release, ‘so we have re-scheduled back to our usual timing’.

Mr Noble said festival organisers expected ‘things to be returning to normal’ by Easter next year.

The festival director said the team wasn’t ‘giving up’ and that while he thought the decision to call off the event again would be hard to make, it was ‘the reverse’.

‘The safety and protection of our loyal Bluesfesters, our festival staff, our performers, our volunteers, stallholders and suppliers is paramount, and I will not put anyone at risk right now,’ Mr Noble said, ‘so the decision to re-schedule was a no-brainer’.

‘I am confident that, by the end of this year, Australia will have achieved at least a 70-80% vaccination rate and will have achieved at least Stage Three in the plan to open up the whole country,’ Mr Noble continued.

‘Lockdowns will be consigned to history,’ he said, ‘perhaps we may even see international artists returning’.

Celebrating Aussie and NZ talent, with hopes of more international acts

Mr Noble is known to have spent much of his time pre-pandemnic scouting for new international talent to show at Bluesfest and said if overseas acts could come to Australia, his festival team would be presenting them.

In the meantime, he said, almost all artists scheduled for the all-Aussie October 2021 lineup would be on next Easter’s program including Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Jimmy Barnes, Pete Murray, Kasey chambers, John Butler and Xavier Rudd.

‘Only two or three can’t make it,’ Mr Noble said, before adding that Fat Feddy’s Drop, Josh Tesky and Ash Grunwalk, John Williamson and C.W. Stoneking had agreed to play.

The festival would also feature a Rockwiz Live event, based on the hit SBS television show.

More acts would be announced in the leadup to next year’s festival, Mr Noble said.

‘In the meantime, I do ask and urge every ticket holder to hold on to their October ticket – and roll it over to Easter,’ he said, ‘I promise you will not be disappointed’.

‘Rest assured, we will continue to offer refunds until after the new artist announcement.’

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  1. Social Distancing is the problem.
    No one will have a festival in Australia when that Festival can not control Social Distancing.
    What you do is you partician everyone off in slots of 1.5 metres with a fence.
    If that can not be achieved, then the 2022 Festival could be cancelled.
    Maybe I could write a column on it?
    But the Byron Echo is now only 40 pages and reducing downwards.

  2. 633 cases in NSW of community transmission in today. The graph is not looking good. The Doherty report sets milestones of 70% and 80% vaccination rates before any talk of easing restrictions and opening borders. That however is based on low numbers of community transmission.

    Does anyone feel optimistic that other states and territories will open their borders to us by Easter next year? Does anyone feel like they will b welcoming Sydney artists and connections into the region even by Easter next year.


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