Floods, pandemics, 11th-hour ministerial interventions… Bluesfest seems to have copped it all over the past three years.
Now, finally, it seems the show will go on.
Despite parts of the Bluesfest site at Tyagarah going under during last week’s torrential downpour, the event is going ahead, according to Director Peter Noble.
‘Rest assured, Bluesfest is on,’ Mr Noble said last week. ‘Some car parks and camping grounds did experience flash flooding, but the water is subsiding quickly.
‘The load-in continues, the tents are ready to be raised, and with less than two weeks to go before we open our gates, the forward weather report is good, with plenty of sun forecast daily.
‘We are optimistic that our grounds will dry out, and our site will be ready.’
The news is a much-needed shot in the arm for the local entertainment industry, which has suffered massive impacts from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also a significant boost for the local visitor economy, which is gradually hauling itself back onto its feet following the Omicron outbreak and the devastating flooding double dose.
The economic loss in 2021, when Health Minister Bad Hazzard cancelled the festival at the last minute, was estimated to be $181.2m, including job losses of 897 [FTE] totalling $44.2m.
‘We lost so much when Bluesfest was cancelled less than 24 hours out by NSW Public Health Order,’ Mr Noble said. ‘Our entire industry was traumatised, yet we picked up the pieces and put ourselves back together.’
While ticket sales at the festival are unlikely to be back to pre-COVID levels, organisers are hopeful that live music fans across the country will get behind the event.
The ongoing impact of the pandemic has led to the creation of a line-up featuring mainly Australian artists.
It features four of the biggest names in Australian music history – Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Crowded House (okay, they’re not technically Australian) and Jimmy Barnes.
The Byron Busking competition is also back, giving a handful of local artists the chance to share their music on a vast stage.
Bluesfest will take place over five days from Thursday April 14 to Monday April 18 at the Byron Events Farm, Tyagarah, NSW.
All ticket options, plus camping, parking and VIP, are on sale now via www.bluesfest.com.au.