Paddy Mac, Meg Newton, Bridie Rawson and Jacqui Latta enjoying the Byron Bay Bluesfest 2019. Photo by Natalie Grono
Paddy Mac, Meg Newton, Bridie Rawson and Jacqui Latta enjoying the Byron Bay Bluesfest 2019. Photo by Natalie Grono

Bluesfest Byron Bay set to go ahead, despite COVID scare

Update March 31: The festival was cancelled by the NSW Government a day before its start.

Update 5.15pm: Bluesfest Byron Bay is going ahead this weekend.

A statement from festival director Peter Noble assured ticket holders hat the five-day event is going ahead this Easter weekend.

"We are continuing to monitor the situation closely to ensure the event is COVID-safe," he said.

Mr Noble confirmed he had been in contact with NSW Health this morning and spoken with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

"We are expecting further updates from NSW Health and will remain in close contact in the coming days," he said.

"Based on advice from NSW Health, we are not allowing ticket holders that are affected by the three-day Queensland lockdown to attend the festival on the first day, Thursday April 1.

"We will keep ticket buyers from the affected area updated and advise them to check with the Queensland government to check regularly for updates on the current three-day lockdown."

The lockdowns cover the council areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Moreton Bay, Logan and Redlands.

"We are in continuous conversation with NSW Health and are committed to provide patron, artist and staff safety at all times, when visiting Bluesfest," Mr Noble said.

"This is our biggest priority, and we will keep you updated."

A list of Do's and don't at this year's Bluesfest 2021 release by organisers include: 

·       Do not attend the event if you show any symptoms of COVID-19.

·       Sign into the Service NSW QR code.

·       Stay socially distanced at all times.

·       Stay in your designated zone.

·       Sign into your designed zone daily.

·       Stay seated during performances.

·       Wash hands and use sanitiser.

·       Avoid co-mingling with other patrons.

·       For campers, stay in your designated camp areas.

·       Follow the direction of Bluesfest Staff and COVID-19 marshals.

The statement from Mr Noble included no details on possible refunds for people from the affected areas who have purchased tickets, or anyone else who may have decided not to attend. 

Due to the closure of the Beach Hotel in Byron Bay, Monday's  semi finals of the Bluesfest Busking Competition "have been cancelled and we are awaiting further advice on when it will be rescheduled to," according to a statement by the venue posted on their social media.

Original story: NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has asked Brisbane residents not to attend Bluesfest Byron Bay this Easter long weekend.

Bluesfest 2021 will be held at the Byron Events Farm (formerly Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm) from April 1 to 5.

Mr Hazzard said the festival would be attended by 9000 to 16,500 people each day.

"What I would say to the people of Brisbane who may have bought tickets to come is don't come," he said.

"Obviously, if the government in Queensland extends the lockdown - and I am not saying they will at this stage - tickets from Brisbane clearly will not be welcome.

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"I've spoken to the organisers and I understand arrangement will be put in place for refunds."

Mr Hazzard then suggested those from the local area who had visited Brisbane lately should also not to attend the event.

"In essence, people who have not been to Brisbane, who have not been to the Greater Brisbane area that has been highlighted by the Queensland Government, yes, you are welcome, but nobody else," he said.

Bluesfest organisers have been contacted for comment.

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