The Byron Bay Bluesfest suffered an agonising loss after the last-minute cancellation of the 2021 festival due to COVID-19 back in April. Releasing a statement yesterday, it was announced that the Australian economy lost a total of $181.2 million because of the cancellation.
Conducted by Reuben Lawrence Consulting, the report details the economic impact that the cancellation of the festival had to the event and tourism industry and the wider Australian economy.
With a total loss of $181.2 million, the impact of the cancellation affected the entire region of the Byron Shire to the tune of $50.9 million, whilst the Northern Rivers also suffered a loss of $97.7 million. The estimated economic loss for the entire state of New South Wales was $171 million.
The report states that the cancellation resulted in a loss of approximately 897 full time jobs across Australia through direct employment positions, indirectly through other industries and via household consumption, which would have led to $44.2 million income through wages and salaries.
For comparison, the reported total loss of foregone tourism spending for the cancellation of Bluesfest 2020 was reported at $217 million, as well as losing around 1,203 full-time employee positions and $61.3 million in wages nationwide.
Bluesfest was originally supposed to occur over the Easter long weekend back in April. Instead, it was sadly cancelled less than a full day before it was due to start after a single case of COVID-19 was reported in the Byron Bay area. This also came after the festival was cancelled in 2020 as well due to COVID-19.
In spite of this, Bluesfest 2021 still reportedly produced a national economic output of $33.8 million as well as $7.2 million in wages this year, not including the additional contribution from Bluesfest Touring. Of this, $8.7m was reported as direct economic output and $1.2m in direct wages by the festival.
The fourth round of funding from the Federal Government’s RISE (Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand) initiative was announced last week with Bluesfest 2021 receiving $2.4 million of the allocation, the largest portion to be received by any of the 82 projects sharing the pot.
The intention for the grant is to allow Bluesfest to ‘reignite’ this October, following consecutive COVID-19 cancellations in 2020 and 2021, but with the latest lockdowns plaguing the east coast, the likelihood of the event going ahead in October remains to be seen.
If COVID-19 restrictions ease, Bluesfest plans to go ahead from October 1 to 4 with a stellar line-up of all Australian performers at the Byron Events Farm in Tyagarah. For more information on the 2021 Byron Bay Bluesfest, click here.
Photo: Evan Malcolm