One day after the organisers of Byron Bay Bluesfest released a glowing report card of the event's contribution to the NSW economy, another returning festival is now officially a wash out with Splendour in the Grass cancelling all main stage events for today.
This means major acts such as the Gorillaz, The Avalanches, Jungle, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Sofi Tukker and many more will not be performing today, after wet conditions overnight led to a cold and muddy mess for tens of thousands of campers and would-be revellers eager to celebrate the event's return after a three-year hiatus.
Splendour in the Grass organisers said a decision was made as a significant weather system was sitting off the east coast and may reach land today bringing more rainfall.
"In the interest of patron safety and in consultation with all relevant emergency services, we have decided to err on the side of caution and cancel performances on the main stages today only - Amphitheatre, Mix Up, GW McLennan and Park(lands) Stages," the organisers wrote in a statement.
"All of our destination spaces (Global Village, Tipi Forest, Forum, Comedy and Science tents etc.) will remain open today for patrons who are already onsite as well as those at our satellite campground at Byron Events Farm. Please relax and enjoy what is open.
"Day patrons are asked not to attend to the festival today while we work on repairs. In the coming week Moshtix will be in contact with the ticket holders affected directly, via the email address used to purchase their ticket, for further information on refunds."
In the coming weeks, Moshtix will be in contact with ticketholders who are directly affected for further information on refunds.
"We ask for patience while we work through the refund process," the organisers wrote.
"Please be assured that our event team is working very hard to provide the best experience possible under the current circumstances. We look forward to Saturday and Sunday programming moving ahead as planned."
Sunshine would be nice for #SITG but I’ve done Glastonbury plenty of times in the mud and it’s always amazing. I’m ready to get filthy today ??? #Splendour#SplendourInTheGrasspic.twitter.com/fggbNk31pG— Leon Sjogren (@Leonsjogren) July 21, 2022
The statement came after Splendour announced it would not be accepting any more campers or vehicles, including day parking at North Byron Parklands (NBP), following an ordeal that saw many waiting in queues for up to 12 hours.
The situation is in sharp contrast to the positive impact reported for the Byron Bay Bluesfest in April, which a study has found generated an estimated value add of $143.9 million for the local Northern Rivers economy this year, as well as $232 million for the state.
The evaluation stems from an Economic Impact Report released by Reuben Lawrence Consulting this week, which assessed the economic and associated tourism impact of Bluesfest 2022.
Revellers who attended the five-day festival to watch a lineup that included headline acts Crowded House, Midnight Oil, and The Cat Empire, spent a daily average of $418 per person enjoying the festivities while contributing significantly to the local economy.
“It was hard work - but the Bluesfest team, god bless them, pulled through. The music was brilliant, and the vibe was electric!” Bluesfest group owner and festival director Peter Noble OAM said.
“We faced storms and floods to deliver Bluesfest’s greatest festival so far. The performances were unforgettable! Every single artist performed, all 106 of them, even with some members out with COVID.
“We had our highest number of individual ticket buyers ever. We came in as the world’s highest-grossing festival in Pollstar’s first six months of 2022 Box Office Score. We created 1,348 full-time jobs in the flood-ravaged Northern Rivers and caused $224.6 million to be spent in the region from people attending Bluesfest, separate from the spending on our site – what an amazing result.”
Situated at Byron Events Farm (formerly the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm), 10 minutes north of Byron Bay, Bluesfest has showcased a predominantly Aussie music bill (with some special international guests from NZ, the USA, Africa and the UK) since it began in 1990.
The festival had been cancelled the previous two years due to Public Health Orders, including a forced closure by the NSW State Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, less than 24 hours before gates were due to open in 2021.
Attendances were up almost 30 per cent from 2019, with 48,326 people passing through the gates. This contributed to the full-time employment of 1,348.5 people and brought in an estimated total income of $57.2 million in the Northern Rivers region.
This represents an upgrade to previous indications in April when festival organisers noted the number of tickets sold was almost at pre-COVID levels.
The results, which show strong growth since 2019 across all sectors, illustrate the economic importance of Bluesfest to not only the local community in Byron Bay but the wider region.
Comparing the overall impact/contribution of Bluesfest 2022 to the economy of Byron Shire, the total value added impact of $70.2 million represents approximately 3.3 per cent of the total Byron Shire GRP ($2.1 billion).
The report does, however, note that the economic output impacts are overstated as they count all goods and services used in one production stage as an input to later stages of production – measuring their contribution more than once.
The economic impact assessment follows a mid-year report from the trade publication Pollstar, which ranked Bluesfest as the highest-grossing Australian event during the first six months of 2022.
Bluesfest 2022 placed ninth globally for box office sales, two places above the Rolling Stones tour and 10 places above the Paul McCartney tour.
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