BYRON BAY, NSW (CelebrityAccess) — Organizers for one of Australia’s premiere music, the Byron Bay Bluesfest, announced that the event has been canceled by public health officials just hours before the gates were due to open for the festival’s 2021 edition.
In a statement, Bluesfest organizers said: “After consultations with NSW Health and the NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, sadly they have arrived at the decision that it is in the interests of the safety of everyone the festival be cancelled over the Easter period and rescheduled to a later date.”
“This is one of the most difficult statements I have ever had to make. We really wanted to be at the forefront of the return of live music at Pre-COVID-19 level,” added Bluesfest Director Peter Noble. “We feel deeply for everybody affected, the fans, the artists, and the hard-working Bluesfest team. But in the end, the health of our community must come first.”
The festival was set to kick off on Thursday, April 1st and run through Monday, April 5th but was canceled by the New South Wales Ministry of Health on Tuesday after a local man tested positive for a coronavirus variant, raising the specter of community spread.
“Infectious Queensland travelers attended a number of venues in the Byron Bay area and the new locally acquired case was infected at one of these venues,” a statement from the NSW Ministry of Health said.
“NSW Health acknowledges that the cancellation of Bluesfest is disappointing for ticket holders and event organizers, however while urgent investigations and contact tracing are ongoing, NSW Health is adopting a cautious approach to keep everyone safe,” the ministry said in a statement
Bluesfest organizers urged fans not to make the trip to the festival site and are working to reschedule the festival for a future date in 2021, but as of yet, no official announcement for a date change has been made.
The cancellation is the second year in a row that the festival has been canceled due to COVID-19.
“I hope that ticket holders would support Bluesfest and hold on to their tickets as I understand Bluesfest will be working on a new date as soon as possible,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard added in a statement.