Tent city: Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park manager Paul Brooks (left) and guests Jennifer Hamilton, John Coulombe, Heather and Rex Trumble admire the permanent tents set up for Bluesfest.
Tent city: Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park manager Paul Brooks (left) and guests Jennifer Hamilton, John Coulombe, Heather and Rex Trumble admire the permanent tents set up for Bluesfest. Marc Stapelberg

Byron Bluesfest expects 17,500

MORE than 17,500 people are expected to pour into Byron Shire this Easter – and that’s just those heading to the Bluesfest.

Tickets for the event are continuing to sell steadily, and organisers say the capacity mark for Saturday and Sunday nights is rapidly being approached.

Accommodation in the town is running out, except for some camping and at the high end, but there is still availability in Ballina and Lismore.

Brunswick Heads has experienced an unusual number of inquiries for accommodation, because the Bluesfest has moved north of Byron to Tyagarah this year.

The town is ‘chocker block full’, according to a visitor centre volunteer.

For Suffolk Park Holiday Park manager Paul Brooks, Easter will be an opportunity to show off the new permanent ‘safari camp’ style tents they have spent the past several months designing and installing.

The tents have a hard floor and their own power and water and their soft walls give a camping feel.

“It saves people having to put up their own tents, and if it rains, it saves them a lot of trouble,” Mr Brooks said.

Suffolk Park was a little outside of town, Mr Brooks said, ‘but we get the overflow, as well as our regulars’.

“People say they come here for a holiday as well as the Bluesfest,” he said.

During the days of the festival the park became ‘eerily quiet’, Mr Brooks said, because everyone was at the show.

Audrey Donald, a receptionist at Sunrise Caravan Park in the centre of Byron, said music fans were expected to start arriving tomorrow.

Rules requiring a seven-night booking meant most would be around a few days after the festival, she said.

It was hoped some of them would venture further afield throughout the region, said Northern Rivers Tourism chief Russell Mills.

Andrew Walker, of the Nimbin Visitor Centre, was confident the town would be booming over the holiday weekend.

Nimbin’s target market was travellers from southeast Queensland who chose to drive south to the area via the scenic route, through Murwillumbah and Nightcap National Park, he said.

He also expected visitors either side of Bluesfest.

Lismore always experienced some overflow from the Bluesfest, Lismore Alive co-ordinator Mitch Low said.

The town’s accommodation was ‘close to capacity’, he said.

Bluesfest fans also liked self-contained venues in places such as Rosebank and Dunoon, he said.

 

EASTER CROWDS

Byron Bay: some camping available, plus high-end.

Ballina: caravan parks full; motels filling up.

Lismore: close to capacity.



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