Blues boss seeks new home for festival

By MEGAN KINNINMENT

BYRON Shire would lose the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival if the community failed to back plans to find a permanent site for the event, Blues director Peter Noble has warned.

"The Blues Festival is a major event on the world calendar," he said.

"We need a home. The time has come."

Mr Noble said the festival, now in its 15th year, had outgrown the Red Devil's football ground at Byron Bay, which could accommodate only a temporary festival.

"We're not a travelling circus," he said.

Mr Noble said the preferred new permanent home would be a 162-hectare Tyagarah tea-tree farm, but the Tyagarah Progress Association has voiced concerns over hosting the event.

If there was not enough sup- port from Byron Shire Council, or the community, Mr Noble said he would consider alternative sites at Ballina, Lismore or the Tweed; or could even move the event to the Woodford Folk Festival site in Queensland.

"The site at Tyagarah is one of the very few sites in Byron Shire that would be suitable," he said.

"It's near a main road, and has a service road. There are very few houses near it.

"What you look for is a site that is as close as possible to the main highway, and where you will not interrupt the neighbours, to cause as little impact as possible."

Mr Noble said preliminary studies into potential noise effects and flora and fauna studies had confirmed the Tyagarah site was the best.

"I believe to a great degree this is a community decision, and it is up to the council to show some leadership now," he said.



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