Byron Bay Bluesfest2012, Dubmarine, with the crowd dancing in Jambalaya.
Byron Bay Bluesfest2012, Dubmarine, with the crowd dancing in Jambalaya. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Bluesfest, not just music

WITH the 2013 Byron Bay Bluesfest getting closer and closer, the public are being reminded that Bluesfest is a lot more than music.

In fact, Bluesfest has been nominated in the 24th Annual Pollstar Awards "International Festival of the Year" category, making it the first Australian festival to be nominated twice by this prestigious international awards system.

Bluesfest isn't just a music festival; it's also a positive venture in more than one way for the community, as Bluesfest director/producer Peter Noble has said on more than one occasion.

First, there is the festival's widely-known stance towards environmental sustainability.

Bluesfest only allows recyclable packaging and plastic on site from stalls and suppliers and there are clearly marked recycling stations placed around the site, and work with the motto "Waste Wise - Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle".

In 2011-2012, Bluesfest took on a collaring program with the Koala Ecology Group at The University of Queensland to understand the health and behaviour of koalas in and around the Bluesfest site.

They also used this project to understand whether the koala's behaviour or health changed during the days of Bluesfest, as they did not want to affect local wildlife.

Bluesfest was also internationally recognised and awarded a commendation by the A Greener Festival award system as "a well-managed and environmentally aware festival".

Then there are their charitable exercises. One of the major charity fund- raising ventures Bluesfest has undertaken over the past 10 years has been the guitar raffle for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation which will be running again this year.

The guitars, donated by Gibson Guitars and signed by artists performing, are then raffled off over the course of the festival - an exercise which has raised more than $200,000 to date.

Mr Noble has also set up a Bluesfest sub-fund via The Northern Rivers Community Foundation, an independent philanthropic foundation dedicated to improving the lives of people in our region who most need support.

On the Bluesfest website, Mr Noble writes: "Bluesfest is proud of the work we do with charities. Our aim is to bring awareness to good causes through money-raising activities."

"Our charity work is an important element of Bluesfest's social responsibility and it is our continuous quest to increase public awareness, so that public attitudes become more sympa- thetic and supportive."

For more info on the festival, visit the bluesfest website.



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