What Bluesfest cancellation means for ticket holders
The Minister for Health signed a public health order on Wednesday, cancelling the Bluesfest Byron Bay 2021.
A spokesman for NSW Health explained the decision in a statement.
"This action is being taken to minimise the risk of the highly infectious COVID-19 variant of concern being transmitted in the local area, as well as across states and territories."
"Infectious Queensland travellers attended a number of venues in the Byron Bay area and the new locally acquired case was infected at one of these venues.
"NSW Health acknowledges that the cancellation of Bluesfest is disappointing for ticket holders and event organisers, however while urgent investigations and contact tracing are ongoing, NSW Health is adopting a cautious approach to keep everyone safe."
The announcement came at a time when 5000 to 16,500 people were expected to congregate at Tyagarah, north of Byron Bay, for the traditional five-day Easter festival.
The 2020 Bluesfest was also cancelled due to COVID restrictions.
From 10am Wednesday, music lovers started to arrive to the site to set camp and get ready for the music, which this year featured an all-Australian line up.
Bluesfest was scheduled to return after being cancelled in 2020 by a public health order and had worked diligently to present the event in 2021. We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has spread into our local community.
Bluesfest director Preter Noble was devastated to confirm the news at only hours from the beginning of the event.
"We are getting the message out as quickly as possible so that those traveling to the event can make alternate arrangements," he said.
"The Bluesfest team has worked day and night for a year to achieve the approved COVID-19 Safety Plan - the first of its kind in the music industry and have been told by the NSW Health that it exceeded other major sporting events in its depth and ability to protect the public.
"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.
"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.
"We will be having discussions regarding Bluesfest postponement and will update everybody soon. However, this weekend we will be packing down the event that was cancelled within 24 hours of gates due to open.
"Please do not come to the festival site. All patrons will be contacted by Moshtix directly once we have an update on how to proceed."
Since the festival was cancelled by the government, via a public health order, ticket holders will be eligible for refunds, as they were in 2020, according to the event's Terms and Conditions, according to the festival's website.
"To eradicate any risk for the customer, should the event be cancelled by government, Bluesfest 2021 ticket income will be held in a locked bank account," Bluesfest's website stated in its Frequently Asked Questions section.
"If the event is unable to proceed on the advertised date or location by Government order, Bluesfest reserves the right to reschedule the event, and offer a credit or exchange to the rescheduled date, or offer a refund request window of 28 days."
This is in relation to the Live Performance Australia Ticketing Code, part E.
As it was the case in 2020, ticket vendor Moshtix will be required to contact ticket holders to start the refund process.