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Cancellation of Bluesfest caused loss of A$320.5m for NSW economy – report

A new report has highlighted the damage caused to the New South Wales economy by cancelling Bluesfest, while Lollapalooza unveils a four-day virtual festival and the French music industry pushes for clarity on reopening…


The cancellation of Australia’s Byron Bay Bluesfest in April due to COVID-19 caused a loss of A$320.5m ($228.7m/€195.6m/£177.2m) for the economy, according to a new report.

The Economic Impact Report, which is annually undertaken by Reuben Lawrence Consulting and commissioned by Bluesfest, found that the cancellation resulted in a detriment of A$116.9m for the local Northern Rivers region and A$203.6m for the New South Wales economy.

It also found a shortfall of 745.3 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the Northern Rivers and 1,158 FTE jobs in NSW.

Peter Noble, the director of the festival that welcomes more than 100,000 fans each year, called the loss to the economy “a tragedy,” Pollstar reports.

He said: “The economic impact reports [EIR] we have commissioned clearly demonstrate that because of the COVID-19 pandemic our community is not only culturally poorer but also financially poorer.

“We therefore made the conscious decision to go ahead with Bluesfest 2021, with the awareness that we need to present the festival as a COVID-19 safe event, and we are working with the relevant authorities to ensure that happens, so the public can remain safe and to provide the wealth and jobs in the future that Bluesfest creates.

“We have 1,500 people in the form of production staff, event contractors, bar staff etc. and 500 artists, working directly on our festival every Easter, who all want to go back to work.”

Lollapalooza 2020

Organisers of US festival Lollapalooza, which was cancelled in June due to COVID-19 concerns, have announced a four-day virtual music festival to be hosted on YouTube.

The digital event, Lolla2020, which will take place from July 30 to August 2, will feature over 150 performances with original new performances from Kali Uchis, H.E.R., Vic Mensa and more, alongside archived sets by Paul McCartney, The Cure, Arcade Fire and Lorde, among others.

The festival’s founder and Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell will stream a trio of performances, including a tribute to David Bowie, as well as host conversations with industry regulars like Lars Ulrich and Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.

In addition, Michelle Obama will make a guest appearance to promote the nonprofit organisation “When We All Vote,” which partnered with Lollapalooza to increase voter registrations.

The event also features partnerships with the Equal Justice Initiative and the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund.

French events

The French live music industry has called for “clear and coherent” guidance on when the sector can reopen at full capacity.

In a letter signed by more than 3,000 artists, promoters, venues owners and others, the sector has urged the French government to set a possible date for when standing shows can begin again.

It reads: “As we can no longer live in a state of expectation, we ask you for clear and coherent scenarios and deadlines so that we can work to restart our activities.”

The signatories explain that they are keen to restart full capacity shows from September 1 when events over 5,000 capacity can begin, but that it is getting challenging to see due to issues related to programming and the organisation of tours.

It continues: “Nobody understands the silence concerning us,” say the industry representatives, “starting with the public who question us insistently and who tell us their desire to go back to concerts. We feel abandoned and despised by our public partners.”

Image: Evan Malcolm / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Edited for size