Bluesfest has officially announced the cancellation of its 2020 event due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
The news comes following a devastating week of the local and global music scene, which saw countless events – including Coachella, Dark Mofo, and Download Festival – either postponed or cancelled due to ongoing coronavirus fears.
While Bluesfest organisers had been monitoring the situation closely, they last week issued a statement to note that the event “will be going ahead as planned” due to advice from the likes of NSW Health, who specifically stated that “the risk of community spread of COVID-19 in NSW is low.”
“Both NSW Health and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), the federal body, report that attending public events such as Bluesfest are low risk,” wrote Bluesfest Executive Chairman Peter Noble OAM in a statement.
Unfortunately, Friday brought with it suggestions from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that all non-essential events with audiences above 500 be cancelled from Monday, March 16th onwards. Over the weekend though, quarantines and bans were officially enforced, causing Bluesfest to issue a statement noting that this was grave news for the industry.
“We have stated in the strongest manner that “advice” was NOT a direction, and we needed the certainty by directive, followed by legislation, as soon as possible, so our entire industry could move forward to act in a responsible manner toward ALL interested parties, the public, ticket buyers, the artists, Bluesfest employees, and all suppliers and contractors,” Peter Noble wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
“The government has now made a definitive statement, and have banned events, and require 14 days of self-isolation for everyone entering Australia. This is a matter that will greatly affect both our future at Bluesfest, as well as the entire Entertainment Industry.”
Today, Bluesfest have sadly confirmed they’re the latest casualty in the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is obvious we will not be on this Easter,” Noble wrote on Facebook earlier today. “We are heartbroken as we believe we were presenting one of the best ever bills of talent for you.
“I was in discussions right through last week with every headliner – they ALL said they’re coming as long as nothing occurred to prevent them from doing so. That is the level of commitment that our artists have, and I am proud of that.
“I must now thank every one of you for supporting us. The emails and posts are deeply appreciated at this time,” Noble added. “We are now working through how to move forward and to give you details. I thank you for allowing us enough time to get everything in place for the best possible outcome for everyone.”
Bluesfest was originally set to take place between April 9th and 13th in Byron Bay, with the likes of Patti Smith, Crowded House, Dave Matthews Band, and more performing at the event. Next month’s festivities were also set to include the official launch party of Rolling Stone Australia, however, this too sadly been cancelled.