• Headline Indigenous acts like Youthu Yindi regularly perform at Blues Fest (Blues Fest)Source: Blues Fest
Byron Bay's Blues Fest cancelled amid fresh concerns over COVID-19 cases in northern NSW and south-eastern QLD.
Bernadette Clarke

31 Mar 2021 - 5:37 PM  UPDATED 1 Apr 2021 - 7:04 PM

Byron Bay Blues Fest, the beloved Easter music event, has been cancelled just one day before tens of thousands of festival-goers were set to descend on the region for the annual live event.

A new locally-acquired COVID-19 case recorded in Byron Bay scuppered the event late on Wednesday afternoon.

This year Indigenous artists Briggs and JK-47 were among those set to perform. For many artists, the event would have been their first appearance in front of a large crowd since mid-March last year.

Local Elders had already expressed their concerns about the festival going ahead amid the pandemic. 

Before the cancellation was announced, the Chairman of the Bundjalung Elders Council Aboriginal Corporation, Mickey Ryan, told NITV News that he was worried about more fresh cases emerging on Bundjalung Country.

He said that the community was "frightened", as "COVID-19 is running rife and there's more people getting (in contact) with it."

The NSW government has confirmed that community transmission of COVID-19 was recorded in Byron Bay, linked to a hen's party that was attended by an infected visitor in Brisbane.

The emergence of the positive case is NSW's first in two weeks.

Byron Shire, Ballina Shire, Tweed Shire and Lismore are under restrictions to limit gatherings to 30 people and revert to the "four square metre" rule. Residents of those areas are being urged to stay home while masks are mandatory on public transport, retail stores and hospitality venues.

Blues Fest injects millions of dollars into the Byron Bay economy, with tens of thousands of music fans from around Australia visiting the region. 

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