The crowd watches The Doobie Brothers at Bluesfest.
The crowd watches The Doobie Brothers at Bluesfest. Marc Stapelberg

Bluesfest threatens to move out of Byron Bay

"BLUESFEST may well be celebrating our last festival in NSW should the sitting NSW Government proceed with its plans with its policies".

The dire message is the centre of an open letter published today by Bluesfest director, Peter Noble.

"I am saying now, Bluesfest will leave NSW," he said in the missive.

"We have no choice it's a matter of survival. Will the last festival to leave NSW please turn out the light of culture in this soon to be barren state?

The letter, published today in music publication The Industry Observer, confirmed Mr Noble is seriously thinking on getting out of NSW if the pressure by NSW State Government against music festivals does not ease.

"I am requesting all major state events Ministers to get in touch. We are ready to bring Australia's favourite festival to your state as the leaders of NSW don't want us, and in fact are legislating us out of business," he said.

Mr Noble is clearly upset about the way Bluesfest has been treated by NSW Police and the Government.

"Even though we are Australia's most highly-awarded festival both nationally and internationally - having won Best Major Event at the NSW Tourism Awards three years in a row; and in representing NSW we came in second in the Australian Tourism Awards (beating Victoria's F1 Grand Prix) - we have been designated a 'high risk event'," the letter said.

"This will cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars to comply with a policy where we and every other event in this State have had zero opportunity to have any consultation or input into a policy where we will need to spend significantly more money to put on the event this year with zero notice.


Helpmann Award, Peter Noble.
Helpmann Award, Peter Noble. Photo Contributed PLEASE CREDIT 2014 JIMLEE PHOTO Contributed

"The policy will see our full strength liquor approval denied, while a myriad of other costs may be levied costing us hundreds of thousand of dollars."

Mr Noble said in the letter that the NSW police regularly state that Bluesfest policies are those of an industry leader in the supply of alcohol, field hospital, and crowd security and care.

"But, due to headlines in the media, our 30-year-old professional business is to be seriously damaged in a new policy imposed regarding festival presentation by a government who has rushed the judgement of our industry without full consultation of stake holders, or meetings with entertainment industry professionals," he said.

"I charge the Government with a systemic failure in fairness here, and implore all politicians from all parties to quickly become involved with what is a serious injustice.

"We, like most events in this State, supply a significant level of culture - we don't receive a cent from government even though we cause thousands of people to be employed - and bring tens of millions of dollars into NSW through Tourism."

Mr Noble cited in his letter a the recent study done by the NSW government into the arts, when it was found NSW is doing it very tough and is significantly behind Victoria and Queensland.

"I ask the Premier, the Minister for the Arts, Tourism and Major Events and EVERY sitting politician: WHY?"

"Why do you seem to be hell-bent on destroying our industry?

"We provide culture to the people of this state, and Australia, through our good works. Most festivals haven't had drug deaths and contribute greatly to our society through presenting well-run, professional, world-class events. Why have we been given zero recognition in this government's actions?

"It seems the new policies are poorly thought-out and through their implementation will decimate our industry should our government not see good sense.

"This is NOT a vote winner in the upcoming election" he added.

  • Bluesfest will be held in 2019 from April 18 to 22. For details visit