Shoppers stroll through Byron yesterday.
Shoppers stroll through Byron yesterday.

Festival brings in the bucks

A PERFECT, sunny Easter break made for a great weekend for both tourists and retailers in the region as Bluesfest came to a close yesterday.

Byron United president Paul Waters said, from a business point of view, Bluesfest had been like a bumper standard weekend that ran for six days.

"The Bluesfest juggernaut is a great thing for Byron," he said.

"It puts us on the map and is good for publicity. The money that it generates does filter through the Byron economy over a period of time."

Mr Waters said the move to the Tyagarah site last year has eased the Easter congestion in the town but there had still been a steady flow of the usual Easter visitors.

"When Bluesfest was held closer to Byron Bay in recent years it became very manic with traffic and people," Mr Waters said.

"We have noticed a dramatic difference in traffic and congestion this year."

"With the festival now being held at Tyagarah, it's given the town a reprieve so the traffic isn't so heavy and it's just a bit more orderly."

"That's been good news for the regular tourists so they can enjoy Byron Bay for what it is. We've had good patronage for the past six days and it's been really strong."

"Day traffic has still been strong because some Bluesfest people don't stay on site but in town, have their lunch and breakfast then head up to the festival afterward."

"The good accommodation still gets booked out, although holiday houses on the outskirts may not have filled up."

Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce president Matt Mayall said trading there was similar to previous years.

"Easter is generally good having Bluesfest on our doorstep but I don't think it's any bigger this year than last year.

"Last year accommodation in Brunswick Heads was booked out, probably because the event had more high profile acts.

"This year accommodation hasn't been so heavily booked.

"Most of our retailers say it hasn't been outstanding trading - probably because of the beautiful weather this year, so more people are heading to the beach."

Mr Waters said the location of Bluesfest had a largely positive effect.

While retailers reaped the benefits of the influx of tourists to the region, Mr Waters said it's also a good indicator of what's to come with the Splendour in the Grass festival to be held in the region in July.