MONEY SPINNER: The Splendour in the Grass festival at Yelgun.
MONEY SPINNER: The Splendour in the Grass festival at Yelgun. Marc Stapelberg

Festivals a financial boost to the area

ONCE the rock stars are gone and traffic returns to normal, the inevitable conversation at the local cafes always comes to this: Do we want to have big music festivals in the area?

Apparently, we have 2.9 million reasons to be grateful for them.

The Economic Impact and Benefits study for 2014 stated that the Splendour in the Grass and Falls festivals generated "$2.9 million in wages and salaries paid to residents of the Byron Shire."

A further $1.8 million was paid in wages and salaries to residents in the Northern Rivers, according to the report.

The equivalent of 133 full time jobs were offered by festival organisers and Parklands to Northern Rivers workers in 2014 according to the report, with 99 of them going to Byron Shire residents.

The document was developed by Queensland company RPS for North Byron Parklands, the 260ha venue in Yelgun where the festivals are held.

But what kind of jobs do these events offer to locals?

"Most of the work relates to a period of anywhere between five days and up to three months," said Parklands general manager, Mat Morris.

"We find that those people that work for the shortest periods are actively seeking employment in the creative industry and they work at different times of the year for Falls, Splendour, Bluesfest and other events.

Mr Morris explained the jobs offered to locals are a mix of skilled and unskilled vacancies.

"For an area like Byron Shire or the Northern Rivers where employment is sometimes hard to come by, particularly for younger people, it means that the venue is a significant payer to help support the local economy," he said.

To ensure the venue complies with state environmental, transit, noise and community regulations, the Yelgun site is "heavily regulated" by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.



Total direct expenditure by festival organisers and attendees: $40.6 million.

Festival organisers spent $15.2m on staff, goods and services while attendees spent $25.4m primarily on food/beverage and accommodation.

45% of the total (or $18.4m) was directed towards businesses and individuals located in the Northern Rivers.

Byron Shire accounted for 28% of the direct expenditure ($11.5m).

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