Bluesfest 2017 on Day 4 was gifted with fantastic weather.
Bluesfest 2017 on Day 4 was gifted with fantastic weather. Marc Stapelberg

How much money does Bluesfest bring to the Northern Rivers?

BLUESFEST has released a report which estimates the music event is bringing millions of dollars into the Northern Rivers economy.

Economic consultants Lawrence Consulting were commissioned by Bluesfest Group to assess the economic impact of Bluesfest operations during the 2019 festival and touring, together with the associated tourism impact on the Byron Shire, Northern Rivers, NSW and Australia.

The total number of people attending the event in 2019 was estimated at 37,191, as determined through individual ticket sales, which represented an annual increase of 9.2 per cent from the level recorded for 2018 (34,063).

 

Bluesfest Attendance by Individual Ticket Type

Source: Bluesfest Services - click on the bars to see details

 

The report stated that the direct and total economic impacts associated with Bluesfest 2019 festival and Bluesfest Touring on the Byron Shire, the Northern Rivers and New South Wales in 2018/19 included:

  • Total output of $98.9 million in Byron Shire, $163.2 million in the Northern Rivers and $276.9 million in NSW;
  • Estimated total income (wages and salaries) of $21.2 million in Byron Shire, $43.4 million in the Northern Rivers and $75.3 million in NSW;
  • Approximately 461.6 full-time equivalent (FTE) employment positions in Byron Shire, 926.9 FTEs in the Northern Rivers and 1,454.6 FTEs in NSW; and
  • An estimated contribution to Gross Regional Product of $49.8 million in Byron Shire, $95.7 million in the Northern Rivers and $159.1 million in NSW.

The report's conclusions admit that it is difficult to be definitive regarding how much of the visitors' spending stayed within the Byron Shire, as opposed to spreading across the Northern Rivers, given that the Byron Shire faces capacity constraints in key sectors at key times, such as accommodation.

"The input data has, however, allowed for differentiation of Byron Shire and rest of the Northern Rivers spending for both operational-based and indirect tourism expenditure," the report said.

Bluesfest Services Pty Ltd spent about $18.4 million in 2018/19 on Bluesfest 2019, including $1.6 million in wages and salaries to 15 full-time staff and all purchases of goods and services.

This number represented an increase of 18.7 per cent from the level of expenditure in 2017/18 ($15.5 million).

Spending by Bluesfest Services on Bluesfest 2019 in Byron Shire was approximately $2.6 million (up 38 per cent), whilst the amount of expenditure across the rest of the Northern Rivers was $1.9 million (up 24.2 per cent).

Total expenditure by Bluesfest Group in 2018/19 was approximately $23.9 million (up 22.1 per cent), of which an estimated $15.5 million was spent within Australia and $3 million in Byron Shire.