When do major music festivals return to the Byron Shire?

In addition to the fundamental restrictions imposed by health contracts in NSW and the risk of contagion in a festival setting, the question arises as to when a festival becomes a viable business option.

With so many residents of North NSW having no jobs directly or indirectly related to such events, the issue of music festivals is a major financial concern for the region.

Splendor in the grass 2019 crowds enjoy the beautiful weather and good music in Byron Bay.

So where are we with the festivals for 2021?

Splendor in the Grass announced its lineup for 2020 in February last year, but the festival has been canceled. The Byron Bay Falls Festival did not follow long after.

Last year, American acts Gorillaz, The Strokes and Tyler the Creator were announced as headliners for a 2021 Splendor in the Grass event from July 23rd to 25th.

The Bluesfest was also canceled in 2020. For this year, the festival has confirmed an all-Aussie cast for April 1-5.

A spokesman for Liquor and Gaming NSW said no applications for licensing alcohol for the Bluesfest, Splendor in the Grass or Falls Festival have been made this year.

“To date (January 14th) Liquor & Gaming NSW has not received any license applications for the Bluesfest Byron Bay 2021, Splendor in the Grass 2021 or Falls Festival 2021,” said the spokesman.

“Splendor in the Grass 2021 and Falls Festival 2021 have not yet submitted a safety management plan for their events.

“Bluesfest Byron Bay 2021 is not required to submit a safety management plan under the Music Festivals Act 2019.”

Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne made an impressive appearance on Splendor in the Grass in 2012.

The spokesman for Liquor and Gaming NSW stated that public health orders dictated whether events like music festivals were held at a specific time.

“Any changes to public health regulations are a matter for NSW Health,” the person said.

According to current NSW Health Orders Orders, events outside of Greater Sydney can have a maximum of 5000 people, with attendees assigned to a specific seat and 3000 people assigned to a specific seating area.

These events are also limited to five hours and spectators should remain seated throughout the event whenever practicable.

Dance floors are not allowed.

A controlled outdoor gathering is also required to create a COVID-19 safety plan that addresses physical distancing, hygiene, wellbeing and records.

And then there is camping, an option that many use to keep costs down.

Splendor in the grass 2019 crowds enjoy the beautiful weather and good music in Byron Bay.

Splendor in the grass 2019 crowds enjoy the beautiful weather and good music in Byron Bay.

The COVID-19 Large Festival Safety Guide recommends that organizers minimize events that promote or offer on-site overnight accommodation, especially those with shared facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens, and additional social events.

These precautions can significantly increase the risk of transmission.

The NSW government’s COVID-19 safety guidelines for major events can be found here.