How Much Did The Pandemic Cost Bluesfest?

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Bluesfest 2019 Bluesfest 2019

The global pandemic hit many music and cultural events but very few as hard as Bluesfest.


The award-winning event which attracts upwards of 30,000 revellers every year was forced to cancel just weeks before the year-long culmination of preparation – and expenditure. So what was the cost?

In a report released by Bluesfest today, Lawrence Consulting noted that ticket sales of 32,000 prior to the cancellation were already down on the previous year; likely in large part due to the devastating effects of the bushfires which had dramatically reduced discretionary spending on events and festivals in Australia.

In the 2019/20 cycle, the Bluesfest Group had expended approximately $7.2 million – almost $5 million of which was spent in Australia.

Foregone income to greater NSW was estimated at in excess of $72 million across the following sectors (ranked from most to least affected):
• Accomodation
• Food and Beverage
• Road Transport
• Retail Shopping
• Attractions

Bluesfest provided for the equivalent of 21 full-time employment positions in the 2020 year: 65% down on 2019.

The cancellation of Bluesfest also entailed the loss of the associated touring events which flow through the greater Austraian economy representing an all-but 100 per cent loss against past years.

The report's bottom line of foregone earnings and activity makes for miserable reading:

• Estimated lost wages of $8.3 million
• Estimated 228 full-time equivalent employment positions
• Estimated gross regional product los of $15.8 million before calcuation of flow-on effects.

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