Bluesfest 2021 has been cancelled, new 2022 dates announced

The event was set to go ahead in October, after being postponed at the last minute in April

Bluesfest has made the call to cancel their 2021 event entirely today, citing the uncertainty around the COVID-19 outbreaks the country is currently dealing with.

Initially set to go ahead in Easter of this year before being postponed just a day from opening, it was later planned for October.

However, following earlier concerns that they would have to postpone, Bluesfest Festival Director Peter Noble OAM confirmed the news in a statement earlier today (August 17), revealing that Bluesfest will now go ahead on Friday April 15 – Monday 18 next year.

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“It is obvious that we cannot present Bluesfest in a safe manner in October, so we have re-scheduled back to our usual timing with dates over the Easter Long Weekend next year; a time we expect things to be returning to normal,” Noble said.

“We are a resilient bunch. We have worked so hard since May 2019 to make Bluesfest happen and, guess what, we are not giving up. We are immensely proud of who we are: we are proud of the Bluesfest name and what that represents, immensely proud, and we are already looking forward to Easter.

“I thought this decision would be hard to make, but it was the reverse. The safety and protection of our loyal Bluesfesters, our festival staff, our performers, our volunteers, stallholders and suppliers is paramount, and I will not put anyone at risk right now. So the decision to re-schedule was a ‘no-brainer’.”

This will be the first time Bluesfest will go ahead since its 2019 iteration, following its 2020 cancellation at the beginning of the pandemic. The lineup remains mostly the same as intended for the October event, including Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Jimmy Barnes, Pete Murray, Kasey Chambers and more.

However, a few acts booked for 2021 will not be returning next year, including Tash Sultana, Ocean Alley and The Cat Empire.

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The 2022 lineup also sees a string of acts from both Australia and New Zealand added, including Fat Freddy’s Drop, John Williamson, C.W. Stoneking and Josh Teskey & Ash Grunwald.

While all acts currently on the bill are from either Australia or New Zealand, Noble confirmed that if artists from other countries are permitted to tour, Bluesfest “will be presenting them!”

The postponement of Bluesfest back in April caused a nationwide loss of $181.2million, per a recent report delivered by Reuben Lawrence Consulting. This number is slightly lower than the estimated economic losses from the festival’s cancelled 2020 event, which organisers cost NSW’s economy $203.6million, including $116.9million in indirect tourism expenditure.

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