Organisers for the Byron Bay Bluesfest have formally pulled the plug on the 2020 festival due to COVID-19 fears.

In accordance with the Public Health Act instituted by the NSW Government this morning that formally bans any public event with attendances greater than 500 people, Bluesfest organisers confirmed the festival will not be taking place over the Easter weekend. This will be the first time in 30 years that the festival has not run.

In a statement, festival director Peter Noble asserted “We are heartbroken as we believe we were presenting one of the best ever bills of talent for you,” and that they are “now working through how to move forward” with regards to ticket refunds for punters. He stated “I thank you for allowing us enough time to get everything in place for the best possible outcome for everyone.”

Last year’s Bluefest attracted a crowd of around 105,000 people across its five day during. This year’s iteration was set to feature a mammoth bill sporting the likes of Dave Matthews BandCrowded HouseAlanis MorisetteLenny KravitzPatti SmithKool & The GangGuy SebastianJohn ButlerThe Cat Empire, and a stack of others.

This year’s festival was scheduled to take place from Thursday, April 9th until Monday, April 13th.

The cancellation of the festival represents another massive blow to Australia’s already-struggling live music and arts industries, which are taking a particularly hard hit amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

Information regarding ticket refunds is expected to be announced soon.

Image: Getty Images / Matt Roberts