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Thursday, 20 June 2013
Page: 6505

Mrs ELLIOT (Richmond) (13:46): I rise to speak about Bluesfest in Byron Bay, which is one of Australia's most acclaimed and respected festivals, and also to talk about the great economic benefits that Bluesfest brings our area. Bluesfest began as the East Coast Blues Festival in 1990 at the Arts Factory in Byron Bay. It quickly became known as Byron Bay Bluesfest and it is now known as Bluesfest. It has a permanent home at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, located 11 kilometres north of Byron Bay and eight kilometres south of Brunswick. The event is absolutely massive. It includes facilities such as seven performance stages, five licensed bars and huge undercover food halls. This year we saw more than 40,000 people attending Bluesfest. It is mainly a credit to the festival director, Peter Noble, who does an outstanding job.

If we look at the economic benefit of this year's Bluesfest, there is a total output of $64.1 million in the Byron Shire; estimated total income—that is wages and salaries—of $10.8 million in Byron Shire; approximately 379 full-time equivalent employment positions in Byron Shire; and also a record-breaking $120,000-plus in charity money raised, which is a fantastic amount. So we can see Bluesfest brings massive economic benefits to Byron Bay and also, indeed, the Northern Rivers.

It is an outstanding cultural event, of course—one of the most acclaimed in the country and internationally as well. We are very proud of it. It is usually held over the Easter long weekend. I just put a bit of a plug in for Bluesfest 2014. It is the 25th anniversary of Bluesfest and it will be held from 17 to 21 April 2014. I understand it is nearly sold out. It is a great celebration and a wonderful local event in my electorate.