'I wont be taking further risks': Noble calls for Business Interruption Fund

Peter Noble. Photo: Marc Stapelberg.

Peter Noble. Photo: Marc Stapelberg.

Bluesfest Director Peter Noble has described the cancellation of Bluesfest for the second year in a row as a "Shakespearean tragedy" and says he won't attempt to stage the festival again until there are insurances in place.

The cancellation of the five-time winner of Best Major Event at the NSW Tourism Awards at the eleventh hour is said to have cost $10 million with a loss of $100 million to the region.

Organisers had worked closely with NSW Health to create a fully approved COVID safety plan, which was described as being of the highest standard.

In the wake of the cancellation, Mr Noble and the arts and entertainment industry's body, Live Performance Australia, have renewed calls for the Federal and State governments to urgently establish a live entertainment Business Interruption Fund.

"I won't be taking further risks until I know there are insurances in place - I've taken the risk, I've tried to be a leader, tried to bring music back only to find the day before the gates open we were shut down," he told the ABC.

"I used whatever finances I have, whatever reserves, to put on this year's event.

"We need business interruption insurance so the live music industry can operate. All those artists, all those people who had for a year looked forward to this Easter Weekend, saying finally we are back; we have been shut down rightly or wrongly through the escape of Covid from hospitals in Brisbane."

Bluefest was cancelled the day before it was due to begin due to COVID fears

Bluefest was cancelled the day before it was due to begin due to COVID fears

Live Performance Australia (LPA) Chief Executive Evelyn Richards said the live entertainment industry could not sustain continued hit and runs.

"One case of community transmission has shut down a major regional event with a $10 million plus loss that will destroy a business with a thirty-year trading history owned by someone who is risking everything to run his event in a Covid safe manner.

"LPA has been calling for a Business Interruption Fund since last year. This is now a matter of urgency. It should be top of the agenda at the next National Cabinet meeting.

"This has cost hundreds of jobs, musicians who were about to perform their first gig in a year have been shut down, thousands of people who were attending the seated, CovidSafe approved event have been turned away, and the local regional economy has been severely impacted.

"We call on the NSW Government to step up and provide support to Bluesfest to ensure it survives a second shut down due to public health directives.

"This is irrefutable proof that a business interruption fund is critical to the survival of live entertainment events in an environment where no promoter or producer can get insurance."