Splendour cancellation’s ‘massive’ impact on region
THE flow-on impact of Splendour in the Grass 2020 being cancelled will be felt far beyond the entertainment industry.
The festival, usually held in winter, had been tentatively rescheduled for spring this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But organisers have this week confirmed the popular music festival, held at North Byron Parklands, won't go ahead this year.
Byron mayor Simon Richardson said it was difficult to measure the full extent of the impact, but he estimates it would be in the tens of millions of dollars.
"It seems to be one thing after another and it's testing everyone's resolve," he said.
"You're looking at probably around the 30 to 40 million dollars … (including) the airfares, the accommodation.
"Most people that were going to come would drop at least $1000 and you're talking about 30 to 40,000 people coming so it's pretty significant money.
"Economic forecasting and assessments are always a little bit of a tough business to get accurate.
"But it's also those secondary and tertiary businesses, it's the local florist that has its biggest account of the year to do the VIP room, or it's the cleaning firm or it's the tradesperson who builds the deck of that person who just had a good year at Splendour.
"It's the hundred stallholders, many of whom are local, who rely on this sort of business not just for three or four days but for online sales and for brand recognition.
"When you start to peel away different layers of impact, it is massive."
Byron Shire councillors recently engaged in a heated debate on the Rural Land Use Strategy, but Cr Richardson believes planning for the future and diversifying the shire's strengths would make the local economy more resilient.
"All we really want to do, rather than trying to start whole new industries, is look at what we already do well but have capacity to grow," he said.
As the spread of Covid-19 has slowed right down in northern NSW but the full extent of economic hardship remains unknown, Cr Richardson urged people to support each other.
"Often when we're faced with extra challenges, our natural reaction is to batten down the hatches," he said.
"I think this is an opportunity for us to open ourselves to supporting others.
"It's not the time to restrict ourselves from helping others.
"It's a time we need to extend ourselves amongst our community rather than contact ourselves into our basic units.
"And then we all get through it together."