CHANGES: Parking was free at Bluesfest 2017.
CHANGES: Parking was free at Bluesfest 2017. Marc Stapelberg

Bluesfest gets green light for 2020 parking fees

BYRON Shire Council has approved a new transport plan for Bluesfest that allows the festival to charge parking fees from 2020.

The approval, granted by the council on April 16, amends Condition 101 regarding the event's Traffic Management Plan.

Until last week, the festival's council approval stated that "entry to large and medium events to include car parking in the ticket price within the site to discourage on-street car parking on roads within the vicinity".

The new approval dictates that paid parking is to be completed in accordance with the approved Traffic Management Plan for each event.

As every year, Bluesfest has started to offer early bird tickets for its 2020 event.

A person currently attending Bluesfest, who requested anonymity, confirmed they received a text message from Bluesfest this week offering early bird five-day tickets for $430, not including parking.

Bluesfest organisers announced paid parking for the 2019 event was $25 a day when pre-purchased online.

The festival cancelled their plans to charge for parking (and refunded those already purchased) in March after the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) deemed Bluesfest Services Pty to have engaged in "misleading and deceptive conduct" by releasing parking tickets for the 2019 festival after it released entry tickets for sale.

Bluesfest has not yet officially confirmed the amount to be charged for parking in 2020.

The original traffic management plan lodged by Bluesfest with Byron Shire Council for the 2019 event stated that the festival was introducing paid parking "to offset the significant annual investment into parking infrastructure capital and recurrent, mounting costs of Traffic Management, increased User Pays Police contingent for Counter Terrorism Including Hostile Vehicle Mitigation Measures".

The Northern Star requested information from NSW Police in December 2018 about the charges projected for Bluesfest 2019 in regards to counter terrorism and other services, but no details were ever provided.

Other music festivals happening in the Byron Shire, such as Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass, charge similar parking fees.

Bluesfest was approached for comment.