Alas, the much-loved and highly anticipated Byron Bay Surf Festival will not be going ahead this year. After four successful event years and the recent Surf Culture Award recognition by Surfing Australia, the decision was neither taken lightly nor easy to come by for festival director Mike Jahn and co-founders Vanessa Thompson and James McMillan.
The festival thus far has served as an annual Byron Shire community event, widely known for its fun, creative and innovative flair. It both reflected and inspired the unique Byron Bay surfing community and its vast global reaches. BBSF always intended to be a free community festival to encourage, support and inspire handcraft, the arts, sustainability, beauty and goodness amongst fellow ocean-minded people. To this end, it has proved itself year in year out.
Regulatory municipal hurdles by Council and State Government alongside the lack of major sponsor support that Byron Bay Surf Festival faced for 2015 however became impossible to overcome, rendering the festival logistically and financially unviable this year.
Even though this news may come as a great loss to the thousands of people around the local community and the surfing world abroad, the aim for the stifled BBSF event is to not give up just yet but focus on keeping this unique surf culture festival alive and postpone to 2016.
“Arts and culture needs to be supported and encouraged rather than suppressed, as such a trend leads to a stimulated and colorful society which in turn creates participant citizens,” comments festival director Mike Jahn. “ We encourage the community to come forward with any major funding contacts and investors that may see the benefit of sustaining this unique event for many years to come,” Mr. Jahn concludes.
Regardless, the BBSF would like to wholeheartedly thank all the people, volunteers, businesses and surfing community for their enormous support and encouragement in the past years. Previous festivals were a great achievement and even though BBSF will not be celebrated this year, the trust to regain momentum and continue in 2016 is unbroken.
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