View of main stage at Bluesfest in Byron Bay

Dancing to the same beat

Implanting Stage and Screen travel managers onsite at the annual Bluesfest has streamlined the process of moving over 300 artists to and from the festival each year.

What is Bluesfest?

Bluesfest, one of Australia’s most iconic music festivals, is held annually on the Easter long weekend in Byron Bay. The festival attracts a lineup of local and international artists, and in 2019 it celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Byron Bay or bust

The biggest challenge is getting around 70 artists (some 300 people) to Byron Bay via Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Ballina airports. The situation is compounded by Bluesfest being held over the Easter holiday long weekend - one of the busiest travel periods of the year and a time when many travel companies are operating on skeleton staff.

The prelude

By starting planning over six months out from the festival, Stage and Screen negotiates with airlines to secure the best deal – which is especially important when large groups (with significant amounts of luggage) are involved. Preparing detailed travel reports has assisted with negotiating competitive rates with Bluesfest travel partners based on travel volumes.

The nature and size of Bluesfest means that a lot of things change which you can’t prepare for. The solution is to have dedicated travel managers implanted on site who can communicate face-to-face with organisers and action travel changes quickly.

Going live onsite

The on-site travel managers are on call 24/7 and man a hot desk to ensure all travel arrangements go smoothly – which can be challenging if a 22 person band needs to change flights at short notice.

The task is also complicated by the fact that Stage and Screen organise flights, accommodation and transfers for artists performing sideshows before and after the festival. For example in 2019 Stage and Screen arranged travel for 21 bands (a total of 196 people) also touring to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

It’s a wrap

By working closely with Bluesfest, Stage and Screen has established strong partnerships with the festival director and his PA - the driving force behind the event logistics. The Stage and Screen team understands the intricacies of the festival, while having great systems and processes in place means the challenges have become more manageable each year.

When the weather Gods turned nasty on the final day of a long shoot, Red Engine Creative turned to Stage and Screen to find light at the end of the tunnel.