The gradual easing of restrictions across NSW has not been enough to stop organisers of the Old Bar Beach Festival from cancelling this year's event.
The news was announced on the festival's Facebook page this morning, June 5.
It is the first time in the hugely popular event's 15-year history that it won't be held.
Organisers say there is still too much uncertainty around large public gatherings for them to proceed with planning the October long weekend event.
"The simple fact is that we do not know, and cannot predict, what restrictions will be in place at the time of our event," the post read.
"The government does not yet have a roadmap for reintroducing gatherings of more than 100 people, and health experts are warning it will be a long time before festivals can safely return.
"The health and safety of our patrons and participants is of the utmost importance to us. We feel strongly that it would be irresponsible to go ahead with the festival before clear health and safety guidelines are developed for large events in a post-COVID-19 world."
Financial concerns were also at the heart of the festival team's decision.
"Proceeding with planning our event in the current situation is risky at best. At worst, it could spell financial devastation for us and threaten the festival's future," the post continued.
"We know that you'll agree it would be better to reimagine our festival this year, than imagine a world without it."
The post mentioned the possibility of virtual festivities being delivered, but for business-owners like Steve Doessal from Flow Bar and Boogie Woogie Beach House, the news was of little consolation.
"It's devastating," Mr Doessal said.
"Not just for us, but all the businesses in town. That's the weekend that pays off all your debts from winter."
Blowfish Cafe owner, Steve Ward, said it spelled the loss of his business' biggest weekend all year.
"We'll lose money out of it for sure," he said.
"About 10 grand."
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Both Mr Doessal and Mr Ward agreed that the decision wasn't altogether unexpected, but given the relentless run of bad luck the region had been through in recent times, it still hurt.
"I'm not surprised by the decision but it's just the final piece in the puzzle of what's been 12 months of pain in this tourist region," Mr Doessal said.
Beyond the financial blow the festival's cancellation spelled, Mr Doessal said it was also a cultural loss.
"The crowd that it pulls - they're fun-loving but respectful," he said.
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