Shock, horror: after 30 years, Byron Bay Blues Fest (18–22 April) is leaving New South Wales (NSW). Or so it’s been threatened. Director Peter Noble claims stinging costs associated with the state’s new licensing laws could bankrupt the festival. Other events have already felt the pinch: earlier this year, Mountain Sounds Festival was forced to cancel due to an extra AUS$200k ($143k) bill for additional state security. In an open letter to the NSW government, Noble asked why they were “hell-bent on destroying” the culturescape and said he’d be forced to move to another state. “Will the last festival to leave NSW please turn out the light of culture in this soon to be barren state?” he jibed. Still, if this is the final instalment at Byron Bay, the festival’s going out with a bang: headliners include Ben Harper, Iggy Pop and the excellent Kurt Vile.