Dear Rugby Community,

We regret to inform you that the 2023 Byron Bay Sevens Festival will not be going ahead.

Bringing the event back in 2022 after a three-year Covid hiatus was a monumental task for our small group of volunteers, and we were very proud of the event that we were able to produce and deliver to you all for the Australian rugby community, which included:

  • Welcoming 900+ players from 60 teams across Australia
  • Playing and officiating 130 matches across 3 fields over 2 days
  • Delivering a huge schools gala day and coaching clinic for 60+ kids on the Friday before the senior rugby matches

Anyone who attended the event in 2022 and prior would have seen the extra infrastructure including but not limited to: improved fenced bar area, bar furniture, extra security, extra police presence, and hydration stations.

This increase in infrastructure was the result of increased compliance requirements within our event liquor license, all of which added significant costs to our not-for-proft community rugby club as hosts of the event.

Naturally we wish to deliver a responsible, safe and compliant event, and we have done our best to mitigate and manage all these extra costs.

However within the last week, unfortunately, we have learned that the cost of insurance through Rugby Australia has increased 167% from the previous year. This has tipped the scales to make the event too risky to run in its current format due to the risk of delivering a financial loss for our small community rugby club. The primary reason we stage the event (in addition to it being the best weekend of sevens rugby fun each year) is as a fundraiser to sustain and develop rugby in our town.

It takes so much organisation and time from a small group of volunteers to execute, and if it does not generate income for our community rugby club to survive and prosper, equal to the work put into it, then it just does not make sense to run the event.

Rugby participation is struggling in our local area and wider region. To combat this on the local front, we brought together two rival clubs this season – Byron Bay and Bangalow – to form a new club to keep rugby alive and growing. The new club Byron Shire Rebels has been a huge success for us, with participation at a high from juniors through to senior women’s & men’s teams. This was an immense workload throughout the off-season for our small group of volunteers. It was well and truly worth it, but frankly, we’re exhausted as a result.

Also, sadly some clubs around us are not doing so well in this regard, resulting in a number of forfeits against us this season, starving our club of critical home match-day income. This makes taking any kind of financial risk for an event even more unpalatable.

I love rugby, and I have taken my volunteer role as the custodian of this historic event very seriously over the last few years, but it has now hit the point that the event will lose considerable money before a ball is kicked or a whistle is blown.

We are truly grateful for the support the event has received over all these years, from players, coaches, volunteers, match officials and all our long-standing sponsors and supporters.

I hope that we can achieve the necessary support for it to resume so that this is not the end of its incredible 32 year history. 

Eddie Brown
Byron Bay Rugby Club President
On Behalf of the Byron Bay 7s Organising Committee


Will I get my deposit back?

If you have registered and paid a deposit we will of course refund you in full for this.

How can I participate in 2024?

Register your interest via our Expression of Interest form here. We’ll aim to make a call by 1st March 2024

What if we’ve already booked flights and accommodation?

Byron is still a great place to come for an end of season rugby trip! Though contact us if you really want a game and we can have a chat about any options that may exist

How can I help keep the event going?

In short, we need more sponsorship $$ to ensure the event is viable and protected against a huge loss in the event of say poor weather affecting bar sales. The event delivers fantastic results in terms of tourism to the area and exposure for sponsors and supporters over three days, so contact us if you’re interested.