Speculation Heats Up On Big Day Out’s Expiry Date – Will BD0 ’14 Be Its Last?

I really never thought I would end up writing a preemptive obituary for the Australian festival-circuit relic; the hazy, heat-soaked memories that come back from Big Day Out in the past form memorable fragments of the daze that is achingly hot summer nostalgia. 

But today the question has been raised of Big Day Out’s relevance and impending expiry date, as The Age brazenly speculates, “Big Day Over?“. Looking back at this year’s frequent headlines hinting at the demise of Australian festivals, it’s easy to see why. Harvest cancelled its promising third year in September, festival veteran Aj Maddah hastily jumped ships to the Big Day Out camp, Pyramid Rock cancelled in Harvest’s wake, Peats Ridge Festival is history, Parklife downsized and Big Day Out cancelled their second Sydney date for 2014 due to poor (or, ambitious) ticket sales. What’s happening to Australian music festivals? 

The Age today reports that Big Day Out’s future is dubious, saying it “is in doubt with music industry sources saying it could fold as early as next year.” Despite the terribly vague term “sources” that reeks of tabloid journalism, it’s surprisingly not hard to believe that Big Day Out may not see out its 23rd birthday in 2015—or at least not in its current incarnation. Another op ed in The Age suggests (supported by Fasterlouder) that perhaps, considering Big Day Out’s co-ownership by C3 Presents (of Lollapalooza fame) that BDO will transform in to an offshoot of the festival giant itself. Lollapalooza: Down Under, after all, has a pretty OK ring to it.
According to The Age, however, Aj Maddah is dousing fires on the debate by saying, “‘If BDO was such a basket case, why would I, the single most sensible individual in this industry, get involved? ”This is a large sewing circle with people passing on the same nonsense to each other. If these sources are to be believed, then we are all on deaths [sic] bed and a meteor is heading for [Mushroom Music head Michael] Gudinski’s office.”

In the end, there isn’t really any need to bemoan a “Big Day Over” like The Age suggests. The Australian festival industry is in a period of transition; with The Falls Festival expanding (and selling out) to Byron Bay this year, FBi successfully hosting a 10th birthday celebration/mini festival and Laneway announcing one of their biggest lineups to date, it’s pretty clear that the festival industry in Australia will still thrive—maybe just in more realistic, simpler forms. In any case, if BDO folds its current state as we know it after their upcoming January dates, at least it would be going out with an impressive bang; Arcade Fire, Blur, Pearl Jam and Snoop Lion/Dog lead an excellent lineup

Listen to our BDO playlist and hope it’s not our last below.

Via The Age; Fasterlouder.