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?
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.