Big Day Out, one of Australia’s biggest and oldest music festivals, will not go ahead in 2015. The shock revelation comes following Big Day Out promoter AJ Maddah stepping down as Director of the much-loved festival and transferring his 50% stake to US company C3 Presents, thus making the Texan-owned company the sole owners of the iconic Australian festival.
Shortly after canning his own Harvest Music Festival in September last year, Maddah purchased a stake into Big Day Out Festival from promoter Ken West.
It would appear that Maddah has bitten off more than he can chew, as reports have surfaced that the event will not be held anywhere next year, and that the former CEO Adam Zammit has been terminated.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there exist no bookings for venues that have been notorious for hosting the classic Aussie festival. All bookings were cancelled last week with no indication of plans to secure them again for next year’s event.
General Manager of Sydney Showground Peter Thorpe confirmed the news, telling SMH that BDO will not take place at the venue in 2015. “All I know is they cancelled the booking last week and we were told to release the date,” said Mr Thorpe. “It’s very disappointing for the fans and for us because it’s an iconic event. It was the first rock and roll event I went to and the first we held. I was there for 20 years at Paddington and we’ve been with it here ever since.”
It has also been reported that former Big Day Out CEO Adam Zammit was given the axe following this year’s event, which, according to Maddah, suffered “ugly” financial losses (between $8 to $15 million), due to low ticket sales and lineup troubles.
The cancellation marks the first time since 1998 that the summer music festival has not been hosted around Australia for hundreds of thousands of punters. In the past, the Big Day Out has been fortunate enough to have iconic acts like Nirvana, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Ramones and Red Hot Chili Peppers play its stages.
Vivian Lees, the man who co-founded Big Day Out back in 1992, had some harsh words for Maddah. “He’s a mega d**khead. He’s lead the race to the bottom and it’s blown up in his face” Lees told Triple J’s Hack Program.
He went on to say: “Look that doesn’t surprise me after the way it ran last year. It’s pretty tragic that it won’t be coming back. It was pretty obvious that it wasn’t going to come back because of the dysfunctional relationship between the producers and AJ Maddah’s erratic management style.”
Lees, who has already aimed nasty blows at the Soundwave promoter – calling him “an odious character” and “a gambler” – suggested that Maddah “stick to what he’s good at, which is Soundwave Festival and stop trying to be a megalomaniac.”
Maddah, who was also interviewed on Triple J’s current affairs program, had some harsh words of his own for the BDO co-founder. Defending his own involvement in the festival, he said that Lees, who stood down from his position in 2011, ran the festival into the ground in recent years with his poor choice of lineups and bad bookings.
“Viv Lees booked a terrible lineup and then ran to the hills the minute he was going to lose any money. I find Vivian and his claims a bit hypocritical at this point” said Maddah.
Although Maddah no longer has financial ownership of the festival, he does have the option to repurchase his 50% back from the Big Day Out when the company decides to resurrect the festival, which it seems, will be in 2016.
“Yes, I’m still involved. Yes, Big Day Out will come back 2016… The festival is alive.”