Big Day Out promoter AJ Maddah has confirmed that the Australian music festival will face massive losses from the 2014 event but the show isn’t over yet.
Big Day Out featured co-headliners Pearl Jam and Arcade Fire. Blur were initially part of the line-up but withdrew in a very public and bitter way using social media to tell fans before they told the promoters.
AJ Maddah addressed the speculation on Sydney’s Triple J, answering the hard questions about the future of the event.
On The Hack he admitted that the company is expected losses of around $8 million, as was reported in The Age last week. However, the also said that a lot of the reporting in the Fairfax Media newspaper was hearsay and gossip.
Maddah, who also runs Soundwave via his own company, was a latecomer to the Big Day Out. He said Big Day Out was on the verge of cancellation before he took over. “It wasn’t going to go ahead this year until I walked in,” he told Triple J. “They were on the edge of the abyss, on the edge of cancelling the event. To my mind if they cancelled it would be completely lost and it would never come back… It would’ve been very sad to me to watch it die without putting up a fight. That’s why I came on board. I was rowing the lifeboat back to the Titanic, rather than the other way around so to speak.”
The Big Day Out costs blew out when Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire and Blur (who later withdrew) all agreed to perform. Big Day Out expected to score two of the three. They secured all three and upped the ticket price to accommodate. The $185 price became a deterrent to fans who stalled on purchasing tickets.
Maddah says the Big Day Out will be back in 2015 but will be an East Coast Australia and Adelaide tour only. The costs of taking the show to Perth cannot be justified in the current environment.
The summary of the interview
Big Day Out 2014 faces massive losses
Despite the losses everyone owed money will be paid
Big Day Out will return in 2015
Perth will not be on the 2015 schedule
Sydney’s show will return to the Saturday
Ticket prices will be kept below $160
Pearl Jam and Win Butler – Rockin’ In The Free World
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