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Image for AJ Maddah on Big Day Out losses: “It’s going to be ugly”

AJ Maddah on Big Day Outlosses: “It’s going to beugly”

AJ Maddah has conceded heavy losses for this year’s Big Day Out tour.

The Soundwave promoter made the candid admission in an interview with triple j’s Hack program this afternoon. When asked by host Tom Tilley whether Fairfax reports of losses between $8- and $15-million were accurate, Maddah said that it was in the lower-end of that spectrum. “We still don’t know,” he said, “but it’s going to be ugly.”

Maddah bought into the Big Day Out in late October last year, purchasing Ken West’s stake of the festival. He now splits ownership of the festival with the US promoters of Lollapalooza, C3 Presents. Maddah said he knew he was buying into a “seriously wobbly” event that was in serious danger of being shelved for 2014.

“It wasn’t going to go ahead this year until I walked in,” he said. “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.”

While Maddah confirmed the axing of the Perth Big Day Out, he said he expected the festival to return to the east-coast in 2015, including Adelaide. “I walked into this knowing the full picture and knowing what had happened,” he said. “[The Big Day Out is] meshed so much with Australian music history and live music over the past 25 years – so I think it’s a brand that people will come back to.”

Maddah also discussed ticket prices, Blur’s last-minute cancellation and the problems with the 2014 lineup over the course of the 30-minute interview. Full story to come.

This year’s Big Day Out – headlined by Pearl Jam and Arcade Fire – wrapped up in Perth on Sunday.

Comments

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Plain Views

Plain Views said on the 7th Feb, 2014

honestly, I don't think they should go ahead with Big Day Out now that Schappelle Corby is out of Jail.. Its a massive safety concern.

Oflick

Oflick said on the 7th Feb, 2014

So much money will be thrown at Daft Punk. Seems their best hope.

Nosyt

Nosyt said on the 7th Feb, 2014

The brand is dead.

Simple as that.

monokhrome_nite

monokhrome_nite said on the 7th Feb, 2014

I think the Big Day Out brand still has a lot of power in NZ, for what it's worth (probably not much at all).

nos235

nos235 said on the 7th Feb, 2014

What other big festivals are there in NZ ?

monokhrome_nite

monokhrome_nite said on the 7th Feb, 2014

In terms of events that can actually compete with BDO, I believe there's Laneway, Raggamuffin, Rhythm & Vines, and possibly Homegrown, and most of those still operate on a smaller scale than BDO. No Soundwave or anything catering to the harder rock/metal fans and certainly nothing close to Splendour.

Sir Toire

Sir Toire said on the 7th Feb, 2014

As far as hard rock/metal goes, there's this thing that just started this year.

http://memberdata.s3.amazonaws.com/eo/eodm1/photos/eodm1_photo_gal__photo_1310024223.jpg

loudQUIETloud

loudQUIETloud said on the 7th Feb, 2014

That is the worst lineup I have ever seen, not a single band I have any desire to watch.

Bevo

Bevo said on the 7th Feb, 2014

anyone ever thought that there are too many festivals these days that are way too big, too diverse and far too expensive. they try to pack so much in to try and get as many punters through the doors as they can. i would rather pay $150 to see five bands that i love (or at least in the same genre) than deal with a hundred other bands (and their fans) that i couldn't give a toss about.

Sir Toire

Sir Toire said on the 7th Feb, 2014



Hey, I've got a good idea. You should email your favourite bands to AJ and tell him that he better book those bands or you won't go. I just know he'll have to listen.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 8th Feb, 2014



Fuck off m8

EoDM are rad

monokhrome_nite

monokhrome_nite said on the 8th Feb, 2014

As far as hard rock/metal goes, there's this thing that just started this year.

http://memberdata.s3.amazonaws.com/eo/eodm1/photos/eodm1_photo_gal__photo_1310024223.jpg

I must have forgotten about that because it was so dreadfully shite.

nos235

nos235 said on the 8th Feb, 2014

The new Five Finger Death Punch Album actually had some pretty good non-hardcore tracks on it. But obviously that festival is single stage if that's all they've got over two days.

Oflick

Oflick said on the 8th Feb, 2014

I'd watch Megadeth and Eagles of Death Metal.

Well, I actually wouldn't because I wouldn't go.

p1owz0r

p1owz0r said on the 8th Feb, 2014

The brand is dead.

Simple as that.

Disagree - I think the brand is probably the most valuable asset they have at the moment.

Sure it needs some reinvigorating but its a strong brand - average joe punter in the street knows what BDO is.

dynamo

dynamo said on the 8th Feb, 2014



Well at least people going to that fest be able to see all bands with out any clashes.

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 8th Feb, 2014

Disagree - I think the brand is probably the most valuable asset they have at the moment.

Sure it needs some reinvigorating but its a strong brand - average joe punter in the street knows what BDO is.

This is the only sensible thing said about BDO's brand on this forum, but I have to keep reminding myself chances are none of you work in comms or marketing.

The strength of a brand for a festival only counts for so much. People still know about the BDO, JJJ and all the other stations will still make a big deal about announcing the lineup, promoting the festival etc.

But that strength will only carry it so far. The rest of the way is lineup vs price. If they announce a decent lineup next year, at a decent price, all the shitstorm they've gone through this year and the last few won't mean a thing.

Remember, the average punter doesn't hang out on music forums discussing the ramifications of AJ's latest bowel movement on the BDO brand. They couldn't give a shit how good or bad things are behind the scenes - all they want is bands they like at a price they can afford/justify.

p1owz0r

p1owz0r said on the 10th Feb, 2014

This is the only sensible thing said about BDO's brand on this forum, but I have to keep reminding myself chances are none of you work in comms or marketing.

.

Actually I do....!

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 10th Feb, 2014

yay! (hence the 'chances are...') :)

Demosthenes

Demosthenes said on the 10th Feb, 2014

This is the only sensible thing said about BDO's brand on this forum, but I have to keep reminding myself chances are none of you work in comms or marketing.

The strength of a brand for a festival only counts for so much. People still know about the BDO, JJJ and all the other stations will still make a big deal about announcing the lineup, promoting the festival etc.

But that strength will only carry it so far. The rest of the way is lineup vs price. If they announce a decent lineup next year, at a decent price, all the shitstorm they've gone through this year and the last few won't mean a thing.

Remember, the average punter doesn't hang out on music forums discussing the ramifications of AJ's latest bowel movement on the BDO brand. They couldn't give a shit how good or bad things are behind the scenes - all they want is bands they like at a price they can afford/justify.

I think it does make a difference if the organisational shambles off-the-park also manifests on-the-park. And that's where the Blur line-up cancellation and the VIP fuck-up could hurt them in the long-run. Brand another way of saying goodwill (in the accounting sense), and once that goodwill ebbs away, you've got no brand no matter how recognisable or sexy your logo or name might be.

It certainly escalates the financial risk for next year's event, I think.

nos235

nos235 said on the 10th Feb, 2014

When you run for over 20 years you are going to have to workout a way to transition your demographics smoothly- I think this appeal to the original go-er's (early 90 megabands) was too jarring to that kind of smooth transition. Line Up balancing isn't just about overseas/domestic ratios or types of genres it's also about growing your userbase with new attendees whilst minimising losses of ongoing attendees.