Image for Damon Albarn on Blur’s BDO cancellation: “They weren't being straight with me”

Damon Albarn on Blur’s BDOcancellation: “They weren'tbeing straight with me”

Blur frontman Damon Albarn has opened up about the reasons behind Blur’s decision to pull out of the Big Day Out one month before the festival was due to start.

Speaking with the New Zealand Herald to mark the release of his debut solo album Everyday Robots, Albarn momentarily went off script to discuss Blur’s shock cancellation telling the newspaper, “this is as frank as I’m prepared to be about what happened”.

“That was going to be the last Blur show – the end of playing together – and I didn’t want it to finish on anything other than a very positive note, because Blur is incredibly precious to all of us,” the singer explained. “But I was genuinely concerned that the whole [Big Day Out] thing wouldn’t be quite as spiritually conclusive as we hoped it would be, because we weren’t sure if the organisation was quite right, or supportive of our ambitions.”

Blur blindsided fans and promoters with a statement issued via social media, claiming they had cancelled their BDO appearances in January due to “constantly shifting goalposts and challenging conditions of the organisers”. The band had been scheduled to close the festival on a purpose built “Love Stage”, but those plans were reportedly scrapped due to costs. Big Day Out promoter AJ Maddah has dismissed those claims as “absolute nonsene”, claiming frictions within the band led to their cancellation in an interview with triple j.

“They [the organisers] weren’t being straight with me about things,” said Albarn, “which they needed to be, and at that point I became disillusioned because I didn’t want what we’d done throughout the year, with Blur, to be undermined or tarnished in any way, by a show that wasn’t going to be what we wanted to do.

“We’d been playing for six months solidly, around the world, so I knew that we would deliver a fantastic show, a great performance and a communal event, which everyone would have enjoyed,” he continued. “All I asked was that the organisation recognised that and I didn’t feel they did. So, that’s why, unfortunately, we couldn’t come.”


Albarn, who is currently busy promoting his new solo album which features collaborations with Brian Eno and Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes, said that the decision was not made lightly. “I am truly, terribly sorry to everyone that we let down, but we just didn’t want to be anything other than what I felt we deserved to be – our best. If we’d played – and not been that – it would have let people down even more,” he said.

And while Albarn has already said the chances of Blur playing together again are slim he did tell the NZH that he is keen to come back and play Australia in some capacity in the near future. “Don’t anyone forget that I had an absolutely brilliant time with Gorillaz only two years earlier in that part of the world – it was a fantastic experience – and I fully intend to come back and play there again, if I’m allowed. Until then, I understand I have to wait.”

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pureheroine said on the 25th Mar, 2014

des sampson wrote the article


p1owz0r said on the 25th Mar, 2014

Massive insight there Damon, cheers mate.

Plain Views

Plain Views said on the 25th Mar, 2014

Sar-Dogg made it better


LukeWarm said on the 25th Mar, 2014

Thanks for this, FL.

Yeah, to be honest, this is the missing piece that makes everything else fit together. While BDO did a lot to accomodate Blur, it seems they couldn't do enough to allow the band to finish on a high - and it's fair enough that Blur didn't want to finish that way.

If those were going to be Blur's final shows though - it makes me doubly sad to have missed them.


humanracin said on the 25th Mar, 2014

Is he attempting to make up with Australia because he's maybe booked for Splendour as a solo act?
Won't everyone be yelling for Blur songs though?


berlinchair101 said on the 25th Mar, 2014

I feel like I enjoyed people being bummed about missing Blur as much as I would have enjoyed seeing Blur so I broke even in the end.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 25th Mar, 2014


tyler07 said on the 25th Mar, 2014

He hasn't really stated at all though what the exact reason was that they cancelled? Just basically said a fluffed up version of not being happy with the promoters, when they were given the opportunity to close the festival on their own purpose-built stage and not clash with either of the other major headliners. What exactly were these ambitions and desires that weren't met? Seems like the only thing that makes sense is what Maddah(?) had said about being pissy that Arcade Fire were billed above them and were second-last on the mainstage.

I honestly don't care as i'm not a fan of them in the slightest, but they tarnished this year's BDO for a lot of people (and the reputation of the organisation...) for seemingly pretty rubbish reasons.


Lucan said on the 25th Mar, 2014

From what Albarn is suggesting, my guess is when the ticket sales looked dire the promoters may've proposed pulling the "Love Stage".
That would make sense of the "moving goalposts" claim.

In the end, we got The Hives at Billboard and at BDO so I consider myself well in front.


TwoHeadedIdiot said on the 28th Mar, 2014

if bdo were blur's last shows, they would have ended in perth. i think aj said something about how in perth, they wouldn't have been able to close the love stage like they were doing in all the other cities. that wouldn't have made for a very nice final show.


Alskiz said on the 30th Mar, 2014

I was more pissed at DIIV's cancellation tbh