Australia's Big Day Out Festival Canceled for 2015

Kara Bertoncini

by Kara Bertoncini

Published June 26, 2014


Australia's biggest festival, Big Day Out (BDO), has been canceled for 2015 but has every intention of coming back in 2016.

C3 Presents -- the American festival promoters behind Lollapolooza and South by Southwest -- are the new owners of BDO and announced the news to Triple J's Hack that the celebrated Australian festival will take a year off. They said in a statement:

C3 Presents is proud to own Big Day Out, one of the most iconic and established festival brands in the world. While we intend to bring back the festival in future years, we can confirm there will not be a Big Day Out in 2015. We love working on BDO and are excited about the future.

Last year's festival seemed to be the final straw in its demise, as it lost a whopping (AU)$15 million. Former co-owner AJ Maddah lost (AU)$5.5 million of his own money and has temporarily sold his shares in the company. He spoke about the financials with Hack:

C3 have been gracious enough to provide me with a situation where, once we knew we weren’t going ahead and capital wasn’t needed immediately, I got to withdraw that capital and have the option to be back in the festival and to buy my shareholding back for a $1 at the time we decide to go ahead with the festival again. Which I’m quite certain will be 2016... As it stands, I don’t have a financial ownership in the Big Day Out. I have the option to buy my 50% shareholding back for a $1 once we start to recapitalize for the Big Day Out 2016... Yes, I am still involved, yes, the Big Day Out will come back in 2016 and the festival is alive.

After the lack of public interest in last year's festival, the team at C3 Presents and Maddah are in the process of re-conceptualizing the festival to make it more appealing.

So the festival is in hibernation, it will come back, we are working on the 2016 lineup as it stands between myself and C3, and we’re also working on introducing a lot of new elements to the festival so all of those things are happening at the moment.

Vivian Lees, who helped found the BDO back in 1992, sold his share to C3 Presents in 2011 and says he is sad to see the festival at such a low. "It's pretty tragic that it won't be coming in this year... I think what happened last year, no one would have expected that the audience would have so little interest in the event with such a great lineup," he said.

BDO has been one of the most sought after Australian music festivals since 1992 when it debuted in Sydney before expanding to Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth the following year. Festivals on the Gold Coast and in Auckland, New Zealand were later added in 1994.

Headlining acts from around the world have taken to the BDO stage over the years, including Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, The Offspring, The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Limp Bizkit, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Beastie Boys, Muse, The Killers, Kanye West, Pearl Jam and Arcade Fire.

Listen to the full interview with AJ Maddah, Vivian Lees and callers below.

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