Big Day Out promoter Ken West sounds off on competition
Who's saying what
During the video interview, West claimed that Prince, Blink-182 and Eminem were all offered spots on the 2012 festival. He also said that the Big Day Out was "actually cancelled for three days" after co-founder Vivian Lees left the business in November last year, as well as discussing how "the competition levels in Australia [have gone] crazy" in recent times. "You're in this quandry of you're trying to do something that's important to the local scene," told West. "But other people are just trying to cherry-pick the things that work out of your event."
In a one-on-one chat TheVine conducted with West today out at Flemington Racecourse, the festival site in Melbourne, the promoter was again strikingly candid. After discussing the festival's recent internal revamp and the hazards of putting together a line-up in the current festival climate ("Oh fuck yeah [the line-up is confusing]. But it's always meant to be confusing."), TheVine likened his outpouring with the NZ Herald ("It was a strange day", claimed West) to that of Soundwave festival promoter AJ Maddah, who's highly visible online communications — as well as endearing him to fans — have previously landed the rival promoter in hot water. But as outlined in the below excerpt from our forthcoming interview, West claims that such competition has been causing more "harm" than good:
"I'll say it to his face — I don't think AJ's got any interest in anything but his own agenda," West told TheVine. "He hasn't got any interest in the Australian music scene whatsoever. He should go to another country. And it's a bit of a shame really. 'Cause having 90 international acts come in on one show -- there's no financial logic to what he's doing, and I've just got to ride that out. That's all it really comes down to."
The Big Day Out organiser did concede Maddah's recent success however. "Hat's off to him, he's done really well this year [with Soundwave]," said West. "[But] at the same time he's been trying to spin it that it was Van Halen that everyone was waiting for. [The loss of Van Halen was blamed in part for the cancellation of Soundwave spin-off, Soundwave Revolution last August - Ed]. The Big Day Out knows that it's easier when we put a big metal band on. And it's a lot harder when we go down a more diverse complex path."
"But the one thing is, we started first," claimed West in regards to his rivals. "[We] planned it first, and [now] pretty much all the other events have taken the research and development that we've done and put it back into their own show. [Without] offering any new revelations or efforts, without [now] copying what we've already done. I'm more than happy to say that. And I think that in the long run I would hope that [Maddah] could become a little bit more...caring. You know, this is the guy who said he didn't like doing timesheets with Portishead. It's easy to write on your press release what [your festival's] going to be. It's really hard to do it."
Stay tuned for our full-length interview with Ken West. The Big Day Out kicks-off in New Zealand next week, before rolling through Australia. Dates below.
BIG DAY OUT - 2012
FRIDAY, 20 JANUARY, 2012 - AUCKLAND MT SMART STADIUM - (Tickets $160 (incl GST) + bf*.)
SUNDAY, 22 JANUARY, 2012 - GOLD COAST PARKLANDS
Smith Street, Southport. Gates open 11am
THURSDAY, 26 JANUARY, 2012 - SYDNEY SHOWGROUND
Showground Road, Sydney Olympic Park. Gates open 11am.
SUNDAY, 29 JANUARY, 2012 - MELBOURNE FLEMINGTON RACECOURSE
Epsom Rd, Flemington, Melbourne. Gates Open 11am
FRIDAY, 3 FEBRUARY, 2012 - ADELAIDE SHOWGROUND
Rose Terrace, Wayville, Adelaide. Gates Open 11am
SUNDAY, 5 FEBRUARY, 2012 - VICTORIA PARK FORESHORE (MCCALLUM PARK)
Victoria Park, Perth
Tickets are $165 (incl GST) + bf*, and on sale now.
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