Big Day Out promoter predicts huge financial losses for Australian festival

AJ Maddah says, "It's going to be ugly"

Big Day Out promoter AJ Maddah has predicted huge financial losses for the Australian festival following a troubled run in 2014.

The touring festival was co-headlined by Arcade Fire and Pearl Jam this year, after Blur pulled out of the event in 2013. Starting in Auckland, New Zealand, the tour worked its way through Australia and ended last Sunday (February 2) in Perth. The festival has been plagued with problems, with reports of low attendances and Blur’s own criticism of the festival’s organisers following their decision to cancel their appearance.

Speaking to Triple J about the festival and its future, Maddah painted a negative picture saying that losses of around $8m (£4.3m) are to be expected and adding simply: “It’s going to be ugly.”

Maddah bought into Big Day Out in 2013 and claims that this year’s festival was not even set to take place this year until he got involved. “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.”

The promoter confirmed that Big Day Out will not return to Perth in 2015 but that he remains positive for the overall future of the event. “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.”

Other artists who performed at Big Day Out in 2014 included Major Lazer, Beady Eye, Deftones, The Hives and Tame Impala.