Big Day Out’s head honcho is none too happy with the media’s reports that the festival is in a state of crisis in the lead up to the 2014 edition, featuring triple headliners Arcade Fire, Blur, and Pearl Jam.
Following yesterday’s reports that the future of the iconic Australian music festival was in doubt, with a Fairfax media article citing anonymous industry sources as saying the Big Day Out is “tipped to lose up to $10 million, potentially making the event unsustainable in the future;” Big Day Out CEO Adam Zammit has lashed out at the journalist and editor of the piece, questioning their ethics and sources, as The Music points out.
The spat unfolded over Twitter between Zammit and Sydney Morning Herald music editor Peter Vincent, before involving The Age writer Chris Johnston and Soundwave boss/newly minted Big Day Out co-promoter, AJ Maddah, who had already criticised the rumours of Big Day Out’s struggles.
— Adam Zammit (@AdamZammit) October 21, 2013
What followed was a series of tweets in which Zammit cat-called the print media writers for holding bitter grudges over lack of accreditation to the festival (“maybe Chris J got refused a special shiny pass… once?”), while Johnston and his editor note they had approached Zammit for clarification on the industry sources mentioned in the article ahead of publication – without response.
— Chris Johnston (@mrcjohnston) October 21, 2013
Those same industry sources had claimed that the Big Dy Out’s New Zealand leg, which had secured a new venue for a five year term earlier this year, could also be at risk, while the entire touring event’s festival was reportedly in jeopardy from low ticket sales, potentially lost income on sideshows, as well as the high costs of ensnaring the festival’s ‘white whale’ triple-headline bill of Arcade Fire, Blur, and Pearl Jam – estimated to be in a million-dollar, seven-figure mark.
The Age article also refutes that Big Day Out promoter Ken West was still a working entity at the festival following Maddah buying a stake in the festival brand last month. West described the shake-up as a ‘passing of the torch’ of the brand, with Maddah being “the logical choice” for the event’s future, but The Age indicated that “Ken West has left the Big Day Out building, even though he is saying he’s welcomed A.J. to the circus.”
Maddah (who seems to have become fast twitter friends with his new Big Day Out boss) also weighed in on Zammit’s biting comments, taking a dig at Fairfax’s falling circulation and revenue streams; the Sydney Morning Herald editor replying that the Big Day Out team were welcome to issue a response to the article.
— AJ (@iamnotshouting) October 21, 2013
— Peter Vincent (@PeterVthatsme) October 21, 2013
Among the war of words (which you can view in full below), Zammit indicates that the booking of the Big Day Out 2015 lineup has already begun, while telling another follower that a second lineup announcement for next year’s bill is due in the coming weeks, as FasterLouder points out.
@MattyRulz666 all going to plan probably 2 weeks at max but nothing ever goes to plan mate
— Adam Zammit (@AdamZammit) October 16, 2013
As for who to expect to be added to the bill alongside the likes of Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Blur, Snoop Doog, Major Lazer, Tame Impala, and Flume, it’s highly likely that Brazilian indie outfit CSS – a refugee from AJ Maddah’s Harvest 2013 lineup following its cancellation – could end up on the bill. Likewise New Orleans soul fusion rockers Mutemath, who were originally headed for the Soundwave 2014 lineup, until Maddah recently switched plans, tweeting “they’ll be out early next year,” which could put them on the Big Day Out bill.
The promoter has described the additional artist additions as a “supplementary announcement,” downplaying any extra headliner-sized acts. The second Big Day Out 2014 lineup announcement was originally scheduled last month, but was delayed given the news that the second day in Sydney for next year’s edition had to be scrapped owing to poor ticket sales.