With the Perth leg of the one-day touring festival finishing up on Monday at the Claremont Showground, the re-branded, re-energised Big Day Out has officially entered into hibernation after what was a crucial year for the festival and its organisers, and official figures from event organisers now demonstrate that it was a success as far as attendance was concerned.

FasterLouder have put together some revealing figures researched from various sources reflecting ticket sales and attendance figures for the 2013 Big Day Out, showing that they are universally up from last year’s troubled tour.

As FasterLouder point out, despite lopping New Zealand’s Auckland leg from the touring schedule, and only running one event in Sydney (as well as shifting the traditional Australia Day  celebrations to Melbourne) this year’s festival sold nearly 201,000 tickets, which is nearly 30,000 more than Big Day Out 2012.

Sydney’s leg once again drew the most punters, and despite the sweltering heat (reaching a top of 45.8 degrees), approx. 57,000 revellers turned up to Olympic Park on “the hottest day experienced by the NSW capital in recorded history,” according to our Tone Deaf reviewer, who reasoned that “great rewards require great sacrifices.” Adding that the “acts more than compensated for the weather.”

The Gold Coast leg of the festival sold nearly 40,000 tickets, the more controversial edition of the festival in which Vampire Weekend’s set was marred by, “the whole… er… flashing incident,” as our reviewer put it, referring to the ‘Get Em Out’ messages displayed on the main screen of the event that led to Big Day Out organisers firing a rogue contractor. As well as being the same set where Cub Scouts frontman Tim Nelson was the victim of a random attack.

In a more positive light, the Gold Coast Big Day Out has recently struck a deal to keep its current home for the next five years, following worries that the State Government was shouldering the event out in order to accomodate construction for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The attendance figures for the 2013 Big Day Out show that they are universally up from last year’s troubled tour.

Over in Adelaide, numbers were characteristically smaller than other states, with 19,000+ in ticket sales, but still a boon from 2012’s worrying figure of just 12,000. Both are still down however from the festival’s strong 2011 showing of more than 30,000. Conversely, Perth’s final figures show a huge jump from 2012, nearly tripling the figures to reach around 35,000 ticket sales.

The Australia Edition of Big Day Out also drew large numbers, with over 50,000 tickets sold to revellers heading out to celebrate, with many acts getting in on the action. As our Melbourne reviewer reported, Gary Clark Jr., The Medics, and JEFF The Brotherhood all donned Aboriginal flags for their sets, while The Killers led the crowd into a rousing rendition of Waltzing Matilda.

The strong tickets sales for 2013 can be attributed to big international names like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Animal Collective, but also – as part of its rebranding – sating festival-goers with extracurricular initiatives, such as the scrumptious Chow Town Menu, a Mexican Wrestling bar, the return of the Lilypad, and even a fully automated robotic band.

Promoter Ken West recently called the 2013 Big Day Out “a ground-up rebuild,” with “the slant this year [being] high-quality musicianship,” hoping to lure back an older demographic who have dismissed the festival as a young peoples’ event in recent years.

“You have to adapt to a point of view that believes that after 20 years of festivals a whole generation of people think they are too old to go,” said West. “They’d love to but they don’t know what the rules are… If we make a really good show, they should come. If it’s a bad experience, they won’t come back,” West said.
It was a fear Big Day Out organisers shared following the disastrous 2012 festival that saw the cancellation of stages and acts as it limped across the country on low ticket sales and expensive bookings (such as Soundgarden and Kanye West).

After which West’s co-promoter and business partner Vivian Lees walked out, leaving the promoter to forge the brand’s pulling power with a new creative partnership with C3 – responsible for Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits – to forge Creative Festival Entertainment.

Having laid the groundwork with their 2013 edition it now looks like Big Day Out can carve a path into its next the next phase of its life after the successful attendance rates of its 21st birthday.

But as our Melbourne reviewer pondered, “though it delivered on the promise of ‘high quality musicianship’ the poor crowd culture that detracts from Big Day Out’s reputation remained,” concerned that the bogan culture – that marred the Gold Coast leg – is still a hurdle may have to overcome for future iterations.

You can view the full Big Day Out attendance figures according to FasterLouder, and our Big Day Out coverage below:

Big Day Out 2013 Attendance Figures

2013 – 57,000
2012 – 47,000
2011 – 55,000

Gold Coast:
2013 – Nearly 40, 000
2012 – 40,000+
2011 – 50,000 (Sold Out)

2013 – More than 19, 000
2012 – 12,000
2011 – 30,000+

2013 – Over 50,000
2012 – 42,000
2011 – 52,000 (Sold Out)

2013 – Around 35, 000
2012 – 12,000
2011 – 35,000

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