The Big Day Out 2014 lineup suffered a major blow over the weekend when co-headliners Blur cancelled, blaming “shifting goalposts” and “very challenging organisers” for pulling out of their first Australian shows since 1997.

The festival organisers have been hard at work at finding a replacement with co-promoter AJ Maddah has already confirmed that the Big Day Out “have a list of targets and are making contact with them all,” – no matter the coast, with protecting the Big Day Out brand taking precedence over profits.

While an official replacement has yet to be secured, (though the likes of Wolfmother, The Delta Riggs, and Wavves have cheekily offered their services), new comments from Maddah say that an announcement could be due this week, while the Big Day Out 2014 lineup expands with four new bands added to each leg of the festival, playing the newly added headspace Stage.

“We’ve cast a fairly wide net because of the time frame [and] we hope to announce replacements this week,” Maddah told 774 ABC Radio on Monday (as FasterLouder reports), while admitting that while the festival had been as surprised by the Blur cancellation as ticket-holders, he rejected the idea that it would have any serious effect on the festival’s plans or future.

“If anything, it’s galvanised us to work even harder and put on a better show. We’re already planning 2015. We’re going to have a great show this year; it’s looking good,” Maddah explained. “We’ve cast a fairly wide net because of the time frame [and] we hope to announce replacements this week…”

Additionally, speaking to The Age, the Soundwave Festival boss revealed there had been – as of Tuesday morning – only 87 requests for refunds and that the “feedback we are getting from most ticket-holders is quite positive and I am optimistic that people will be pleased with the replacement artist(s).”

Maddah said that the cost of securing a replacement “won’t be cheap”, confirming that a portion of Blur’s booking fee had already been paid before their cancellation, with no guarantee that the fee would be repaid, but that it “will not put the event or any of the stakeholders in any difficulty;” chiefly thanks to the weight of the Big Day Out’s co-owners, C3 Presents, the American promotions company behind Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.

As for any clues as to who the Blur replacement could be, Maddah only let on that they wouldn’t be an Aussie band and instead that the net they’d cast was across America and the UK. “There are few Australian artists left that have the requisite draw to be on top of a festival bills,” Maddah explained, while noting that bringing another Big Day Out band up to headline the bill was “not an option.”

Speaking of the sudden Blur cancellation, Maddah admits “we were completely caught with our pants down,” while explaining that he – like most punters – learnt about the news via social media, with little clarification on the issue yet to come to light, though the promoter believes “money was never the issue,” having received “a very considered apology from one of [Blur’s] representatives regretting the band’s cancellation via Facebook and acknowledging our efforts… but no adequate explanation,” he says. The Big Day Out 2014 lineup expands with four new bands added to each leg of the festival, playing the newly added headspace Stage.

“Since then we have learned that Blur have done the same thing previously to promoters in Asia where they also cancelled via Facebook without notice and blamed promoters using very similar language,” adds Maddah, referring to Blur’s appearance to headline this year’s Tokyo Rocks festival earlier this year, pulling out just six weeks ahead of the event, as well as additional Asian tour dates.

In the meantime, the Big Day Out 2014 lineup is expanding with the announcement of the winners of a competition offering bands the chance to play the iconic festival.

Created in partnership with Australian youth mental health foundation, headspace (small ‘h’), the competition saw an “expert panel of Australian music industry movers and shakers” appointed by Big Day Out and headspace to select bands worthy to join the one-day touring event, playing the newly-minted headspace Stage (replacing the traditional Red Stage).

After 25,000 votes were cast for over 460 musical applicants vying for the coveted slot, the winners of the headspace competition will see four new bands added to each of Big Day Out’s five legs.

Performing at the opening Gold Coast date next January are indie four-piece The Royales, pop punk group Double Lined Minority, psych-dance rockers The Belligerents, and rapper-fronted synth band Sneeky Picnic.

Playing the headspace Stage in Melbourne are 90s-inspired hard rockers Audemia, pop rock outfit Let’s Not Pretend, surf coast garage group Altitude, and blues/metal/grunge mixers Arcane Saints. Sydney audiences will get Tiffany Britchford & The Reckless Abandon, the prog-leaning Cuervo, the rootsy Benjalu and “The Killers meets The Wombats” vibes of The Never Ever.

Adelaide’s bill is gifted young rock purists Sweet Anarchy, alt-riff wranglers Skythief, the hard hammering Audio Reign, and classic rock four-piece Heston Drop. Rounding out the headspace competition winners and Big Day Out 2014 lineup additions in Perth are My Team Dilemma (from the Northern Territory), and local WA bands Brufield, Lunar Inverse, and From The Dunes.

To hear music form each of the headspace Stage bands, and further artist info, head to

Big Day Out 2014 Lineup

headspace Competition Winners:

Gold Coast
The Royales
Double Lined Minority
The Belligerents
Sneeky Picnic

Let’s Not Pretend
Arcane Saints

Tiffany Britchford & The Reckless Abandon

Sweet Anarchy
Audio Reign
Heston Drop

My Team Dilemma
Lunar Inverse
From The Dunes

joining the lineup of

Vista Chino
The Drones
Violent Soho
Jungle Giants
All Of The Colours
Bliss N Eso (Not playing Adelaide)
360 (Adelaide Only)

Joining the already announced lineup of:

Pearl Jam * Arcade Fire * Blur
Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion * Major Lazer * Steve Angello (Swedish House Mafia) * Flume * The Lumineers * Tame Impala * Dillon Francis * Mac Miller * Ghost * Grouplove * Flosstradamus * Portugal. The Man * Toro Y Moi * DIIV * The Naked And Famous * Big Gigantic * PEZ * Mudhoney * Cosmic Psychos * Northlane * The 1975 * Loon Lake * Kingswood * Bo Ningen * The Algorithm * DZ Deathrays * Peking Duk * Ben Morris * Rüfüs

Big Day Out 2014 Dates & Venues

Friday 17th January ~ Western Springs, Auckland*
Sunday 19th January ~ Metricon Stadium & Carrara Parklands, Gold Coast
Friday 24th January ~ Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Sunday 26th January ~ Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney
Friday 31st January ~ Bonython Park, Adelaide**
Sunday 2nd February ~ Claremont Showgrounds, Perth**

*For New Zealand Big Day Out 2014 lineup and ticketing details, please refer and choose AUCKLAND

**Subject to council approval

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