This morning, Tone Deaf reported on the launch of Auckland City Limits, an expansion of the iconic Austin City Limits brand set to hit the New Zealand town of Auckland, which previously hosted a leg of Australia’s Big Day Out, next March.

The event has been brought to life through the combined efforts of Campbell Smith, the promoter of BDO Auckland; C3 Presents, the Austin-based promotions company who bought BDO before its collapse; and C3’s owners, Live Nation Entertainment.

The news that Auckland is set to receive a new festival courtesy of BDO’s organisers with the express intent of filling the void left by the latter’s departure has led to speculation that Australia could be next in line.

The arrival of the end-of-year festival season has seen many punters once again mourning the absence of the long-running Aussie festival, which was a staple of the country’s festival calendar for more than two decades, before folding in 2014.

Mr Smith has made it clear that Auckland City Limits will be curated with Auckland specifically in mind, taking place in March, two months after the BDO’s traditional dates and coinciding with the annual Auckland Arts Festival.

“The Big Day out was an Australian tour and we were just the sixth show,” he told the NZ Herald. “We didn’t have a lot of choice in what was coming here and there were a lot more Australian bands than I thought I would ever need because I had to take them one and it often doesn’t translate.”

As triple j notes, there’s been no official word from C3 Presents or Live Nation Entertainment regarding the future of the Big Day Out since the promoters purchased the beloved Australian festival brand in December last year.

Soundwave founder AJ Maddah, who previously owned a stake in the festival, said back in April that the event would not return until “2017 at [the] earliest”, citing “the pissweak state of the AUD$ and general availability of bankable headliners”.

Speaking to triple j earlier today, Maddah praised Austin City Limits and addressed whether there’s a chance we could see it come to Australia. “I’ve been to Austin City Limits and it is a brilliant festival,” he told the broadcaster.

“Absolutely brilliant, I saw The Cure there a couple of years ago, which made me very happy. It’s a really good festival and if it’s going to be anything like that I think people have something to look forward to.”

[include_post id=”438707″]

“Obviously they’re testing the waters in Auckland and if it’s successful then hopefully it’ll come here,” Maddah added. Things have been silent on the BDO front since its departure, though there was speculation last year that Lollapalooza could expand to Australia.

Speaking to Billboard in August last year, event founder Perry Farrell said he was “excited” about Lollapalooza’s international plans, though he didn’t mention Australia specifically. Lollapalooza and Australia are linked via C3 Presents, who promote the Chicago event.

During an appearance on triple j’s Hack in June last year, AJ Maddah said BDO could potentially be rebranded as Lollapalooza Australia. “Absolutely, absolutely,” the promoter replied when asked about the possibility.

“Look I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Austin this year, post-event with the guys at C3 and being Lollapalooza doesn’t change the fact that there are no headliners… it’s not the name that you put on top of the festival, it’s what you provide.”

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine