Ken West, who founded and created the Big Day Out Festival, has tragically passed away in his sleep at the age of 64.

Ken West, who founded the iconic Big Day Out Festival, has passed away in his sleep this morning, April 7th, at the age of 64.

The festival was grande in scale, drawing in large acts and local Australian names as well, and ran from 1992 to 2014. The first Big Day Out festival, which West organized in January of 1992, featured 21 bands, headlined by Violent Femmes, and most famously featured Nirvana at their peak.

Not long after, the festival took to the road— showing in six different cities every Summer. Headliners included Neil Young, Metallica, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, Muse, Pearl Jam, The White Stripes, and more.

The statement from his family, reported by @steph_harmon in this case, covers his life and passing.


Ken West, founder and creator of the iconic Big Day Out festival has passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 64.

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His family have issued a brief statement confirming the sad news:

“We bring unfortunate news that, Ken West; a father, husband, mentor and most of all a legend, has passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of the 7th April 2022. Our family would appreciate respect and privacy during this difficult time. Ken was big and noisy in life, but passed quietly and peacefully.”

Ken, along with his business partner Viv Lees, produced the record-breaking Big Day Out festival that toured Australia and New Zealand from 1992 through to 2014. In its heyday the festival featured world-renowned international acts such as Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Chemical Brothers, Rammstein, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Patti Smith and PJ Harvey along with a myriad of Australian acts such as Powderfinger, Hilltop Hoods and Spiderbait who became household names through their main stage appearances at the event.

In January this year Ken had released an excerpt from his upcoming book to mark the 30th Anniversary of the inaugural Big Day Out that took place in Sydney in 1992.

Ken is survived by his wife Cathy, son Oliver and his many comrades, collaborators and friends he made along the way.”

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