Members of the fun police are trying to throw a spanner in the works for Big Day Out 2013, who after a year of ups and downs are ready to put their past problems behind them as they look to reclaim their mantle as Australia’s biggest festival.
After dismal ticket sales, the 2012 events in Perth, New Zealand, and Adelaide were downgraded, with the event in Perth relocated from Claremont Showground to Victoria Park and the New Zealand leg of the festival scrapped altogether.
Since then the new team have wasted no time in trying to turn the festival around, and local Perth promoter Chris Knight has already begun negotiations to return the festival back to Claremont with the Royal Agricultural Society.
“The Big Day Out will come back here,” Royal Agricultural Society chief executive Martin Molony told the Western Suburbs Weekly (via FasterLouder) in Perth last week. “The showground is the only venue in Perth that can house 40,000 people safely.”
“We think it is the premier venue in WA for holding events of this size and nature because of the way it is laid out,” added Knight. “The toilets, transport and train line – there are lots of reasons why Claremont is a great venue for it.”
But not everyone is welcoming the festival back with open arms, including Claremont mayor Jock Barker and a number of local councillors who are vocally opposing its return.
“The Big Day Out is not welcome and I don’t want to see it back in Claremont,” Mayor Barker said. “I was happy to see the back of it. It does nothing useful for the Town.”
Claremont councillor Peter Browne has gone one step further saying he and his allies on the council are trying to ban all live music events from the showgrounds because it’s what ratepayers would want.
“I accept that the young and not-so-young need somewhere to go but Claremont is shouldering more than its share,” Browne said.
“The benefits of such concerts are hopelessly outweighed by the intolerable noise, the late finish, the high level of criminal activity and general social misbehaviour in and outside of the grounds.”
Big Day Out rival Soundwave also use Claremont Showgrounds for their Perth venue so Browne’s crusade also appears to throw the future of that festival in doubt.
Regardless, you can be sure a long protracted battle is about the begin with the council, and we all know that’s exactly how ratepayers love to see their money spent.
And when the dust has all settled we can all go back to our normal lives, including the mayor and Browne who can turn their attention back to more pressing matters – like getting those damn kids off their lawn.