After it was confirmed that there would be no Big Day Out in 2015, it didn’t take long before then-part owner and Soundwave founder AJ Maddah was flooded with questions from devastated punters on social media. Punters not only wanted to know if it was coming back, but why it was gone in the first place.
Addressing one curious follower, Maddah explained, in plain terms, that BDO was taking time off due to what he described as a shortage of headliners. “[Foo Fighters] have headline tour. There was fuck all out there and Outkast have been awful live,” said Maddah.
But it wasn’t just Big Day Out that was suffering from the new plague that had hit the festival market – the problem was global. As Fairfax reported back in 2013, even the event that one Australian festival insider called “the coolest festival brand in the world” was struggling.
“Whoever the headliners [of Coachella] are is a sense of where the music world is at. But this year they wanted Daft Punk and the Rolling Stones, who didn’t want to play – they were chasing headliners they didn’t need.”
“So they had to book the Red Hot Chili Peppers to headline at the last minute because they got desperate,” the insider told the Sydney Morning Herald. “So I look at that and go, if Coachella is desperate, everybody is desperate.”
But just how bad is the headliner drought? Well, a fascinating infographic that comes courtesy of Completely Ignored, who gave us the answer to “Who is the biggest band since Nirvana?”, could shed some light on the issue.
The graphic takes a look at the headliners of such major US festival brands as Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo, since each festival began (in the case of Lollapalooza, since it launched in its home base of Chicago), and notes how many times one band has acted as headliner.
Coming out on top by a wide margin are the Red Hot Chili Peppers (Coachella’s aforementioned saviours), who’ve headlined the festivals featured a total of seven times, including topping the Coachella roster alone a total of three times. Check out the other frequent top-billers below.