09 July 2012
Ken West could be forgiven for calling 2011 his “annus horribilis”. In the 20 years prior, the BDO had made history as the biggest show of its kind which, at its peak in 2009, shifted an estimated 335,000 tickets across six cities. The lead-up to the most recent Big Day Out tour was tough on every level. Changes had to be made, or Big Day Out itself might have been history. Today, TMN can reveal some of those changes.
The BDO returns in 2013 with a reduced ticket price of $165, a fee that applies across all five Australian dates of Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth. And what’s more, BDO will absorb the price of all transaction fees. For visitors to the Western Australia show, the ticket price will include the Perth Department of Transport Levy.
West explains: “For the first time, we have an all-inclusive ticket price. This means no hidden charges, no credit card or booking fees, no train tax and no carbon tax price rise. So when you get to the checkout it’s a flat $165. Easy. It’s time punters stopped looking over their shoulder when it comes to ticket prices.”
An exclusive national retail pre-sale will start from the morning of Monday, July 16, though General Pants stores. All tickets bought through the General Pants chain will automatically enter to win a trip for two to Lollapalooza 2012, held August 3-5 in Chicago.
The Big Day Out’s general ticket on-sale will be staggered on the evening of Thursday July 19. Tickets for the Sydney show will go on-sale from 7pm, followed by the Gold Coast and Perth (8.00pm local time), Melbourne (9.00pm) and Adelaide (9.30pm). 2012 also sees the introduction of the Like A Boss ticket. “This ticket is for the kind of person who wants something more from their festival, an experience that money can buy,” West reveals. “We hate VIP as a word, but we know some of our punters have been coming for many years to our show and deserve a chance for something extra, and then there are just those that are BOSS like in spirit and demand it.”
The Big Day Out’s big bang will happen Monday, July 16 when the full line-up is revealed for the 2013 tour. Check The Music Network next week for more details.
There’s a lot new to do with this year’s Big Day Out. For starters, the tour will take a new route. The Big Day Out will kick-off in Sydney, and zigzag the country. And in 2013, a full show will return to Adelaide and Perth. As previously reported, there won’t be a New Zealand date in 2013, and sideshows will be kept to a minimum.
“As we are tightening the run don’t hold your breath for the sideshows,” West states. “At Big Day Out we put a lot of planning and thought into making it a great festival experience, not one big travelling show with a heap of sideshows attached. We like the idea of people coming to the festival to see their favourite act and leaving having discovered their new favourite act. Also, it doesn’t make sense for us to put on huge sideshows for our headliners that compete for the same audience as the festival itself.”
The five-date juggernaut will also be the first in partnership with US firm C3 Presents, promoter of Lollapalooza, the famous US festival brand which has expanded into Latin America with events in Chile and Brazil. The 2013 travelling fest will also be the first with Adam Zammit in the role as CEO of Big Day Out. Zammit is also CEO of Peer Group Media, publisher of The Music Network.
The partnership with C3 Presents was announced in early January, just weeks out from the 2012 BDO tour. C3 Presents will work with Big Day Out to focus on increasing opportunities for Australian and international artists across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Every year, C3’s US fests attracts more than 200,000 fans over a three-day weekend, and is staged in greenspaces in the urban heart of its host city. C3’s award-winning talent division books and promotes more than 1,000 concerts in arenas, theatres, casinos, and clubs across the US and books major artist tours.
It was all such a different scenario this time last year. BDO founder Ken West and his team were in an altogether different place. Co-founder Viv Lees had dropped a bombshell when he split with the organisation, leaving his colleagues to piece together – and carry the burden – for the BDO’s 20th milestone show.
BDO and C3 Presents are hopeful the new union will create a platform for expansion Down Under, and give both parties better artist-buying muscle. In theory, the partnership could give greater opportunities for sending Australian acts into the U.S. festival market, and American acts Down Under.
Founded in 2007 by Charles Attal, Charlie Jones and Charlie Walker, C3 organizes two of the largest festivals in North America, in Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Those shows grossed US$20 million and $15.4 million respectively in 2011, according to Billboard Boxscore. The Austin, Texas-based company grabbed the “Top U.S. Independent Promoter” gong at the 2011 Billboard Touring Awards.
The BDO started life as a one-date show in 1992 in Sydney. The earliest incarnation of the event hosted performances by Violent Femmes and Nirvana, and playing before less than 10,000 fans. The show expanded, and did so quickly. The following year saw Big Day Out visit Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. The year after, the Gold Coast and Auckland were on the programme. In 2010, the BDO reached the 100- show milestone with the second of two Sydney dates.
This year, the BDO will be avoiding the usual local festival bands for a new generation of acts. “While our support for local artists is as determined as ever, we are focusing much more on the new generation where appearing at the BDO really does make a world of difference; that and a couple of big Aussie acts that are saving all their energy for our audience.”
Look to next week’s issue of TMN for the 2013 Big Day Out line-up.
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