Big Day Out promoter AJ Maddah has said that event organisers may announce a replacement for UK Britpop ensemble Blur, who unceremoniously cancelled their appearance as co-headliners at BDO 2014 on Sunday via Facebook, some time this week, during a radio interview yesterday.
“We’re massively disappointed, obviously,” said Maddah of the cancellation. “We’re also massively disappointed by their conduct, because I guess we all passed out at some point on Saturday night and everything was fine and then woke up on Sunday to get a rude surprise via Facebook.”
Maddah had previously stated on Twitter that the band’s cancellation came as news to him and the rest of the Big Day Out organisation, saying, “Am trying to find out [what's happened] myself. Far as I know BDO gave into every demand within the possibility of curfews & public safety.”
Maddah reiterated those sentiments to Raf Epstein on 774 ABC radio yesterday, telling the host, “We said ‘yes’ to this band probably from the personal bias of everyone in our organisation loving them so much. We said ‘yes’ to every reasonable demand…”
Maddah expanded on Blur’s demands, which the promoter alluded to on Twitter, including a request to swap with Arcade Fire, saying, “We said ‘yes’ to them having their own stage, we said ‘yes’ to every production request, we said ‘yes’ to every travel request, we said ‘yes’ to everything.”
Maddah also explained to Epstein that Blur’s Big Day Out cancellation is not the first time the UK indie legends have pulled such a stunt, saying:
“We found out today that they did exactly the same thing when they canceled their Asian tour last year, with pretty much the same language and those promoters also found out via Facebook, and they were a bit bewildered about what the band was going on about.
“So I’m not sure that we’re an isolated incident.”
An Australian expat living in Asia informed Maddah via Twitter of the incident in Asia, wherein, as FasterLouder reports, Blur was booked to headline this year’s Tokyo Rocks festival, subsequently cancelling six weeks out from the festival date citing “management problems.”
The band’s cancellation, however, does not spell the end for Big Day Out, as many people on social media have been speculating, with Maddah telling Epstein that plans for 2015 are already being made and that Blur’s “replacement or replacements” is expected to be announced imminently.
“If anything, it’s galvanised us to work even harder and put on a better show,” said Maddah. “At the moment we’re reaching out to a large number of really great and worthy replacements, we will have them replaced, hopefully, within a matter of days and we’ll make an announcement.”
For disappointed punters looking to refund their tickets, Maddah said, “We’re hoping to announce our replacements this week, replacement or replacements, and at that point if anyone’s not satisfied they will be able to get an immediate refund.” Readers can listen to the full interview, below.
UPDATE: According to a new report by The Age, there have so far been only “87 requests” for refunds, since the news of Blur’s cancellation broke, with Maddah saying, “people will be pleased with the replacement artist(s)”.
The search for a replacement artist or artists is reportedly being centred on the US and the UK, because, as Maddah says, “there are few Australian artists left that have the requisite draw to be on top of a festival bills” and having an already rostered act step up to the plate is “not an option.”
“It won’t be cheap,” Maddah told Fairfax, confirming that the first portion of Blur’s performance fee had already been paid prior to their cancellation and indicating that the cost of finding a replacement act will outweigh any costs incurred from refunding tickets.
However, Maddah’s confidence in the event refuses to wane, with the promoter saying Blur’s dropping out “will not put the event or any of the stakeholders in any difficulty,” largely due to the backing of its US co-owners C3, the organisers of Lollapalooza.
Maddah revealed that despite the incommunicative attitude of the band, he had received “a very considered apology from one of their representatives regretting the band’s cancellation via Facebook and acknowledging our efforts.”
However, the apology included “no adequate explanation” for the band’s cancellation.
Listen: AJ Maddah speaks to Raf Epstein on 774 ABC Radio
@cfimages What was the excuse for the cancellation?
— AJ (@iamnotshouting) November 25, 2013
@iamnotshouting They said "circumstances beyond our control" and said the promoter did it. The promoters found out from FB.
— craig ferguson (@cfimages) November 25, 2013
— AJ (@iamnotshouting) November 25, 2013
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