AJ Maddah Pulls Out Of Big Day Out

UPDATE 7:52am AEST 26/05/14: Big Day Out 2015 has been cancelled – details here.

The Big Day Out is now owned entirely by a US company as documents obtained by Music Feeds reveal that festival promoter AJ Maddah stepped down as Big Day Out director and transferred his stake in the Australian festival entirely over to American partners C3 Presents.

The documents reveal that as of 4th June this year all the shares in B.D.O. Presents Pty Ltd held by Madjo BDO Pty Ltd were transferred entirely over to the US-based company C3 Presents LLC. On the same day, Arash (AJ) Maddah also ceased his role as the BDO director.

The newly appointed director of BDO Presents, according to the document, is Blake Kendrick. A person with the same name is listed as Assistant Accountant to the Big Day Out on LinkedIn. The company’s new registered address belongs to an Australian law firm.

Maddah was officially named as a co-investor in the Big Day Out in September 2013 by founder and former rival Ken West. West told Fairfax that it was “about time I let a new generation help continue the BDO evolution.” Adding, “In short AJ is joining the BDO circus and I am staying. So the BDO team will now be C3, AJ Maddah and yours truly.”

Fairfax in the report quotes Maddah as claiming he held an “equal” financial interest in the BDO but didn’t reveal specifics. The documents obtained by Music Feeds show that two lots of shares were transferred from West and an unnamed company to Maddah in November 2013, leaving Ken West with no remaining stake in BDO Presents.

All of those shares have now been transferred from Maddah to C3 Presents with the document clearly naming Arash Maddah and Kenneth West as “previous directors” of BDO Presents.

The Big Day Out has been marred by financial losses, run ins with local councils and diminishing attendance figures over the last year with doubts circling about the event’s future viability. A previous investigation by Fairfax alleged that Big Day Out’s 2014 instalment had put the company in the red for between $8-15 million.

The same report quoted a senior figure in the Australian music scene saying the Big Day Out had become “a f—ing mess”. The unnamed source questioned whether the $5 million of existing debt, alleged to have been Maddah’s equity to enter a deal with C3, was ever actually paid.

The report speculated that Mr Maddah could try to walk away from the deal, leaving the American company to deal with the losses accrued from the 2014 Big Day Out. Maddah at the time denied that he ever owned 50 per cent of the event and said his relationship with C3 had not broken down.

In a February interview with triple J‘s current affairs program, Hack, Maddah confirmed BDO were running a loss after the 2014 event but said he didn’t know specifics. “We still don’t know, but it’s gonna be ugly,” he said.

Maddah also said that Big Day Out 2014 was not going to go ahead until he stepped into the company. “They were on the edge of cancelling the event,” he explained. “In my mind, then it would be lost and you could never bring it back.”

AJ Maddah, Big Day Out CEO Adam Zammit and C3 Presents have all been contacted for comment. They have not replied in time for publication.

This is a developing story, we will bring you more updates as they come to hand.

UPDATE 7:52am AEST 26/05/14: Big Day Out 2015 has been cancelled – details here.


Gallery: Big Day Out 2014 – Perth, Arena Joondalup, 02/02/14

Photographed by Court McAllister

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