Ken West has gone into detail about the major problems that went on behind the scenes while organising the Big Day Out 2012 and how the event was almost cancelled. In an interview with the New Zealand Herald, West has spoken about the failed Prince and Blink 182 bids and his business partner Vivian Lee’s quitting after the event received Facebook abuse. He has also spoken about the anger from the Sound Garden and Kanye West management when he tried to cancel the event.
West explained that when Vivian Lees pulled out of the company, they decided to cancel the event, however that didn’t go down well with Sound Garden and Kanye:
When my business partner pulled out, the show was basically over, it was over for probably 3 days totally. Then as I went through the process of going through this as virtually the receiver of my own event with the international acts Princely, Sound Garden’s and Kanye’s people, there was a great lot of confusion and anger.
West has explained what caused Vivian Lees to leave the partnership just days after tickets went on sale saying:
So the long and the short of it is that when we went through the process I said it has to go forward, but my business partner decided after it went on sale and he looked through all the figures that he didn’t want to do it ever again, it was over … What I successfully managed to do without any choice is to piss off the heavy rock fans by having Kanye close and then get all the vitriol from Facebook, which is part of the reason why my 58 year old (Vivian) left. It went on sale Friday, he turned 58 on Saturday and on Monday he wanted to turn it all off. He couldn’t deal with it, this show is actually a victim of Facebook abuse and he took it all in… I pissed off the heavy metal fans and then the Kanye fans, so I managed to piss of everybody.
West believes they were trying to deliver an impossible line-up to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the festival and in the end that was the root of all their problems; West said:
Fundamentally, what happened is that I felt personally with the 20th year we were trying so hard to deliver the impossible … when we got to that point I kinda said ‘well we can just have a year off’ but that wasn’t workable for my business partner (Vivian), cause I kinda think like 97 I stopped and I wasn’t comin back because it was just too hard and then it just came back because nobody seemed to let go of it … that was meant to be the end of it, it wasn’t a year off, it was gone – I didn’t want to do it again, it was putting too much pressure on my nerves, my life … it was putting everything I own on the line every year – my home, everything.
He also confirmed the rumours that Prince and Blink 182 were possibilities for the line-up and that both acts had in fact contacted the Big Day Out first:
We got asked a year ago by Prince’s representation saying we really want to do the Big Day Out and so we spent a year working that forward … then at the same time we had Blink 182 chasing us for a year saying this will get Travis on the plane, neither happened …
Watch the full interview here.