Ken West, the promoter of the Big Day Out, has commented on fellow Soundwave and tour promoter AJ Maddah’s tactics in a recent interview with The Vine, calling him a “financial anarchist” and saying that “He should go to another country. He’s done more harm to what was a reasonably stable business here.”
West, who is now the solo promoter for the Big Day Out tour, continues with his comments in this very candid interview: “He hasn’t got any interest in the Australian music scene whatsoever … I’ll say it to his face – I don’t think AJ’s got any interest in anything but his own agenda … and it’s a bit of a shame really. ‘Cause having 90 international acts come in on one show – I don’t even know how that’s legal. There’s no financial logic to what he’s doing, and I’ve just got to ride that out. That’s all it really comes down to.”
But despite the criticism, he is quite impressed with the festival’s efforts, admitting “Hat’s off to him, he’s done really well this year … [But] at the same time he’s been trying to spin it that it was Van Halen that everyone was waiting for,” referring to the failed Soundwave Revolution Festival. “The Big Day Out knows that it’s easier when we put a big metal band on. And it’s a lot harder when we go down a more diverse complex path.”
Late last year West gave another very in depth interview with the NZ Herald, where he admitted that this year’s festival was one of the toughest to organise in its 20-year history. From Facebook abuse contributing to the loss of his business partner Vivian Lees, being led on by certain bands only to have them pull out of negotiations, and all the frustrations that could have had the festival cancelled altogether.
Maddah, who’s known to be quite publicly verbal on his Twitter, has yet to comment (or know) about the interview.