The future of the Big Day Out is looking more and more uncertain, especially as its fate now rests solely in the hands of an American corporation. What is known for certain is that the festival will not return this year, in the wake of huge financial losses in 2014. This week, the festival’s US owners spoke out about the Big Day Out’s losses, saying there were structural problems with the Australian event to begin with.
First to recap, the Big Day out changed hands twice last year. The festival is currently owned by international promoter and ticketing giant Live Nation Entertainment who late last year purchased C3 Presents, the promoter who, just months previously, took a 100 percent stake in the iconic Australian festival.
“We went into Australia, and you saw what happened with us losing a ton of money on Big Day Out last year. That’s a hit,” C3 Presents co-founder Charles Attal told the Austin Chronicle. When pushed about what he thinks went wrong, Attal says he believes the problem was a structural and cultural one, claiming that the “touring festival” is probably an outdated model.
“We probably should’ve stuck with out program that we do over here. Instead, we went to same old model that used to run,” he explains. “Remember when Lollapalooza was a touring concern? That model was already waning off here, and we should’ve known better. They need to make destination festivals. The touring festival is not working as well in Australia.”
“We should have gone into Melbourne and Sydney, probably, and branded it that way. Maybe flip-flopped the weekends like Reading and Leeds in England. I don’t know exactly what we should’ve done, but it shouldn’t have been a touring festival. Those days, I think, are moving on.”
Attal also spoke about C3’s decision to enter into an acquisition deal with Live Nation, claiming the deal allows them more financial security as they attempt to expand into new markets.
“It just got so cumbersome for us that we needed a worldwide partner to help us continue to grow without feeling like you’ve jumped off a cliff financially every time you make a decision that can affect you in the tens of millions of dollars,” he says.
While he didn’t elaborate on the future of the Big Day Out – which former co-owner AJ Maddah recently said could be an East Coast and Auckland only affair, if it returns – Attal did stress that despite C3’s new corporate owners, it will be “business as usual” at C3 Presents.
“We did it to help us expand worldwide without us having to stress the pain of taking a hit – in Australia, or Berlin, or in markets we don’t know as well, but we know we want to be there,” he said.