Promoter AJ Maddah has warned that Australian touring festival Big Day Out faces a financial black hole, predicting losses for this year of at least AUD$8m (€5.3m).
In a frank interview, Maddah, who became a partner in Big Day Out last year, revealed to Australian radio station, Triple J, that the iconic festival had been in danger of being shelved altogether prior to his involvement, “They were on the edge of the abyss, on the edge of cancelling the event,” he told triple J. “It would’ve been very sad to me to watch it die without putting up a fight. That’s why I came on board. I was rowing the lifeboat back to the Titanic, rather than the other way around so to speak.”
Explaining why the event’s Perth date is being dropped, Maddah stated, “Generally, you lose money in Perth. You’ve got two days to get there, three days to get back, all the trucking, all the production. A hotel room that you would pay $180 for in Sydney is $320 a night in Perth, in the same hotel chain. The price of hiring everything is ridiculous over there, security is two and a half times the rate of the east coast, so it becomes a situation where people struggle to go to Perth.”
That, he added, was a reason for the high ticket prices, but with the remote west coast city now out of the equation, that’s something he hopes to address. “$185 [€123] was ridiculous, but that was [set] long before I came in this year ... I don’t want it to cost any more than $160 [€106] next year, give or take a couple of dollars.”
Update (from Audience): Losses are now confirmed at anything between A8-15 million and that the six BDO festivals attrracted just 135,000 out of the 300,000 needed.