Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Big Day Out, Out

No one should be too surprised that there will be no Big Day Out next summer. But it would be only fair to feel a bit sad for Campbell Smith and his team, who have managed a successful reboot of the festival in Auckland, on a new site at Western Springs, only to see the Australian operation's failure remove any chance of a repeat in 2015.

Whether or not AJ Maddah is a "financial anarchist" as Big Day Out co-founder Ken West called him a year before selling Maddah a share in the event, or an "odious character" as West's estranged co-founder Vivian Lees declared, it now seems pretty clear that Maddah was not the solution to anything that was wrong with the Big Day Out. His move to sell the American company C3 Presents the portion of the Big Day Out it didn't already own is, in the end, positive news.

Smith probably didn't make a lot of money, if any, from his Western Springs show -- certainly not enough to justify the effort of a welter of consents for the new venue -- but, even with the bar-and-toilet issues, he made it work and set up a new future for the event. By contrast, the Australian Big Day Out 2014 seems to have been a miserable affair: record low ticket sales, losses of more than $10 million, unpaid creditors.

It helped that in New Zealand the summer is not as crowded with festivals as the Australian one is, but the short version is that Smith's event rebooted and restored the Big Day Out brand in New Zealand while Maddah prevailed over a virtual brand meltdown in Australia.

Which is why I wouldn't be surprised if C3 Presents, which now owns Big Day Out 100% (with the exception of Smith's NZ franchise, the details of which aren't public) actually ditched the whole thing and went into 2016 with its very healthy Lollapalooza brand. Lollapalooza seems to have been a smash in South America  (and Lorde along with it) and it's not hard to imagine an Asia-Pacific Lollapalooza circuit taking shape.


I thought it was worth checking the status of Auckland's other annual musical festival Laneway. Laneway promoter Ben Howe wasn't in a position to say whether or not Laneway would be held at the same waterfront site as the past three years, but was able to confirm that the festival is "good to go" for 2015.

There will also be other shows at Western Springs: most notably 10 hours of neo-soul and hip-hop from the Australian-based Soulfest.

Also, Peter McLennan blogged about the troubled Raggamuffin festival's bid to relocate to Auckland.


Last week a Doprah video, this week a Doprah video. And this brilliantly-realised anime-inspired work is ... well, you just have to see it:

That got Spin's writer quite excited.


Over at Audioculture, Murray Cammick's memories of RipItUp. Contains inevitable alarming photographs.

 And Chris Bourke adds to what has been a lovely litany of memories of the Beatles' tour of New Zealand, 50 years ago.


Auckland's The Basement Tapes is back, with time with a free seven track EP. TBT's own work strikes me as quite distinct from his remixes: it's stripped-back house, with a bit of a classic Nu Groove flavour (click through for a free Facebook download):

Click through on the player for a download link for the whole EP.

Talk about tantalising: Dimitri from Paris has posted this teaser for his new remix of Chaka Khan's party classic 'I'm Every Woman':

But he notes that while he'll be playing out with the remix, it's likely to be a long time before it's cleared for any kind of release.

 But while you wait, there's always his remix of Donny Hathaway's 'The Ghetto' to keep you grooving ...

At TheAudience, this fine musical weave from Pip John, the alter-ego of classically trained opera singer Oliver Sewell:

A super-smooth take on Snoop Dogg (click through for a Facebook download):

And finally, it's Glastonbury weekend in the UK, and if you need a cure for Glasto FOMO, there's this Channel 4 report on the bloody awful weather:


The Hard News Music Post is sponsored by:


21 responses to this post

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…


You may also create an account or retrieve your password.