The 2nd announcement for the Auckland Big Day Out this morning revealed some changes to the festival, dropping several stages (from 8 to 4) and shrinking the lineup, including dropping Kanye West. Refunds are available for anyone who bought tickets on the basis of Kanye appearing, but only til Nov 30. Added to the bill were Noel Gallagher, Nero with live band, Cavalera Conspiracy, and Das Racist.
So, lose Kanye, and gain Noel Gallagher. It's Noel's revenge for Jay-Z playing at Glastonbury, right?
The Lilyworld stage is gone, as is the Local Produce stage. I saw so many great, unexpected musical delights at the Lilyworld stage. There will now be only one main stage, not two as in previous years. The Adelaide and Perth BDOs also made similar announcements, downscaling their events and shrinking the lineup.
There's clearly some hard economics at work, as the organisers face rising costs. BDO NZ boss Campbell Smith said the restructure was ''vital'' for his team to be able to find a way to keep the Big Day Out in Auckland. "It's a very expensive show ... we needed to look at rebuilding it from the ground up. We want to make sure we still have a Big Day Out here," said Campbell.
But halving the stages and the number of bands, while keeping the price similar to last year doesn't seem likely to attract new punters.
So is it due to shrinking crowds? In 2009 the crowd was 40,000 punters, 2010 was 45,000 (sold out), and 2011 was nearly 45,000 according to news reports. Capacity for the event is usually round 40-45,000. So, the BDO audience isn't declining, it's holding steady.
Has the venue costs gone up dramatically, after earlier reports that the BDO might be moving to North Harbour stadium, due to urgent repairs needed to Mt Smart? There was also the suggestion that "It's believed that the council, who run [Mt Smart] stadium, want more money for the location hire and bar sales in the future."
Kat did some number crunching and came up with this chart, on her blog... click on it to enlarge it...
Kat writes about her chart: "It shows in cold hard numbers what has happened to the Big Day Out and what this reduction means to your pocket... These numbers came from my original tickets and the final timetables (obviously, with the exception of the 2012 event, which is yet to release the timetable.
"The numbers for that line are taken from the Big Day Out website). Up until 2012, we were paying less than $2 per ticket for each band. Now we are paying twice that for a lesser festival. You might get a $20 merchandise voucher with your 2012 ticket, but NOTHING is $20 at the merchandise stand..."
now, go read this story in Time magazine... Live, at a Field Near You: Why the Music Industry Is Singing a Happy Tune. "...Music festivals are a rare bright spot in the struggling music industry..."
ADDED Promoter Ken West explains Big Day Out issues (on Triple J)