Saturday, February 01, 2014

BDO rumoured to be in trouble

Photo: Rachel Murdolo

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Big Day Out may be in trouble, following rumoured low attendance figures. 

"The Big Day Out is reeling mid-tour, plagued by detailed rumours that organisers have inflated attendance figures and that its owners, AJ Maddah and Texas-based company C3, are likely to face off in court as they face losses between $8 million and $15 million.

"Several senior music industry sources have also told Fairfax the touring festival's chief executive officer, Adam Zammit, was sacked this week with two shows remaining: Adelaide on Friday and Perth on Sunday. It is believed Mr Zammit's plane tickets to Adelaide were cancelled, but another source said he has since been re-hired.....

"One source claimed the only Big Day Out so far to achieve attendance of 30,000 was the Auckland event, run by promoter Campbell Smith. [Smith told the NZ Herald he expected a sellout crowd on the day of 45,000. TV3 reported the day after the Auckland event that over 40,00 people attended.]

"The Australian legs, promoted by Mr Maddah, achieved much lower numbers, believed to be around half 2013 attendance figures. Sydney is believed to have drawn 27,000, Melbourne 26,000 and the Gold Coast 23,000. Organisers are believed to have told media 35,000 attended in Sydney and the Gold Coast and have reportedly faced questions from the management of headliners such as Pearl Jam over their estimates.

....[BDO promoter] AJ Maddah responded on Thursday night, disputing several points as "nonsense", saying Mr Zammit had not been sacked, that he did not own 50 per cent of the event, the relationship with C3 had not broken down and that while crowd numbers were down, they were higher than Fairfax had been told. For example, he said, 31,000 people attended in Sydney.

He acknowledged the Big Day Out had struggled in 2014. "The event was a basket-case before I walked in and I did my best to try and make it a success,’’ he said.

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