Followers of the Big Day Out and, particularly, fans of Blur were rocked on Sunday last by the new that the UK band were pulling out of the BDO, announced via their Facebook page.
Promoter AJ Maddah’s phone has been running hot – as has all associated BDO social media – but he is resolute that everything possible is being done to improve the situation, in terms of potential acts to replace Blur.
“We have several,” he said Tuesday night in a statement released to X-Press and Fairfax. “Given the short lead time we are pursuing every option at once. We have all been working UK and US times so options can be pursued in real time and on the phone rather than by email.”
Maddah says the BDO was not aware of issues with Blur at the time of their withdrawal, and money was not the problem.
“They had a very substantial offer in the multiples of their commercial worth in this market,” he says. “Ken West was determined to have them and nothing was going to stand in his way. So, no, money was never the issue.
“Our last correspondence with them was on Saturday night, when we assured them that all arrangements were as per their latest requests – except for Perth where curfew made it impossible.
“I had a very considered apology from one of their representatives regretting the band’s cancelation via Facebook and acknowledging our efforts which is very much appreciated. But no adequate explanation.”
According to Maddah, Blur had already received money for their appearances, the question of a refund is at this stage a mystery.
“I could not begin to speculate,” he says. “If you told me a week ago the band were cancelling and announcing it via Facebook I would think you were insane. I hope that they will do the right thing.”
As of Tuesday morning a total of 87 requests had been received for refunds from the BDO. As for the financial difficulties faced by the BDO because of the withdrawal, “it will suck. No doubt about it. But we’re fully prepared and it will not put the event or any of the stakeholders in any difficulty.
“Big Day Out is owned and backed by the considerable resources of C3 who also own and operate some of the most successful festivals around the world. Together we are determined to restore the festival to its glory days. We are all committed to the long term.”
“The effect on the festival is simple: We are very disappointed but cannot waste the time to dwell on this. We have to focus on finding replacements and putting on the best damn show possible for the folks that have put their trust in the BDO.”