The Big Day’s Out of Ideas
As long as I’ve been passionate about music, festivals of multiple genres and multiple sizes have been a figurative cornerstone of pleasing the masses. They’re in essence a great idea, a lineup of crowd pulling, live staple musicians performing for crowds of adoring fans. It’s a win-win, people get lots of music, big artists get packed crowds (usually of illegal sizes but lets not talk about that), and lesser known artists get the leftovers of the big crowds.
But there is a downside. Perhaps it’s just me being a bit butthurt about missing out on tickets to Splendour (because I’m a die hard blur fanboy), it seems that they’re clutching on straws right now. You’ve seen how boring and repetitive cycles of artists have brought the downfall of once loved festivals, a-la Big Day Out. For a while now, perhaps since Soundwaves 2013 festival which included super heavyweights such as Metallica, Linkin Park, The Offspring and Blink-182, no festival has quite managed to reproduce this intense interest. The following years the headliners have only been partially as good, Soundgarden, System of a Down, Faith No More, not quite up to Metallica standards. And this shows, with the Perth and Adelaide shows being no more from 2014 and 2015 respectively. Although the Soundwave Touring company are expecting the 2016 festival to sell out in minutes, with nothing more than a couple of big name one offs and the same looped backing lineup, I don’t think it’s the tickets that will be the ones selling out.
It’s not only a problem here in Australia either, this years Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in the USA featured Florence + The Machine as a headliner, and also included Ryan Adams. Florence actually played another festival the day before they played Coachella, and are also headliners for the Glastonbury Festival, and Splendour in the Grass over here along with Ryan Adams. Along with this, Tame Impala have been booked for about every rock or alternative festival in 2015, and bands on the Warped Tour and Soundwave lineup seem to be on a bi- or tri-yearly rotation. It’s beginning to become a little predictable. Yes they try and get some of the biggest headliners they can, but really (other than a few old buggers here and there) who’s going to go to a festival to see blur, Steel Panther or Paul McCartney at a major festival nowadays. If they would, then Soundwave and Big Day Out wouldn’t be capitulating as they are now
It’s become less about an enjoyable festival for the patrons and more about money. They try and pack the lineup with as many obvious ticket sellers as possible, leading to three years of interesting before a full circle to the same repeated strain of bands with a tweenie-bopper audience. Yes I’m looking at you “Hardcore/Metalcore” bands and Pop/Punk acts. To me, it just doesn’t provide any interest. I’d rather pay $100 to see a concert from one of the headline acts and go to a smaller more boutique festival to see some of the other acts. On the same hand, there’s not much point in paying some ridiculous $300 odd for a ticket to see a headliner who’s 200 metres in front of you, with thousands of people obscuring the view with a pot smoke haze and polluting your ears with off key screaming of the songs being performed. It’s become an overcrowded, music ruining and money laundering service that people seem to buy into year after year. Come on guys, make it better for us, 100 grand profit is the same amount if you spend $100 000 or $1 000 000, and I’d rather a more intimate, better run and less crowded festival rather than a money obsessed, predictable and sardine packed corporate event.
Oh, and of course because of these festivals down under, some of the headliners aren’t even playing their own shows in the closest cities. But that’s again just me being a butthurt blur fanboy because I missed out on Splendour tickets. Not too keen on going to Sydney just to see them, just play Brisbane already. But no one likes Brisbane anymore, the music just isn’t big enough, only Violent Soho, The Bee Gees, Powderfinger etc…