Spat pushes BDO festival out
On the move: The Big Day Out. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

The Big Day Out has shifted from Claremont Showground to Arena Joondalup, with festival promoters blaming the Town of Claremont for the move less than three weeks out from the Perth date on February 2.

Big Day Out chief executive Adam Zammit said yesterday that the annual music festival had become unworkable at the showground because of noise restrictions and monitoring costs, early finishing times and ongoing animosity from the council.

He said the expensive decision to shift venues came after "over a decade of fighting the Town of Claremont, which has never wanted us or anyone there".

Mr Zammit said the Big Day Out would go ahead as planned at Arena Joondalup with an expected crowd of more than 20,000 music fans.

"We've taken a hint and moved on," he said. "It's a music festival and we'll go where we're welcome to put on a music festival."

The costs of using the showground, which is run by the Royal Agricultural Society of WA, were much higher than similar venues around Australia, Mr Zammit said.

He denied poor ticket sales had forced the shift to the cheaper Arena Joondalup, managed by VenuesWest.

Claremont mayor Jock Barker, who has publicly opposed major music festivals being held at the showground because of the impact on surrounding suburbs, denied there had been any conflict.

"We're not anti-concert," he said yesterday. "We're opposed to antisocial behaviour, but would not be sorry if they went elsewhere."

The popular hard and heavy music event Soundwave, scheduled for March 3, will follow the Big Day Out north to Joondalup.

Soundwave, also promoted by BDO co-owner AJ Maddah, should share production and staging costs with the Future Music Festival, due at the same venue on March 2.

The shift is the latest chapter in the troubled recent history of the Big Day Out, once a summer institution drawing crowds of more than 40,000 fans. It has been affected by venue shifts and big names such as Kanye West and Blur dropping out of the line-ups.

The festival's future is under a cloud with local industry figures predicting this could be the last WA show. VenuesWest chairman Graham Partridge said he was delighted to welcome the BDO to Arena Joondalup.

Tickets already bought are valid at the new venue.

The West Australian

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