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Recent reports about the global expansion of Chicago’s famous Lollapalooza festival is reinforcing speculation that the Big Day Out is destined to become Lollapalooza Australia. Speaking recently to Billboard, event founder Perry Farrell said he is “excited” about Lollapalooza’s international plans.
“What I like to do these days with Lollapalooza is the big dream, and the big dream is to be international and that is happening,” the Jane’s Addiction frontman, who conceived and created the popular Chicago-based festival as a farewell tour for his band in 1991, explained to Billboard.
“One of the things that we can do is we can start to go global. It’s keeping it modern just by the fact that it’s starting to be a globetrotter. Now it has a strange, unique life and identity to it. It’s in Chile and Argentina and Brazil. We do excellent work. We’re excellent craftsmen, all of us, everybody on the team C3 [Presents], William Morris, the promoters [in South America]. They’re just really great.”
Last month, Consequence of Sound reported on comments by Toronto promoter Jeff Cohen, who said that Lollapalooza was plotting an expansion into Canada, to take place in Toronto the second week of August. However, at the time, C3 Presents told the publication that “nothing is confirmed.”
“Canada is one place we’re looking at for sure,” said Farrell. “It’s just a matter of having faith in an idea and staying with the faith it’s gonna work. So far it’s worked fantastic in all the Americas.” However, the frontman said he’s mindful of the competition that’s awaiting Lollapalooza in Europe.
“A lot of people are now doing festivals, that’s true,” he told Billboard. “But I’m excited about going to and working with these countries and getting slightly different characteristics to the [Lollapaloozas] we do there. It’s almost like having offspring from different cultures, so that makes it go.”
While Farrell doesn’t mention Australia specifically, Lollapalooza and our fair country are inextricably linked. Most Australians will know C3 Presents as the company who now own 100% of the Big Day Out, afterpromoter AJ Maddah sold his stake in the festival. Back in June, C3 confirmed the cancellation of BDO 2015, saying they intend to bring it back “in future years.”
“C3 Presents is proud to own Big Day Out, one of the most iconic and established festival brands in the world,” they said. “While we intend to bring back the festival in future years, we can confirm there will not be a Big Day Out in 2015. We love working on BDO and are excited about the future.”
Farrell’s comments have added fuel to the fire that the uncertain future of the Big Day Out may lie in a repackaging as Lollapalooza Australia. During an appearance on Triple J’s Hack program back in June, AJ Maddah was asked if there have been any conversations about such a rebranding.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” replied the promoter. “Look I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Austin this year, post-event with the guys at C3 and being Lollapalooza doesn’t change the fact that there are no headliners.” Maddah had previously said that BDO was cancelled due to a headliner shortage.
“I believe Big Day Out with the right lineup and presented properly… and I guess with new concerts and making it more modern, well it would work absolutely fine,” the Soundwave promoter continued. “It’s not the name that you put on top of the festival, it’s what you provide,” he concluded.
But when asked if he didn’t think it was a “big deal” to change the name, considering the legacy of the event and the “brand equity” inherent in the BDO brand for many Australians, Maddah insisted “[that] is why we’re continuing with the Big Day Out and not changing it to Lollapalooza Festival”. Maddah is no longer involved with Big Day Out.
Rumours of the Big Day Out’s repackaging as an Australian franchise of Lollapalooza date back to when the festival first partnered with C3 and have persisted since, particularly in the wake of the festival’s recent financial troubles, which Maddah described as “ugly” back in February.