Joanna Hunkin: Run of the mill

By Joanna Hunkin

Every year, following the Big Day Out, rumours begin to swirl about the day's events. Some are true. Most are not. Nearly all are cleared up - or forgotten about - within a few days.

Some stick around indefinitely, though. No matter how unlikely.

Years ago, after my first BDO, vicious stories circulated that someone had died at the festival, crushed in the crowd in front of Blink 182.

Of course it wasn't true, but to this day I still come across people who reel it off as fact.

The sprawling size and layout of the festival makes it the ideal breeding ground for rumours. No one person can ever see everything that happens on the day.

Even those covering the event (i.e, us) often miss happenings on the smaller stages, especially as the night wears on.

One of the biggest rumours circulating this year is that next year's event will be the last.

The Australian organisers, so the story goes, want to pull out.

Well, we put this to New Zealand promoter Campbell Smith who scoffed at the suggestion.

"I can totally deny it as far as I know. We're talking about the line-up for next year already and there has been no indication the event's going to stop.

"We're still rolling and we're loving it and as far as I'm aware, Ken [West, festival founder] is still loving it too."

Another story doing the rounds concerned the early-evening antics of The Mint Chicks, who allegedly refused to get off stage when their time was up, cutting into The Black Seeds' timeslot.

Even when the crowd upped sticks and moved to the Green Stage, cheering for the Wellington nine-piece, the belligerent rockers wouldn't wrap up. It wasn't until their sound was shut down and their amps unplugged that the band finally conceded defeat.

It seems this rumour is in fact true. But the Mint Chicks aren't entirely to blame.

Kentucky art-rock outfit My Morning Jacket contributed to the problem, playing an extended set beforehand, cutting into the Auckland rockers' time.

There were also reports of trouble on the top field when Australia's dance outfit Sneaky Sound System took the stage for a late-afternoon set - only to see "technical difficulties" leave them without sound for more than five minutes.

This proved harder to confirm, as most people we knew had the good sense to watch TV on the Radio and The Datsuns in the main stadium. But we tracked a witness down - and they confirmed the band's sound did indeed go AWOL. A case of Shonky Sound System perhaps?

Those aside, it's been a pretty quiet year on the BDO rumour mill. Which might well reflect the fact it was a quieter day out in general.

Which brings us to our final source of speculation - just how many punters showed up on the day?

Again, we turned to the organiser himself for the final head count, which came in at a respectable-but-not-quite-sold-out 40,000.

In fact, we rather liked it that way. Shorter queues, easier access ...

Perhaps the 5000 people who didn't turn up this year could stay away next year as well. That would be swell.

- NZ Herald

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