No Kanye West and smaller day out

By Scott Kara

So motormouth hip-hop mogul Kanye West has been given the heave-ho as headliner of the Big Day Out, as New Zealand's biggest music festival downsizes to keep itself going.
While the promoters are already suffering a backlash from angry music fans, here's a thought: A smaller BDO might not be such a bad thing.

Other cost cutting measures for the January 20 event, which also affects the Perth and Adelaide dates of the tour, also includes having just four stages instead of the usual seven.

That should mean better sound by lessening the chance of clashes between stages, local bands will be playing alongside international acts instead of being relegated to the Local Produce stage, and best of all, it will make planning your day a lot simpler.

New Zealand promoter Campbell Smith said without the changes there would be no Auckland leg of the travelling music road show.

"It's a very expensive show. We needed to look at rebuilding it from the ground up. We want to make sure we still have a Big Day Out here."

Reunited grunge band Soundgarden will now headline and West's place has been taken effectivley by former Oasis main man Noel Gallagher and his new band the High Flying Birds.

For me, West not headlining Auckland's big day isn't a great loss because Soundgarden's Outshined and Jesus Christ Pose are far more important to me than West's Goldigger or Touch the Sky.

And as long as Noel sings at least a few Oasis songs, then I'll check him out.
But on the internet there has been an outcry from music fans over West's axing and the downsizing of the festival - with some even proclaiming the 2012 Big Day Out to be the last.

I wouldn't go that far. At least I'd hope not, because like most people who are into music, I love the Big Day Out. No matter how much fans debate and criticise the line ups, they are always diverse and interesting. Take next year's event: where else in New Zealand can you see saucy pop diva Kimbra and then wander over and get your ears ravaged by Brazilian metal outfit the Cavalera Conspiracy?

However, the shrinking of the Big Day Out has been happening for a while now. It has had it good for many years, and possibly even grew a little complacent, but now they face stiff competition from other festivals.

And the Auckland event is not suffering so much from the growth of local festivals such as Rhythm and Vines and Laneway, but from big Australian festivals. These include the popular Splendour In the Grass, Byron Bay Bluesfest has diversified in recent years, and then there's beast that has become Soundwave, which started out as a punk and metal festival and is now pulling a wider audience with a more varied rock line-up.
All of which makes it hard for the BDO.

So while there will - hopefully anyway - be more Big Day Outs in the future, they might just be a little bit smaller.

*Fans who have bought tickets are being offered a $20 merchandise voucher as a concession to West not being part of the bill. Refunds are available until November 30.

- NZ Herald

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