2012 Big Day Out will be last in NZ

By Hayley Hannan

New Zealand's Big Day Out is history - what do you think? Will you miss it?
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Jon Toogood from Shihad rocks the crowd at last year's Big Day Out at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. This week's event will reportedly be the last in New Zealand. Photo /  Richard Robinson.
Jon Toogood from Shihad rocks the crowd at last year's Big Day Out at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. This week's event will reportedly be the last in New Zealand. Photo / Richard Robinson.

Fans flocking to the Big Day Out this Friday will be attending the last one on Kiwi shores, say organisers.

Organiser Ken West today announced the annual festival would continue running in Australia next year, but would not return to New Zealand.

The musical smorgasboard has been a fixture on the Kiwi calendar since the first show in Auckland 18 years ago, and showcases a mixture of international and local acts on multiple stages at Mt Smart Stadium.

Mr West said the decision to axe New Zealand from next year's tour was made shortly before 4pm today.

"Here's the hard thing. I've had to make this decision probably in the last half an hour just sitting down and being here, and stuff like that, and I'm going to have to say that this is the last Big Day Out in New Zealand," he told TV3.

The decision was confirmed through a tweet from the official Big Day Out account, @BigDayOutNZ: "This year will be New Zealand's last Big Day Out.

Come party with us this Friday. It's been an amazing 18 years here in Auckland."

The efforts involved in organising five shows in Australia and one in New Zealand had taken their toll, said Mr West.

"The compounded stress of trying to do Auckland on a Friday, and then Gold Coast on a Sunday, and fly everything through ... it's felt that the risk of taking it on next year would be too great.

"And then ultimately, I thought it would be very important to let people know that have had such great memories of 18 years of the show, that maybe it'd be great to come down and party with us."

He thanked everyone for their support over the last 18 years.

This year's tour has been plagued by sluggish sales and disgruntled fans after headlining act Kanye West was pulled from the Auckland, Adelaide and Perth line-ups.

New Zealand promoter Campbell Smith admitted yesterday the show was unlikely to reach its 45,000 capacity and poor ticket sales had endangered the chances of it returning next year.

Casey Smythe is among many looking forward to Friday's final fling showcasing Kasabian, Soundgarden and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds alongside local acts such as Six60, the Adults and Gin Wigmore.

The Mt Maunganui resident has been to at least five festivals so far, including one in Perth, and said this Friday would spell the end of an era.

"It was the original festival. Growing up, it was the only big festival you knew about in New Zealand really. New Year festivals such as Rhythm and Vines have only been the last five years really. The 90s was the Big Day Out, it was what you looked forward to if you were a muso really. But having all these other festivals has taken the sheen off it a bit really."

She said the Big Day Out had failed to renew its brand and had lost part of its "chilled out vibe" after fences were put up to control large crowds.

After today's news broke, fans flocked to the Big Day Out NZ Facebook page to share their festival experiences.

Kai Crawford said: "Thank you for the years I've been. I've seen some of the worlds best acts and gotten into some new ones. I've had some amazing memories and some not so good ones."

Others, such as Maressa McIlvenny, weren't so melancholic: "Why do you release important information after tickets go on sale? I would have sucked it up and gone if I'd known this was going to be the last year, instead of getting a refund."

Discount deals are running for the Auckland show, offering six tickets for the price of five. Single tickets are being sold at a flat cost of $160 with no additional charges.

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