BDO vs Blur: Promoter claims 'fisticuffs' caused issue

Damon Albarn. Photo/AP
Damon Albarn. Photo/AP

A Big Day Out promoter says Blur pulled out of this year's music festival because members of the reformed Britpop act were having "fisticuffs" while on tour.

It's the latest round in an ongoing dispute between the band and the annual Australasian music event that started when Blur pulled out of their headlining slots, despite having their own personalised stage built at every venue.

Two weeks ago, Damon Albarn told TimeOut Blur cancelled over fears the shows - which he said would have been Blur's last - wouldn't be as "spiritually conclusive as we hoped they would be".

"They [the organisers] weren't being straight with me about things, which they needed to be, and at that point I became disillusioned because I didn't want what we'd done throughout the year, with Blur, to be undermined or tarnished in any way, by a show that wasn't going to be what we wanted to do," Albarn said.

But Big Day Out co-promoter AJ Maddah has hit back at those claims, telling Australian website The Vine the band's four members "didn't want to see each other".

"The fact (is) that the band (was) having fisticuffs on tour in South America. And that's why they cancelled the tour because they don't want to see each other.

"Damon has a solo record coming out. The other three members were desperate to come out. You know, Graham (Coxon) and the other guys wanted to do it. Essentially Damon cancelled the tour."

In excerpts of the interview, which is billed as "exclusive" and hasn't yet been published in full, Maddah also claims Blur were being paid A$5 million (NZ$5.4m) for their shows - an amount he labelled "ridiculous".

Blur were replaced by Deftones, Beady Eye and The Hives, and more than 41,000 people showed up for the festival's first show at Western Springs in Auckland - just under a sell out capacity of 45,000.

- nzherald.co.nz

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