For and against: The Big Day Out announcement


New Zealand Big Day Out organisers today revealed a 90s-heavy lineup for next year's festival - confirming Pearl Jam, Blur and Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion as headliners.

Big Day Out veterans Scott Kara and Chris Schulz are weighing in on the big announcement.

Does the lineup represent a strong comeback for the summer festival or just a safe trip down memory lane?


My most formative musical period was from the late 80s to the mid 90s which is why next year's Big Day Out will be a hit - for me and my generation at least. I say that even though I was a devout Nirvana fan rather than a Pearl Jam one, and I stuck with the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays instead of following the Britpop era that Blur led along with Oasis.

But the thing about Pearl Jam and Blur that makes them ideal BDO headliners is that their music and their appeal is enduring - and not just for a 40-something fogey like me. At their last show in New Zealand in 2009 Pearl Jam proved they were still one of the great American rock bands, and Vedder one of rocks best frontmen as he swigged from his bottle of red wine and never missed a note.

And listening back to Blur's records - especially The Great Escape and 1997's self-titled album - in the last few days, their music still stands up as arty pop genius almost 20 years on.

And although I was never into Snoop, the guy has had one of music's most colourful, smutty, and intriguing lives, as well as cracking out some of hip-hop's best tunes like Gin & Juice and Beautiful. He will also get many punters along who wouldn't normally venture to a BDO.

The line up is not as strong in the second tier of acts as I'd hoped for, but grunge originals Mudhoney will be ones to see (the slovenly and reckless Touch Me I'm Sick is one of my top 30 favourite songs), and top local acts The Naked and Famous, Beastwars and Ladi6, among many others, are better than having a list of lousy Australian acts like the Living End bogging down the bill. And then there's masked Swedish doom metallers Ghost - led by vocalist Papa Emeritus II and five other members known as the Nameless Ghouls dressed up in Darth Vader-like costumes - who will be scary in a funny kind of way.

The final, more selfish reason I'm for the Big Day Out, is because I live 10 minutes walk from Western Springs (the venue it should have been at all along). Bring it on.

- Scott Kara


Okay, Big Day Out dudes, we get it: The '90s ruled for music. If there's one point that today's Big Day Out line-up announcement hits home with a heavy hammer, it's that the decade known for flannel shirts and baggy shorts came up with some of the best bands and artists of the last 30 years. How else can you explain the triple bill of Pearl Jam (Best album: 1993's Vs), Blur (1997's Blur) and Snoop Dogg (1993's Doggystyle) for next January's event?

But here's the thing: In nailing what Big Day Out promoter Ken West called "three white whales," as well as tried and true festival acts like Arcade Fire and Major Lazer, the Big Day Out has forgotten about one thing: The future. The festival's roots lie in breaking great festival bands - remember Prodigy's bonkers main stage show in 1996? They went on to headline in 2009. Anyone catch the previously little heard White Stripes in 2002? Headlined the 2006 event. And what about M.I.A's brilliant Boiler Room closer in 2011? She'd previously played the Big Day Out in 2006 (but skipped the Auckland event).

I'm a Big Day Out addict, having been to almost every single one, so I'll be there yelling "wooooo-hoo" along with Blur's Song 2, pulling out my iPhone torch to wave around during Pearl Jam's Betterman, and twirling my doo rag around my head for Snoop's What's My Name? (on second thoughts, maybe I'll leave that at home). I love reminiscing about my teens as much as the next 30-something.

But a small piece of me will be mourning the lack of fresh talent. Where are potential future Big Day Out headliners like sex-crazed R&B crooner The Weeknd, chanteuse Lana Del Rey, or killer rappers like Kendrick Lamar or Chance the Rapper? Where, for that matter, is Kiwi success story Lorde (who just played Splendour in the Grass to 20,000 people)? And how much are tickets to Lollapalooza anyway?

- Chris Schulz

* What do you think of the line-up? Post your comments below.

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