Festival Fever: Hot and Cold

Festivals are a great thing, most of the time. I haven’t been that impressed with the culture of the punters going to festivals in the past few years, but that’s a seperate issue altogether. I generally think people should probably hold on to some of those thousands of dollars they spend at festivals and spend them at some more regular, smaller shows and support a wider variety of artists, but that, also, is a seperate issue for another blog. I’m going to talk about the major festivals in here – it’s great to see mid-size boutique festivals doing great things and involving heaps of local bands all over Australia and more power to them.

Please note, any opinions I put in here are my own and that they are just opinions.  I am merely pointing out my observations. Feel free to tell me I am wrong or that I am a genius, or that I am mediocre. Whatevs. I’m not saying I actually agree with some of what I say here, I am simply observing and pointing out WHY I think people are having the opinions they are (from what I can observe on Facebook, Twitter and my friends’ opinions. Note: I am a 28 year old male, 18-20 year olds may differ in opinion to me, but let’s see how this all pans out.

What I have observed in the past 2-3 months though, in terms of Big Day Out and Soundwave and Laneway, is the topic of today’s blog.

The reason I write this blog, is that, in my opinion, I have figured out why everyone has been bagging the BDO lineup, praising the Soundwave lineup. Everyone else is quietly buying tickets and not complaining/bitching about Homebake, Woodford and Bluesfest and going WTF at Laneway Festival.

I’m not sure if I am breaking any new ground here, but I believe that BDO has lost its value proposition (Look, I am sure it will sell out, but if they continue with this type of lineup, I’m not sure that will continue (I wonder if this is why one of the partners bailed out??)). It’s ticket price for next year’s lineup doesn’t match what people want out of their INTERNATIONAL artists. Basically I had this thought – take out the internationals and it looks like the best Homebake lineup ever, but to Big Day Out’ers, the Aussie contingent is really the icing on the cake! The value proposition for Big Day Out is that it is considered in the collective minds of Australian punters (or Bogans, or whatever you think of the people attending) as the BIGGEST festival we have and should have the BIGGEST international acts in addition to a great strong Oz lineup, which this year, they have been trumped by Soundwave (for internationals), for pretty much the same ticket price. (One issue that I do have with Soundwave is that there are minimal (4 this year, thanks Toddy!) local (Australian) acts on their lineup, even booting the only one playing 2 years ago, that’s balls in my opinion.) From what I can see, neither of them have sold out entirely yet, but in the main, the feeling towards each festival is that Soundwave has a great lineup and BDo is a bit lukewarm, from what I can see.

Soundwave have trumped the BDo lineup this time around, in my opinion, because of a smart marketing ploy to an audience that will lap it up. They got their value Proposition right.

They have seen their main target audience (and I am guessing, for the purposes of this blog that it is Males (generally) approximately 25-35 and catered exactly for it and given them a value proposition they identify with and are willing to hand cash over to. They went to high school (at least partially) in the 90’s, they have grown up a bit now and are now working full-time.

They have expendable cash (the demographic of which are mostly tradies, mine workers and heavy or hard rock musicians, part-time or full time) and a loyalty to the music they listened to in high school (and the majority of which have not really moved on or got involved with local music are interested in or involved in local scenes or care about local bands. Again, I state, these aren’t my values, I simply see what is going on here).  Musicians, take off your wow, i’m so indie, look at me, I play modulating synth and a floor tom in my band and I’m such a great musician with great taste in music hat and acknowledge this: love them or hate them, you cannot deny that in terms of selling tickets for a festival – the value proposition of Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, System of A Down, Marilyn Manson, Bad Religion, Machine Head, Coal Chamber, Kittie and Staind to a 90’s metalhead, rocker, nu-metaller, now with a bit of cash to burn, is actually a really fucking good one.

Now, I’m not discounting the girls here – there are literally thousands of females out there in the same age group who want to go to this festival as well. I am just talking about what I think is the MAIN target of the festival. Get those guys, then everyone else is bonus.

As someone said this morning on Facebook, take Soundgarden and The Cavalera Conspiracy off BDO and put them over on Soundwave where they belong.

BDO, for the first time in it’s history, doesn’t feel at the forefront of the Festival bookers. It feels like it is cherry picking from what it sees others doing well. Kanye West, approx 8 months after Splendour had him? Soundgarden, while should be epic, feels miles ahead of anything on the linup, therefore seems weirdly placed there, Best Coast et al feeling like they belong on Laneway. Get what I am saying?

Don’t get me started on the dance festivals!! What’s everyone’s thoughts.

EXAMPLE: BDO LINEUP minus Internationals OR Homebake 2012 as I would have booked it, throw Gotye, Floating Me and Grinderman in there too.
The Getaway Plan
Architecture In Helsinki
Frenzal Rhomb
The Jezabels
Hilltop Hoods
The Living End
Boy and Bear
Art Vs Science
Abbe May
Papa Vs Pretty
Amity Affliction
King Cannons
Calling All Cars


One thought on “Festival Fever: Hot and Cold

  1. Totally agree with your summation of what’s going on with Soundwave (who have consistantly gone for international metal / rock acts and have built a solid core following) and BDO who used to be genuine Alternative and are now watered-down bit-of everything-but-mostly-pop-rock. Soundgarden was the only band I was interested in on the BDO line-up, but I’m REALLY not fussed on the cutesy teeny-bopper audience who now attends BDO – rather deal with the southern-cross-tattooed bogans at SW any day…


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