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The Big Day Out –  Ken West dies aged 64

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The Big Day Out –  Ken West dies aged 64

The Big Day Out –  Ken West dies aged 64

The Big Day Out was one of Australia’s most iconic music festivals, running for 22 years and delivering some of the biggest international and local music acts to hundreds of thousands of music lovers each year. In its final year, the festival was headlined by Pearl Jam, Snoop Dogg, Arcade Fire, and Blur. For many, the Big Day Out was the highlight of their musical calendar, and it will be sorely missed by all who loved it.

Ken West dies aged 64

Ken West, the founder of the iconic music festival the Big Day Out, passed away peacefully in his sleep this morning. He was 64.

His family released a statement this evening saying that they would appreciate respect and privacy during this difficult time. Ken was a big and noisy person in life, but he passed away quietly and peacefully.

The Big Day Out Festival

Big Day was a hugely popular music festival that ran for 22 years, from the early 1990s through to the early 2000s. It featured some of the biggest rock and electronic acts from around the world and was held in various parks and showgrounds around Australia and New Zealand.

Big Day Out was a music festival that ran from 1992 to 2014. It was started in Australia by promoter Ken West and then sold to US concert promoters C3 Presents in 2012. After the final shows in 2014, West took a break from the public eye. In 2019, he told Double J that he was enjoying living in the present moment and that he was in a rare position to be able to advise others without judging them.

ken-west-dies-at-age-64
Big Day Out Co-Founder Ken West talks about the 20th year of the Big Day Out, at the office in Flemington. Photographed by Teagan Glenane FCN

This year, on the 30th anniversary of the first Big Day Out, West shared excerpts from a book he wrote about his experiences with the festival on his website. In the book, he said that working on the Big Day Out was the greatest job in the world and that he was constantly motivated by the incredible artists he got to work with. He also said that the festival was always evolving and growing, even after 20 years.

How did it start?

In the 1980s, West promoted artists such as Ramones, Deborah Harry, Nick Cave, The Birthday Party, The Beasts of Bourbon, and The Church. He had success on these shows which led him to find Big Day Out. Which became a popular event through the 1990s and 2000s, presenting live music in a new way in this country.

I think the Big Day Out was the best festival in the world at one point, and every band I knew wanted to play there. West said this in 2019 on Double J’s Inside the Big Day Out podcast.

It is an annual music festival that was first held in Sydney in 1992. It features around 21 bands and is headlined by Violent Femmes. One of the most famous editions of the Big Day Out was in 1992 when it featured Nirvana as part of their only ever Australian tour.

The Big Day Out festival soon became a roadshow that was staged in six different cities every summer.

Some of the headliners at this festival have included Neil Young, Metallica, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, Muse, and Pearl Jam. The undercard at this festival always features dozens of the hottest musical acts from around the world.

West was a big and noisy person in life, but he passed away quietly and peacefully. West will be remembered as a man who dedicated his life to music and to giving others the best possible experience of it. He was a true pioneer in the Australian music scene, and his contribution to the country’s cultural landscape is immeasurable. Thank you, Ken West, for everything.

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