Big Day Out attendance up in 2013

In a boon for festival organisers, Big Day Out’s attendance figures for 2013 are well up on last year’s tour.

According to figures published in the major newspapers, the festival sold roughly 201,000 tickets for this year’s shows despite dropping Auckland from the schedule and only running one event in Sydney. In 2012 BDO sold just over 173,000 tickets with headliner Kanye West dropped from the lineup that headed to the shows in Adelaide and Perth. At its peak in 2010, the festival drew over 337,000 fans to see Muse, Powderfinger and The Mars Volta in six cities with two dates required in Sydney to meet demand.

The strong 2013 sales are good news for the festival’s “rebranding year” following a difficult 2012 which saw Big Day Out promoters Ken West and Vivian Lees part ways, poor sales and headliner Kanye West dropped from the final dates of the tour. Lees and West had produced Big Day Out together since 1992 and promoted international tours together for a decade prior to launching the festival. The Big Day Out is now run by Creative Festival Entertainment, a partnership between Ken West and the Texas-based C3 Entertainment, which produces Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.

Last week Ken West told The Age that he was keen to welcome back older fans who no longer attended the festival. ‘’You have to adapt to a point of view that believes that after 20 years of festivals a whole generation of people think they are too old to go. They’d love to but they don’t know what the rules are,’’ West explained. ‘’If we try to do everything in one day it doesn’t quite work. The slant this year is high-quality musicianship.’’

As FL reported from the Sydney leg of the tour, “In the process of 12 months, the Big Day Out has gone from a festival on the brink of extinction to something that feels new and fresh. Many of the festival mainstays are gone: the Lilypad has all but disappeared, as have many of the art installations. But in return, they have been traded off for something that, between the absurdity of the El Jimador Wrestling Bar and the separation of the festival from its negative stereotypes (only one Australian flag used as a cape was seen), feels exciting, youthful, and most importantly relevant. It’s incredible that 21 years since the first Big Day Out, the festival is still finding ways to change the landscape of Australian live music for the better.”

Big Day Out attendance:

Gold Coast:

2013 – Nearly 40,000

2012 – 40,000+

2011 – 50,000 (Sold Out)


2013 – 57,000

2012 – 47,000

2011 – 55,000 + a second day with 19,000 tickets sold before the ‘bring a friend’ offer


2013 – Over 50,000

2012 – 42,000

2011 – 52,000 (Sold Out)


2013 – More than 19,000

2012 – 12,000

2011 – 30,000+


2013 – Around 35,000

2012 – 12,000

2011 – 35,000