Big Day Out promoter Ken West gets vocal about Soundwave

Update: Soundwave promoter AJ Maddah has responded to Ken West tweeting , “That is awesome. I am putting that on my email signature-line.

Big Day Out promoter Ken West has labelled AJ Maddah a “financial anarchist” and indicated that the Soundwave organiser’s business model has gone some way in destablising Australia’s festival market.

In an interview with the The Vine yesterday, West spoke openly about his festival rival, saying: “I’ll say it to his face – I don’t think AJ’s got any interest in anything but his own agenda. He hasn’t got any interest in the Australian music scene whatsoever. He should go to another country. He’s done more harm to what was a reasonably stable business here by being a financial anarchist. And it’s a bit of a shame really. ‘Cause having 90 international acts come in on one show—I don’t even know how that’s legal. There’s no financial logic to what he’s doing, and I’ve just got to ride that out. That’s all it really comes down to.”

While West was happy to acknowledge Maddah’s success, noting “Hat’s off to him, he’s done really well this year,” he also vented frustration at watching other promoters appropriate a model his brand invented, to the detriment of his own event: “But the one thing is, we started first. [We] planned it first, and [now] pretty much all the other events have taken the research and development that we’ve done and put it back into their own show. [Without] offering any new revelations or efforts, without [now] copying what we’ve already done.”

“I’m more than happy to say that. And I think that in the long run I would hope that [Maddah] could become a little bit more…caring. You know, this is the guy who said he didn’t like doing timesheets with Portishead. It’s easy to write on your press release what [your festival’s] going to be. It’s really hard to do it.”

The interview comes only weeks after West spoke to the New Zealand Herald about how close the Big Day Out came to folding in 2012, following the departure of his partner Viv Lees earlier this year. In that same article he touched on the growing competitiveness of Australia’s Festival market, noting: “It was kind of a perfect storm in effect. The competition levels in Australia went crazy. The bidding wars went crazy. Everything got bidded up. ”

The usually vocal Maddah has yet to respond to the West’s comments, although there will no doubt be many eyes on his twitter account today.

Big Day Out dates

Friday 20th January – Auckland Mt Smart Stadium

Sunday 22nd January – Gold Coast Parklands

Thursday 26th January – Sydney Showground

Sunday 29th January – Melbourne Flemington Racecourse

Friday 3rd February – Adelaide Showground

Sunday 5th February- Perth Claremont Showground