Big Day Out, the traveling festival that treads its path between six cities in Australia and New Zealand, today announced that Kanye West has been removed from the bill in 3 of those cities: Perth and Adelaide in Australia, and Auckland, NZ.
Festival organizers cited cost-cutting concerns for the cancellation, electing to reduce the number of main stages from 2 to 1 and jettison Kanye’s promised talent fee in an effort to save money. Which begs the question: shouldn’t the organizers have considered these things beforehand? Budgeting talent fees is one of the most fundamental aspects of festival organization, and it should have surprised no one that Kanye’s massive asking price would take a huge chunk out of resources.
Ticketholders are understandably upset. While Perth ticket holders were awarded a $20 merch credit and the option to exchange their ticket to the Sydney, Melbourne or Gold Coast shows (where Kanye will still headline), many are frustrated they purchased a full price ticket and then had much of the value removed from the event by festival organizers. They’ve tried to offset the blow by adding another wave of acts, but fans aren’t buying the math that Noel Gallagher + Das Racist + Bassnectar = 1 Kanye West. BDO is also offering refunds for disgruntled fans.
On a related note, Odd Future are in more festival-related trouble on the heels of Vyron “Left Brain” Turner’s alleged assault of a concert photographer at Voodoo Fest 2011. They’ve also been dropped from the BDO lineup in Auckland, though perhaps for more legitimate reasons: Auckland’s city council banned Odd Future from performing at the city-owned Mt. Smart Stadium after concerns were raised over their homophobic lyrics. Whether you consider this a form of censorship or not (hey, who remembers Eminem vs. Tipper Gore?), we don’t blame Auckland for balking at Odd Future after the Left Brain incident lent an extra severity and tangibility to Odd Future’s dangerous image.
Was BDO right in nixing Kanye? Is Auckland smart to keep Odd Future off city property? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.