Out For The Day – by Karl Williams
Hello there beautiful people. Today I will be telling you a little bit about Australia and New Zealand’s largest touring festival, the big day out. Before I start I would like to say that my knowledge of this festival is fairly limited. I have attended two in Melbourne and two in Sydney but all four […]
Today I will be telling you a little bit about Australia and New Zealand’s largest touring festival, the big day out. Before I start I would like to say that my knowledge of this festival is fairly limited. I have attended two in Melbourne and two in Sydney but all four times I have consumed enough alcohol to drown a small horse, so after about 7pm my memory becomes a little hazy, I will try my best for you though.
My first BDO was in 2007 at the Sydney showgrounds at Homebush. I wasn’t actually planning on going as I had missed out on tickets, the BDO is notorious for being a quick sell out, luckily for me I had a friend who ran the catering for the artists and crew who told me he would easily be able to get me and my girlfriend in for freeeeee, everybody loves free stuff.
The next day we head in, zipped through the service entrance with a big welcome from security. What is the first thing you do at a festival? That’s right, grab an 18+ band so you can buy yourself delicious alcoholic beverages, after this is done you go and grab some booze, but when you realise that your best friend is working in one of the bars and is willing to hook you up with free booze for the day, you tend to be incredibly excited!
So I was inside with everything I needed, time to see my first act which happened to be the up and coming Brisbane outfit the butterfly effect. It is still early on so the field isn’t crowded at all, well at least not as crowded as it is going to be at 10pm when 50,000 odd people are going to converge on this area to see the headliners. You can sit down on the plastic flooring and enjoy a nice cold one while seeing some people on stage going nuts, the only downside to this is that it is almost as hot and steamy as being in a small car during a passionate love making session.
Second act up is my chemical romance. While I don’t identify myself as an “emo”, I do quite enjoy this band. Their song writing is quite enjoyable when you chuck their CD on in the car, you can start screaming and air drumming or guitaring away and look like a complete fool to people around you, but that is half the fun of life. When you see these guys live and you are surround by a couple thousand fans that are also air drumming/guitaring, it is probably 8 out of 10 funs to join them.
I think I may have gotten a little off topic, but this is my review so in the words of Eric Cartman “I’ll do what I want!”
Anyway, it is a sweltering summer’s day in Sydney. If you don’t drink enough water you will probably die. You are often passed by ambulances taking people away, you don’t really want to be one of these people so keep up the fluid intake and don’t get pulled out on a stretcher.
Let’s talk a little about the stages. There are eight stages at the big day out but I’m only going to tell you about the four main stages. You have the green stage which has some larger acts but also up and comers. Back before the temper trap hit it big in Europe they played the green stage along with Plan B and a couple other sizeable acts who were worthy of a visit. You have the boiler room which is full of your dance/electro hits, it’s a great place to go and hack up the floor like you never have before, some notable acts I have seen on this stage are Justice, LCD Soundsystem, Girltalk and many others. Now to the main stages, orange and blue. These two are right next to each other, while one act plays the crew set up the other stage for the next act which means they are always on time. The acts you will see here come from all different genres, to give you a sense of that, last year I saw Lupe Fiasco followed by the Deftones followed by Iggy and the stooges followed by Rammstein and then Tool to finish off the night. It was a pretty amazing night (except for tool who should never play outside as it ruins the dynamics in their songs).
I feel like we should do a quick comparison on the differences between the festival in Sydney and Melbourne.
The showgrounds in Sydney are a much bigger and the main stages are inside a stadium. I also find that the layout of the Sydney festival works better than in Melbourne, you can also find quiet places to take a little break from all of the action. There are also more bars in the Sydney BDO and you never have to wait too long to get a drink, same goes for bathrooms (at least for the men).
I was born and raised in Sydney but Sydney people are not for me, they are always in a rush to get somewhere, they can be rude and as far as I have seen, there is a lot more violence at the Sydney big day out. Generally the security guards are a little more prone to being arseholes in Sydney (unless you’re being snuck in the back door with someone who knows them), try and make sure you don’t piss off one or he may kick you out of the festival. The location of the festival is a bit of a pain, if you live in the Eastern Suburbs like I did it will take you a couple of hours to get out to the site, but this can also be a pro if you’re nailing down booze on your way there.
Location. It is about 20 minutes from the centre of the city. The people in Melbourne are more laid back than our Sydney brothers. I have never seen a punch up at a Melbourne big day out, I have seen several at the Sydney one, Melburnians (most of them) are just there to enjoy a day of amazing music, and you feel less testosterone floating about the place.
It is smaller, it feels more crowded, you cannot find a quiet spot when you need a break and with the mid-summer weather you really do need a quiet spot sometimes. I was there a couple years ago on a 42c (108f) day and it was brutal. There are not enough shaded spots and if you spend enough time in the sun it is a possibility you will be taking a ride home in an ambulance.
Let’s finish off now with a quick summary.
While the big day out is the largest, longest running and most popular (based on ticket sales) festival in the country, in my personal opinion it is not the best festival Australia has to offer. Ticket prices are being decreased this year to $165 but it is still a little expensive. I would definitely recommend that if you haven’t been then you should to try it and see if you like it.
Talk to you soon.