The Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Killers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Vampire Weekend are among the acts confirmed to play Australia's festival giant, the Big Day Out, which will next its 21st birthday in six months' time.
Others announced today include Band of Horses, Kaskade, Animal Collective, B.o.B., Sleigh Bells and the Bloody Beetroots, who will deliver a live performance.
Make no mistake, the 2013 edition is a make-or-break test for the famous fest. The six-city 2012 event had unveiled a less-than-killer lineup and was met with slack ticket sales. Behind the scenes, co-founder Viv Lees split within six months of the shows, while the Perth and Adelaide shows were downsized - and very nearly cut altogether.
Founder Ken West is again at the helm of the BDO. And this time around he's confident the necessary surgery has been made to ensure the BDO survives and thrives.
The Big Day Out will take a different route in 2013. The shows won't visit Auckland, New Zealand, which has been dropped from the tour. Instead, the dates will start Jan. 18 in Sydney, before visiting the Gold Coast (Jan. 20), Adelaide (Jan. 25), Melbourne (Jan. 26) and Perth (Jan. 28).
Most of the faces on stage will be new to Big Day Out regulars. All told, 30 of the acts - or roughly 90% of the total bill -- will play the BDO for the first time, while six of those have never before visited these shores.
Also, ticket prices are capped at Australian $165 ($168) - Australian $20 ($20.50) saving from the most recent event. The sum is inclusive of all extra fees.
"We had to get back to what we'd said originally, and that is to do a ground-up rebuild," notes West. "The worst thing about last year, I already knew how off the rails it was. It needed to be either totally over the top, or a total fiasco for the 20th anniversary. It couldn't be anything in between." West now admits it was a "total fiasco" and a "huge learning curve," while this time around organizers "got everything we were hoping for."
Most artists in the top half of the bill have new albums on the slate, which means Australian audiences should get an early taste of a lot of new music.
Also new is the BDO's creative partnership with C3 Presents -- the U.S. live specialist behind Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival, while Lees' presence has been filled by Sydney-based Peer Group Media founder Adam Zammit, who serves as CEO of Big Day Out.
"It's a transition year," explains BDO founder Ken West. "It had goals to kick, which was primarily that we needed to deliver a clean, new generation statement about what the Big Day Out is without the emotional baggage of the relationships of the past."
An exclusive national retail pre-sale started this morning (Monday, July 16) through General Pants stores, while the general onsale starts Thursday.
West waves-off any earlier ideas of giving the Big Day Out a year off, in much the same way Michael Eavis' Glastonbury Festival in Britain had a "fallow year" in 2012.
"Last year was the 'break' for BDO. Whether I took it or not, that was the break," says West. "It should have been that the twentieth year had a break. And that would have been a statement because it wasn't strong enough to go forward."
The BDO originally launched as a one-date show in 1992 in Sydney, with a bill featuring Violent Femmes and Nirvana and a crowd of some 10,000 looking-on. The show expanded, and did so quickly. The following year saw Big Day Out visit Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. The year after, the Gold Coast and Auckland were on the programme.
In 2009, BDO had a banner year shifting an estimated 335,000 tickets across six cities. And the following year, the BDO reached the 100-show milestone with the second of two Sydney dates.