Austin, Texas-based C3 Presents has formed a partnership with the Big Day Out festivals in Australia and New Zealand, C3 partner Charlie Walker told Billboard.biz early this morning. The deal marks a new phase for the venerable Australian festival brand, and continued international expansion for C3, which has already made significant inroads into Latin America with Lollapalooza in Chile and Brazil.
Big Day Out was launched in Sydney in 1992 as a one-off fest, and has since expanded to become a touring festival, with stops in Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland, N.Z., In what is described as a "creative partnership," C3 Presents will work with Big Day Out to focus on increasing opportunities for Australian and international artists across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Asked for details about the partnership, Walker told Billboard.biz, "As usual, I won't discuss money, but C3 and [BDO founder] Ken West are now partners in Big Day Out. We will take the festival forward together as business and creative partners."
Walker says it's "too early to tell" if BDO will expand, or where. "We are definitely excited about all of the possibilities."
"I am really happy to be able to announce this new partnership. I could not have found more creatively sympathetic, commercially dynamic and like-minded partners than the guys at C3," Ken West, Big Day Out founder, said in a statement. "We remain a locally passionate music business but can revel and excel in what this new global relationship and its combined wealth of knowledge and experience can bring for Australian audiences and Australian and international artists," says
Headed by partners Walker, Charles Attal, and Charlie Jones, C3 produces two of the largest festivals in North America in Chicago's Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which grossed $20 million and $15.4 million respectively in 2011, according to Billboard Boxscore. The firm, which took Top Independent Promoter, U.S., honors at the 2011 Billboard Touring Awards, partnered with Lotus Producciones and Lolla partners Perry Farrell and William Morris Endeavour to launch Lollapalooza Chile last year, and the team will launch it in Brazil this year. C3 also includes a management division with such artists as Bassnectar and Delta Spirit, and a ticketing division in Front Gate Tickets. They promote concerts from the club to the arena level, and are active in the casino space through a partnership with Harrah's.
So why Australia and BDO? "Historically, C3 has tried to find brands to work with that had significant credibility with the music fan," Walker said. "I think this continues that business model so that we can build on what we have been able to accomplish with Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza. We have been motivated and pushed by working [Lolla founders] with Perry [Farrell] and WME to build something beyond what we thought was possible, and I believe we will find the same working with Ken."
It seems likely that the BDO venture won't be the last international endeavor for C3 as the overall touring industry continues to focus on global expansion. "The world gets smaller every day, and we are looking for and will find more international opportunities," Walker said.
BDO 2012 begins in Auckland Jan. 20 with a lineup that includes Soundgarden, My Chemical Romance, Girl Talk, Bassnectar and many others.