In 2013, many Kiwi music fans were left with a Big Day Out-shaped hole in their hearts on account of the event being pulled due to the disappointing 2012 lineup resulting in poor ticket sales.
But this year, with Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Deftones and Snoop of the canine or feline persuasion making an appearance, the hype has attracted not only fans but also a few Kiwi businesses.
In addition to the standard festival fare of band T-shirts, curios and other memorabilia, this year’s event will also feature novel exhibitions from some ingenious Kiwis.
For starters, Metro Magazine will be hosting a pop-up magazine, which will be produced live on stage and screen in a specially designed Metro Cube. The content, set to repeat on a loop between 11.30am and 5.00pm, will include tips for Aucklanders, photography exhibitions, micro-debates between Metro writers and exposés of the latest short films.
After this, the Metro Cube will transform into an ancillary music stage, upon which interlude artists will perform full sets of original music until 10.00pm.
In the event that attendees aren’t partial to the tracks of Bat Country, Jesse Sheehan and Rodney Fisher, then they can always head over to the Art in the Dark exhibition.
Conceptualised by Celery Productions, the luminescent display will aim to mesmerise onlookers with the impressive colours and shapes that Kiwis have come to look forward to every year.
But Ella Mizrahi, co-owner of Celery Productions, says that the project posed several challenges.
“Due to daylight savings, we’ll only have a few hours of darkness, so most of the event will have to occur during the day. Because of this, we’ve created five or six installations to ensure that viewers experience the full impact of the lights,” she says.
The addition of Art in the Dark is certainly unique for a music festival, and Mizrahi says that it was Campbell Smith, the event’s promoter, that first mentioned that he would like to add this dimension to Big Day Out (BDO).
“In several interviews he said that he liked the idea of Art in the Dark at BDO, so we gave him a call. We introduced ourselves as the Art in the Dark people, and told him that we were keen to do something. He gave us a budget, and we worked on the project as we would with any client,” says Mizrahi.
“It’s a really great thing that BDO is doing by putting emphasis on the arty stuff. The involvement of Metro Magazine, Art in the Dark and several other initiatives shows that this event is really going to be different to anything that came before.”
In contrast to previous Art in the Dark performances, this one will not feature any performance artists, but this lacuna will be filled by Royale Productions, who are putting on a viewer-immersive performance of the Zombie play Apocalypse Z.
The play, which caused countless screams to emanate from Aotea Square last year, will add a new and terrifying dimension to the BDO experience.
Ambling (in less-than-straight lines) from gigs to events and then back to more gigs will undoubtedly cause attendees to suffer from bouts of thirst and hunger, so it’s fortunate that the BDO organisers have arranged for several businesses to appease the grumbling guts and parched throats.
For this year’s event, BDO will be unveiling Chow Town, an elevated food section overlooking the spectacle that will feature meals made by a range of reputable chefs, including Ben Bayly, Che Barrington, Kyle Street, Javier Carmona and Sam Campbell.
In addition to this, Chow Town will also feature a Heineken bar, which will be selling Heineken, Rekorderlig and Amstel Light.
“The bar used at the Baseline after party during the Heineken Open will be moved to Big Day Out, minus the tennis racquets and other décor of course,” says DB Breweries senior comms advisor Simon Smith.
Given that Heineken isn’t a sponsor of this event, there are no plans for any PR stunts such as an ad-hoc apartment on the location.
“We have only secured pourage for this event, and this is something to aim to achieve for all major events,” says Smith.
As a side note, Heineken has just launched a new campaign to encourage young bingers to drink more responsibly. The global “Dance More, Drink Slow” intiative has been spearheaded by DJ Armin Van Buuren and features his hit song ‘Save my Night.’
Increasingly, brands are seeing value in such collaborations because it not only results in greater exposure but also helps to improve the reputation of the names involved.
The promotional value of a cross-collaboration was clearly something that the BDO organisers were keen to tap into it. And this approach seems to have worked in the event’s favour.
The inclusion of Metro Magazine, DB Breweries, Art in the Dark, reputable Chefs and Apocalypse Z successfully piqued the interest of all New Zealand’s major media outlets, resulting in free media exposure that BDO otherwise would not have enjoyed.