Pioneering Australian Festival Promoter Ken West Passes Away, 64

Big Day Out co-founder Ken West

Ken West Photo courtesy Big Day Out for Sunday Age News Pub date 22nd January 2012

The co-founder of iconic Australian music festival Big Day Out, Ken West has died aged 64.

Tributes are coming in from across the music industry after reports Mr West passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday (7 April) morning.

“Our family would appreciate respect and privacy during this difficult time. Ken was big and noisy in life but passed quietly and peacefully,” his family said in a statement.

The Superjesus paid their respect to Mr West for all he did to champion Australian bands and the impact he had on their own career.

“This guy was monumental in the establishment of our career; he gave us a chance when we were so young and put us on the Big Day out when we had only performed two live shows prior. He made so many careers of so many now well-known bands, he really did so much for Australian music.”

Mr West co-founded Big Day Out with his business partner Vivian Lees, and the first-ever BDO took place January 1992 at Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, with headliners The Violent Femmes and Nirvana.

It was a watershed moment in Australian music that forever changed how festivals were produced and presented. Over the years, BDO grew into a travelling sideshow of mammoth proportions and became the crown jewel of the Australian festival season.

Headline acts included Metallica, The Offspring, Rage Against The Machine, TOOL, The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys, Neil Young, The White Stripes, Muse, Arctic Monkeys, The Killers – the list is phenomenal.

Big Day Out also programmed a rich and diverse line-up of local Australian acts, giving many their first opportunity to perform in front of a festival crowd and experience life on the road as part of a professional touring operation.

The last Big Day Out was held in 2014 and there has never been a touring festival quite like it since.

MGS Music would like to pay our respects to Ken West for all he achieved and offer our deepest condolences to his family. He will be dearly missed, but his legacy remains.

MADCAP Global SWND Entertainment


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