Big Day Outsky

January 29, 2008


In a yearly tradition, Kristen Condon and I headed out to the Big Day Out to cause some trouble. Here’s a first hand account.

The venue this year was Flemington. I was considering Top Hat and tails and pictured myself sitting in the member’s section sipping champagne and talking about how George W Bush ain’t all that bad just to shit people… while watching Rage Against the Machine. But I decided to go more casual in Ralph Lauren top and shorts. Which turned out to be a good idea as the venue was actually the car park at Flemington… not the official grounds. But this car park served the purposes fine for the BDO maelstrom.

Upon arrival two feral junkies asked if we intended to stay all day and wanted our ticket. No doubt some scam was in play. I advised Kristen too keep walking but she was way ahead of me hating these feral scumbags.

We arrived during the Regurgitator set around 3pm. Their star must have fallen if they are on this early. To our dismay checking the guide we have missed Midnight Juggernauts and British India’s gigs all over by 3pm.

But the BDO is about getting drunk and silly and seeing a few bands and friends, so we thought fuck it.

We had VIP tickets that get us into the VIP area. Now called Guest area so as to not sound too elitist. We began the search for the Guest Services tent. Like a quest for the Grail we asked every dumb ass security person in the joint who didn’t have a clue where the guest services tent was. We found a staff person who knew and pointed generically toward the Flemington stand. We looked around, saw a bit of Spoon and eventually found the tent. After securing the all-important VIP pass. Yes, I will call it that, as I have no problem with elitism. We hunted out the VIP area that provides a modicum of civilization and good company in the sea of stinking teenage shitheads.

Once inside the hallowed halls of the guest area we saw the drink cue was a fucking mile long. I started down the cue to see whom I knew. Luckily good ole Andrew Mast from Inpress was near the front and we struck up a conversation and soon were in line. Buying up all the Vodka Ice things we could… we quickly started to get drunk.

Greeting Hank from 161 is a yearly tradition at the BDO. Hank is old friends with promoter Vivian Lees and is a staple of the event for me. He was in fine spirits and looking good as usual with his posse of pals including the inscrutable Phil. We then tried to sit down and rest after our quest.

A rude cunt wouldn’t let us have two empty chairs. So we went and smoked (I smoke when drunk, probably a bad idea) up the back fence of the VIP area. Now a little merry I began to muse on the detention centre look of the Big Day Out with its fenced off areas and high security.

I then told all who would listen about my new theory. How funny it is that all these lefty anti whatever types all paid over a hundred bucks to spend the day in a venue that resembles a detention centre or concentration camp. Security guards, police, dogs, high fences, areas of the camp securely squared off for; VIP’s, drinking areas, food zones, etc. I mean these demarcation DMZ areas must be forced on the BDO organizers and you see this absurdity at all big rave events and major outdoor festivals. Can’t they light ‘en the fuck up with all these laws from council or State gov?

I quickly broke down this shit as a Transcendental Fascist and started smuggling booze out of the VIP area so Kristen and pals can go watch bands bevy in hand the way you should be able to.

We saw the excellent Billy Bragg, who I dig and he was tres good…then saw Pnau, which was a bit crap. The water mist fountains where an excellent addition that I indulged in frequently but Kristen avoided them not wanting to get her hair wet. Chicks!

Soon back to the VIP tent and more accosting of friends and acquittances. Jeff from the BDO had fixed the drink cue and the VIP area was now rocking. James Young was in fine form in Red suit and spoke with the usual acumen of a later day Cicero about bands and music. Michael Lynch, the manager of TISM and Midnight Juggernauts agreed with me about his band being on too early and we discussed the merits, subversive or not of Arcade Fire. Someone then held me up who I studied with at La Trobe University (whose name eludes me)…whom I scared off with my most misanthropic bullshit. Then more and more hello’s and chit chat from the people Kristen and I knew. Craig Mathieson from The Bulletin saw me and walked the other way. Always a good sign from an old pal – Not!

Next more booze smuggling out of Stalag 28 got us out to the main act of the day in my opinion Arcade Fire. They were excellent and Kristen and I went bug fuck dancing and getting into the apocalyptic folk dance troupe. Our fav song Antichrist TV Blues about the planes hitting tall buildings came on and we went crazy for it. Arcade Fire is a great band that can broadcast well into the great empty space of the two main stages. The lead singer said that Australia is fucked because we have a reality TV show on border security and he was right. He also said that Obama had won a new State and could be gaining momentum. There he was wrong, unfortunately, as he forgets the pessimism of his own records for a second. I said to Kristen that Arcade Fire are a bit Emo really and she said I was full of shit. And a heated debate ensued with Kristen’s victory. Kristen also naturally found a place a to shop for clothes at the BDO and for lack of a changing room saved us all money there.

During Silverchair we went back to VIP area and got drunker still.

Sunburnt, tired and over it Kristen and I pulled the ripcord and got out before Bjork and Rage, not being over fond of either. All in all a good (half) day of mayhem and madness at the BDO for us. It is still the number 1 all day festival. Just maybe chill out on all the fences and security area bullshit a bit… an event like this should be more like Woodstock and less like Guantanamo Bay. I guess the government probably forces a lot of shit on them, so changes need to be made there -macht schnell.

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