The Big Day Out is an annual Australian music festival where everyone goes to mosh, dance, listen to music, drink a lot of alcohol and smoke a lot of pot. It tours during late January, and was concieved by Ken West and Vivian Lees.
It began in Sydney, in 1992 as a one-off 'youth/lifestyle event' (because at the time 'open-air rock concerts' were banned) , and has continued as a tour ever since, except for 1998. It's touring round began with just a few major cities and has grown to include Auckland (New Zealand), The Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Perth.
The show is usually held in the city's showgrounds, and consists of a number of stages. There are two main stages where the headline acts play, and various other stages for lesser-known artists. There are two huge tents where DJs and techno bands play. They are some awesome tents. I wonder if they are anything like Radiohead's tent they toured in. Of course I wouldn't know because the bastards haven't been to Australia since OK Computer. There is also the Lily Pad which has no bands, but only people acting silly and playing recorded reggae.
I went to The Big Day Out in 2000. It was the first music festival I had been to, and it was incredible, although I unfortunately contracted a mild case of Tinnitus in the left ear. The top three acts were unbeatable; The Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I also went the following year, but didn't think it was worth the $90 AU, partly because the lineup wasn't as good and partly because the people I was with were jerks, but I won't get into that.
This year (2002), I will not be attending. It seems to me that the quality of the show has been decreasing recently. Some say that once the world economy picks up we will start getting some good international acts again, but I fear this is just spin. Also, the mood has had a wet towel thrown on it since a young girl died last year after being crushed during Limp Bizkit's set.
The Lineups (Major acts.)
1992: The Violent Femmes, Nirvana, Henry Rollins with Hard Ons, Celibate Rifles, Beasts of Bourbon, The Clouds, Died Pretty.
1993: Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop, Mudhoney, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.
1994: Soundgarden, Smashing Punmpkins, Teenage Fanclub, Breeders, You Am I, The Cruel Sea, Bjork, The Ramones.
1995: Primal Scream, Hole, Ministry, The Cult, Silverchair, Screaming Trees.
1996: Porno for Pyros, Elastica, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Tricky, The Jesus Lizard, Spiderbait, Rage Against the Machine, Prodigy.
1997: Soundgarden, You Am I, Prodigy, Fear Factory, Supergrass, Patti Smith, Aphex Twin.
1999: Marilyn Manson, Hole, Fat Boy Slim, Sean Lennon, Regurgitator, Korn, Ash, The Superjesus, Rammstein, Roni Size.
2000: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Shihad, Salmonella Dub, Blink 182, Spiderbait, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, Grinspoon, Frenzal Rhomb, The Chemical Brothers.
2001: Carl Cox, Limp Bizkit, Rammstein, 28 Days, Alex Lloyd, Queens of the Stone Age, Frenzal Rhomb, John Butler Trio, Killiing Heidi, PJ Harvey, Resin Dogs, Sonic Animation, The Avalanches, You Am I.
2002: Prodigy, Garbage, Crystal Method, NOFX, Silverchair, Spiderbait, Gerling, Regurgitator, Superheist, Shihad, Grinspoon, Magic Dirt, Something for Kate, Eskimoe Joe, John Butler Trio, Machine Gun Fellatio.
Here are a couple of nodes on individual years.
Big Day Out 2001
Big Day Out 2002