Hands up if you want Big Day Out in Cairns
MUSIC festival Big Day Out is looking for a new home, and Cairns could be in the running.
Held annually at the Gold Coast since 1994, festival organisers are scouting for alternativelocations in Queensland and northern NSW after a State Government decision to transform the Parklands showgrounds for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The search for a new site could lead to a North Queensland showdown, with Cairns and Townsville both hinting at bids for the festival yesterday.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning confirmed the council would contact Big Day Out organisers, while Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said she was already in talks with promoters in an attempt to attract more major international acts and festivals.
"We are always open to potential opportunities such as this and will certainly make contact with the organisers to determine what would be involved in terms of a commitment from the city," Cr Manning said.
Big Day Out chief executive Adam Zammit said he could not rule out Cairns as a location for the festival.
"We're continuing to look at all options and Far North Queensland towns like Cairns, Townsville and Mackay are all possibilities, though we wouldn't say they're proximate opportunities for us in 2014," he said.
"We believe as a business that Far North Queensland deserves and needs a big music festival and the good work done with Groovin' The Mooin Townsville has laid great groundwork and we continue to explore the opportunity of big events in Far North Queensland.
"Whether that's Big Day Out is another question but we pay close attention to the growing, young population up there and would love to service them with a great event in the future."
The festival, which has pulled massive acts such as Metallica, Neil Young and Red Hot Chili Peppers, attracts about 40,000 punters to Parklands showgrounds every January and is estimated to inject millions into the Gold Coast economy.
Cairns' former timeOUTfestival recorded a crowd of more than 11,000 at Cairns Showground in 2007, while AC/DC drew 21,000 as part of their Ballbreaker tour in 1996.
Cr Manning said Cairns was well equipped to cater for a festival the size of Big Day Out, with the showground being the ideal venue.
s"There is no doubt that an event such as this would provide a big boost to the city's economy in that it would bring a number of visitors here at a time of the year when things can be quiet from a tourism point of view."
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive officer Rob Giason said the success of a large music festival in Cairns would depend on where the majority of punters hail from.
"Surfers Paradise has a population of 500,000 and nearby capital cities like Brisbane means Big Day Out has a catchment area of around three million people," he said.
"If the majority of their participants within a two-hour radius, they would be looking to hold it near larger populations.
"A bigger catchment area means a greater opportunity of securing people to go.
"It would be worthwhile looking at the requirements to see where we sit with regards to possible consideration."
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Rock on: The crowd at last year's Big Day Out festival on the Gold Coast goes wild for popular Australian hip hop group Hilltop Hoods. Picture: BRENDAN RADKE