Speculation that the Big Day Out (BDO) music festival could be relocated to a private property on the Tweed or even to Byron Shire has been snuffed out after the Queensland government agreed to a deal with organisers to keep it on the Gold Coast for the next five years.
The future of the festival on the northern Gold Coast had been in doubt as Parklands showground site is to be redeveloped to accommodate an athletes’ village for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
But festival organisers have accepted a government offer to help relocate the event to another Gold Coast venue, which could accommodate the 40,000-plus festival goers.
Byron’s purpose-built festival sites at Tyagarah, home of Bluesfest, and at Yelgun, future home of Splendour in the Grass, had been ruled out early because of the limit placed on the number of patrons allowed daily on those sites, well under half what BDO lets in.
But in the Tweed, several large private properties that could cope with the 40,000-plus numbers were being considered.
Queensland tourism minister Jann Stuckey issued a statement on Friday saying the agreement ‘lays to rest any speculation about the future of the Big Day Out not remaining on the Gold Coast’.
Tweed Shire Council had hoped to snare the event away and had offered to meet with organisers Peer Group Media, an offer apparently turned down.
Tweed mayor Barry Longland said it was disappointing that council did not even get to talk to organisers.
It’s believed organisers ‘teased’ media on whether the festival would stay on the Gold Coast or move elsewhere as leverage in negotiations with the Queensland government.
BDO organisers say they hope to announce a new location on the Gold Coast early this week for the January 20 event, which more than 45,000 people are expected to attend.
CEO Adam Zammit last week told media that if negotiations with the tourism minister did not succeed, proposals from interested parties outside the Gold Coast, including the Tweed, would be considered closely.
Interest, he said, came from Townsville, Cairns, Coffs Harbour and the Tweed.