Feature: Big Day Out 2014 Lineup Speculation - Part One

With the dates for Big Day Out now set in stone - and two shows in Sydney (and a venue upgrade in Adelaide) proving they have something MASSIVE up their sleeves - the rumour mill is now in full swing for the 2014 Big Day Out Festival. Based on trends of past years, and the information that has been floating around the interwebs today, we have a pretty good idea of who we think might be playing the festival. Here we go...

Firstly, we know we have THREE headliners playing as part of the festival lineup, two of whom have not played on the festival circuit in Australia before. We know in our interviews with the festival director that they are looking to target an older demographic with the 2014 lineup, and we also know that in their partnership with C3 (Lollapalooza, ACL etc.) that there are certain artists who will appear exclusively on a run through all C3 events, as with headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2013. Speaking of headliners, let's get the ball rolling on our predictions on who'll be towards the very top of the lineup...

The Cure
Chances? 90%

We'd be very surprised if The Cure weren't a part of the 2014 Big Day Out festival. They tick all the boxes. They headlined BOTH Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits and haven't been seen performing outside these events (meaning they likely have C3 exclusivity in the US). They certainly appear to a wider and notably older demographic, though they did perform at Livid in 2000, so that might complicate things with some of our other predictions below, if only one headliner has played Australian festivals before. All the same... will we see The Cure at Big Day Out 2014? We'd put our money on it.

Kendrick Lamar
Chances? 80%

His 2012 Australian tour was a huge success from all accounts, and with appearances at ACL and Lolla in place, it seems he might be one of the token American rappers to appear in at Big Day Out 2014 - as were B.o.B and Childish Gambino in 2013.

Chances? 80%

With their new album Bankrupt! behind them (finally!), we've heard from various sources that Phoenix will be back over the Summer. Given their appearances at Lolla and ACL in August and October respectively, it seems they may have a C3 Presents contact in place. Our only hesitation? They would be a perfect addition for Falls Festival. Certainly not headline material, though could easily close one of the smaller stages, or enjoy a mid afternoon slot.

Depeche Mode
Chances? 70%

They're playing ACL, headlining over The Cure, and we know they're coming thanks to a tweet from Soundwave's AJ Maddah. They fit into the older demographic, but like The Cure, we all know their songs. And anyone who watched their live Coachella stream a few years ago knows that this is one band you're definitely going to want to see live. I'm pretty sure we haven't seen them play a festival in Australia before, too. Our only hesitation? Given Future Music Festival seems to enjoy the token heritage act, e.g. New Order, it's possible they ended up in their court.

The National
Chances? 65%

With an "exclusive" spot as part of the 2013 Splendour in the Grass festival - it's possible that's been put in place to protect their Big Day Out appearances for 2014, as it did for Kanye in 2012. They seem to have a C3 contract in place, with appearances at both ACL and Lolla - and would there not be a better band to see at Sunset ahead of appearances from a band like The Cure? Sounds perfect to me. Why we doubt it? Indeed, they are here for Splendour and were headliners for Harvest not all that long ago, though we reckon it's long enough to warrant a return festival circuit. Though, with an appearance at Laneway in Detroit, it's also possible they have ended up headlining the 2014 event back home...

Arctic Monkeys
Chances? 50%

We're going with our gut on this one. They're due for a visit, have a history with Big Day Out and C3 and would be a healthy addition to the lineup.

Electric Six
Chances? 40%

It's been a long time between visits for the Detroit rockers, though with their recent 10th anniversary celebrations of Fire taking them around the world - where they performed the classic record in full (see my review of the New York concert here) - they've become a hot commodity with festivals around the world once again, and will be a part of the 2013 Austin City Limits festival.

Nine Inch Nails
Chances? 25%

It's rare for a long standing festival to not be given first right of refusal when a band seek to return to Australia. Of course, the last time NIN were in town was for AJ's Soundwave Festival, meaning it's very possible - nay, likely - he's got them back in 2014. However, with NIN also appearing at C3's Lollapalooza, it's anyone's guess who has them as part of their festival this time around. They fit into the "already toured with a festival" category, and given their absence from the scene would definitely be big enough to warrant some of the expectations of larger audiences. Also, given our seeming confidence on The Cure playing, who toured with Livid back in 2000, that would essentially rule NIN out anyway, as it was revealed today that two of the three headline acts hadn't toured with a festival before.

Rage Against The Machine
Chances? 20%

All day we've been rattling our brains trying to think of an artist who is big enough to warrant the festival organisers to be convinced of high ticket sales. We looked through past trends of the festival and it's very possible that they could pull a Tool and bring Rage back for a second time. Your guess is as good as ours on this one - they don't seem to have any touring plans, but that doesn't mean they didn't say yes to this one.

Paul McCartney
Chances? 15%

And then there is Paul McCartney. It goes without saying that Big Day Out would happily welcome to ex-Beatle as their headliner, as they did Neil Young in 2007, and he has been popping onto festivals around the world of late. He was recently at Bonnaroo, and next up will be Outside Lands in San Francisco. Neither are C3 events, but an appearance at BDO doesn't always mean there is a connection with their US counterparts (e.g. Yeah Yeah Yeahs). We can't rule it out, but it's very unlikely all the same.

Chances? 10%

As we kicked off 2013, we heard it from just about everyone we know in the industry: someone has Blur. We were told Splendour in the Grass had Blur at one point, and indeed that may have been true at the time. But all we know now is that if they did, it didn't happen (unless they are the secret artist, but we think that's Silverchair). We really would LOVE it to be Blur, but something tells us it won't. Still, impossible to rule out.

Green Day
Chances? 10%

Not a name many people are throwing around, but we'll throw it into the ring. They would be an easy sell to the younger crowd, though they did play Livid back in 2000, so would be unlikely to be a part of the festival if The Cure were there too (who also played the same event! Ah, memories...)

Who we don't expect to perform:

Vampire Weekend are playing all C3 events in 2013, but that did kick off with their Big Day Out appearances in January of this year - so we won't be seeing them in 2014. Also playing both Lolla and ACL are Queens of the Stone Age, however they have been reported as saying they'll be back to Australia in the New Year, but not touring with a festival (I believe their words were "after the festival season"). Unfortunately The Postal Service seemed to indicate they wouldn't be able to make it to Australia, in spite of many other festival appearances internationally in 2013 (bummer!), including Lollapalooza. Muse (pictured above), meanwhile, have said publicly that they will be returning to Australia in December, rather than in January.

The lineup will be officially announced on Wednesday, the 31st of July at 8pm.

Make sure to start saving up now if any of these bands tickle your fancy so you don’t miss out this summer! Tickets will be $185. Keep your eyes posted to the AU review and to the official Big Day Out website for all the latest BDO news!

We'll be back later in the month to look at some of the smaller bands who we think might make up part of the lineup.

Big Day Out Tour Dates: