Sunday, 8 February 2009
Monday 26 January: Big Day Out
Based on a tip from Peter, my friend from my old temp job, we’d bought tickets for Big Day Out, a kind of Aussie version of T in the Park etc. The line-up was ‘eclectic’ to say the least – Neil Young was the headliner, preceded by the Arctic Monkeys and with the Prodigy on in another tent. We found out after we’d bought the tickets that Big Day Out is renowned for having quite a high “bogan” element (this is the Aussie equivalent of “chavs” or “neds” and is one of my favourite Aussie words, even though I know it’s wrong of me!). In the end, the audience was probably as diverse as the line-up and there was a fairly relaxed atmosphere – apart from the excessive nanny state-like security, that is. Firstly, drug sniffer dogs – come on guys, if young people can’t take a few drugs at music festivals, where can they!? (And note – a young girl died after taking 3 ecstasy tablets in one go after taking fright about getting caught when she saw the dogs coming). Secondly, ridiculous insistence that everyone under the age of about 50 has to wear an ID bracelet saying they’re old enough to drink – SO patronising!! Thirdly, not allowing people to take alcohol outside ‘gated areas’ so you couldn’t just get a beer and sit in the sun and watch a band. Fourthly, the complete stupidity of the ‘beer token’ system which meant that when they’d run out of light beer (one token) and we only had one token left, that we couldn’t just get a normal beer (two tokens) instead. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more patronised and treated like an infant since, well, I was at nursery school!! God knows how young Aussies survive when they go overseas and are actually treated like adults with a brain.
Apart from that though, it was a good day and we saw some reasonable music. And thankfully, although it was hot, it wasn’t as hot as it was last year when apparently they had to water bomb the crowd using the helicopters that normally get saved for putting out bush fires!