Vale Ken West

The father of Australia’s alternative music festivals died in his sleep on Thursday aged 64.

Music promoter Ken West, the founder of Australia’s iconic music festival Big Day Out, has died aged 64.

Launched in 1992 as a Sydney-only event featuring Nirvana and Violent Femmes, the Big Day Out (BDO) quickly evolved into a musical juggernaut touring to multiple Australian cities every January, eventually extending its reach to New Zealand before folding in 2014.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts