Aside from the fact that it has thus far produced only two new songs instead of a whole new album, the Blur reunion has more or less been a resounding success for more than a year now. But this past weekend, it hit its first major skid: With less than two months till the event, Blur pulled out of their headlining spot at Australia’s Big Day Out Festival, publicly blaming the festival’s organizers for forcing this decision. Per an update on the band’s Facebook page:
Devastated to report that Blur won’t be performing at BDO in 2014. It’s a shock that it has come to this.
Only 8 weeks to go, the band feels that with the constantly shifting goalposts and challenging conditions of the organisers, they can’t let it drag on any longer and want to make this announcement, to be clear to Blur fans that they won’t be there. We’ve done our very best to work with the organisers and considered every option to make it happen, but they’ve let us down and let everyone else down too.
That’s obviously pretty vague, and additional details are hard to come by. But in a series of tweets, the new co-owner and director of Big Day Out, AJ Maddah, offered something of a defense, and in doing so, shed at least possible light on the ways in which the goalposts might have been shifting. The following quotes are culled from individual tweets (many of them responses) from Maddah’s account:
Not sure why [Blur] would blame festival when all everyone here has done is kiss their ass.
I’ve been around for a month & in that time all I’ve seen is everyone trying to keep them happy.
The only things that [Big Day Out] have said “no” to is when they asked to swap positions with [Arcade Fire]
[Blur] never, not once, asked us for more money. In fact they declined additional headline show for increased fee
[T]hey were asked to [trade their headlining slot for an earlier performance time] at 1 point to avoid clash with [Pearl Jam] in Perth where curfew is 10pm. They said no and we were fine with that.
They wanted to be 2nd on the bill and play directly before [Pearl Jam] and have [Arcade Fire] play before them.
Then they wanted to play after [Pearl Jam] on [Arcade Fire]’s stage…
And that’s just what I know as I have not been around for that long.
Per Maddah, Big Day Out learned of the cancelation via Blur’s Facebook status update, and the festival is currently looking for a replacement. Blur have yet to offer further explanation. Whatever happens next, it seems safe to assume William Orbit won’t be the only person refusing to work with Blur and the “really awful” Damon Albarn again.