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Big Day Out Founder Ken West Passes Away

7 April 2022 | 10:21 pm | Dan Cribb

"Ken was big and noisy in life, but passed quietly and peacefully.”

Ken West at Big Day Out in Perth in 2006

Ken West at Big Day Out in Perth in 2006 (Photo by Sophie Howarth Photography)

Big Day Out founder Ken West has passed away, aged 64.

The Australian festival pioneer passed away this morning in his sleep.

“We bring unfortunate news that, Ken West; a father, husband, mentor and most of all a legend, has passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of the 7th April 2022," reads a statement from his family.

"Our family would appreciate respect and privacy during this difficult time. Ken was big and noisy in life, but passed quietly and peacefully.”

Alongside business partner Viv Lees, West ran Big Day Out from 1992 until its final run in 2014, working with the likes of Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Patti Smith and countless more over the years.

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Appearing on Double J’s Inside The Big Day Out podcast back in 2019, West said he believed “there was a period in time there that [Big Day Out] was the best festival in the world, and every band I knew wanted to do it".

With the iconic festival celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, West revealed in January he was working on a book about the event, sharing various chapters at the same time.

"The Big Day Out for me was life changing, and the first six years were the heart and soul of a great adventure," West said at the time. "A different world, innocent, dangerous, optimistic and a lot of fun."