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

The creator of Australia’s most iconic music festival Big Day Out has tragically died at the age of 64.

Today, the Australian music industry is mourning the death of Big Day Out founder Ken West. According to West’s family, the 64-year-old died peacefully 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,” his family said on Thursday night.

Ken West
Credit: Ros O’Gorman

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

The very first Big Day Out took place in 1992 at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, headlined by the Violent Femmes, and Nirvana.

The festival ran for 23 consecutive years following its beginnings in ’92, with headliners including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Muse, and Iggy Pop.

Big Day Out also played a major role in promoting local artists, propelling the careers of Silverchair, The Hilltop Hoods, Powderfinger, and The Living End.

West was also a founding board member of the alternative Sydney radio station FBi. A station that continues to champion local alternative artists spanning pretty much every genre under the sun.

Very few have had the same impact that Ken had on the Australian music industry. He will be dearly missed.