Listened Inside the Big Day Out from

For music fans across the country, The Big Day Out was a rite of passage headlined by some of the biggest names in music. A day out in the sun with mates and an introduction to mind-blowing music. For the people who created it, it was a wild ride of legendary line-ups and backstage shenanigans. And then it all fell apart.

In this 5-part series Double J takes you inside the story of this iconic music festival. Meet the characters who kept this juggernaut rolling and find out what really went down on tour. From the coup of securing Nirvana in its first year, to its tumultuous downfall in 2014, and all the partying in between. Follow the story of the rise and rise, then sudden demise of Australia’s Big Day Out.

Through a 5-part series, Gemma Pick documents the history of The Big Day Out from its early beginnings in the 90s to its capitulation in 2015. It also provides into concert life backstage, including lines of washing powder at the after-party in the 90’s. A particularly moving episode is the recount of Jessica Michalak’s death in 2001.
Replied to The definitive guide to every Big Day Out line-up ever (Double J)

The full history of the Big Day Out

I only went to two Big Day Outs. First in 1999 and then again in 2000.

My highlights from 1999 was The Living End. I also remember being both amused by Marilyn Manson, but also a little bit disappointed at the same time.

In 2000, I remember Dave Grohl winding up the crowd waiting for Nine Inch Nails, being amazed by Primal Screams walls of sound (did they have five guitars? Felt like it), and Paul Dempsey asking us why we were watching Something for Kate, rather than Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Replied to DoubleJ

Hearing her story made me think about my teenage Big Day Out experiences. She could have been any one of my friends. She could have been me.

Dan, listening to Jessica’s story highlighted many highs and lows.


I was taken back to watching The Living End in 1999 when my friend and I were carried two thirds of the way through the crowd at the Melbourne Showgrounds during the frenzy of Prisoner of Society. It could have be any of us.