New Big Day Out Co-Owner?

Soundwave and Warped Australia maverick promoter AJ Maddah has reportedly bought Big Day Out founder Ken West’s 49 percent stake in the festival.

West’s partner in the 22-year old fest is Austin-based C3 Presents, promoter of Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Maddah has not confirmed or denied the reports, and Big Day Out CEO Adam Zammit declined to comment.

West’s former partner in Big Day Out, Viv Lees, told national youth radio network triple j, “I am alarmed at what I have heard.”

Lees described Maddah as “an odious character.”

“If he doesn’t like the way something’s going, he’ll cancel it,” Lees added. “He’ll get halfway along in one direction and turn 180 degrees in the other direction and think that nobody notices. He plays fast and loose.”

Lees left Big Day Out in 2011 after a clash with West over the future direction of the festival.

He has since set up his own touring company, Viv Lees, which has undertaken visits by Billy Bragg and Iggy & The Stooges.

He also has a partnership with promoter Paul Dainty for other projects.

In a final twist of irony, Maddah axed the Harvest festival on Sept. 16, citing low ticket sales thanks to competition from Big Day Out.

The festival was to stage in November for its third year, with Massive Attack, Franz Ferdinand, Primus, Goldfrapp and Neutral Milk Hotel.

Sales were only 18 percent of Brisbane’s 17,500 tickets, and “30-40 percent” of Sydney’s 20,000, although Melbourne had shifted 70 percent to 80 percent of 15,000 tickets.

Facing a loss of more than $5 million, Maddah earlier said an option is to spin the major acts’ appearances into individual tours.

Ther rock-themed Soundwave sells 200,000 tickets nationally, while Warped, in December, is his first attempt at staging the festival in Australia after two tries by other promoters.