12 Jun 2014

Hey f**kwit! Letter from AJ

He possibly has a massive cranium and good luck with that because us media types know about ego management. His Twitter feeds are JUST so entertaining – check out

So festival promoter Arash ‘AJ’ Maddah is our favorite Iranian/Australian these days. He has overtaken Michael ‘F–king Chugg’ in the backstage entertainment stakes. Sorry Chuggi.

CX has been chasing the Soundwave Festival (Feb, 2014) slow payment story for a while now, with creditors like Show Freight owed bucketloads for supplying services for the 2014 national tour. Soundwave sold reasonably well but ended on a sour note with claims that suppliers were paid late if at all, to date.

So the email from AJ last week was hardly surprising. We didn’t expect a legal letter, although as ever we enjoy those. They get filed in the cabinet, with gold or silver stars on the top, rating the efforts of the legal profession. We have some awesome efforts, from Collins or Philip street. The law firms out in the ‘burbs just don’t have the twist of phrase. That machine-gun delivery of hard core demands, like: ‘You have caused our client material damages and we demand immediate relief as follows…’ with a list of laughable demands that usually include leaving our first-born on a level crossing at midnight, with a sack of gold bullion.

Anyway, AJ isn’t that silly. He’s just annoyed. Thus: “Hey F–kwit. How am I lying low? Or was that your pathetic attempt to get interest in your failing shitrag?”

Pretty close to a love letter, we think.

Which brings me to the point of this ‘pathetic attempt to get interest in’ our strangely profitable media company. Something that has me focused of late, as major and minor media firms everywhere struggle with the serpent of change and fight declining revenues.

So I dialed up the grapevine, and was told that:

Prior to Big Day Out in 2014, AJ totally sacked the excellent touring logistics firm, ATS Logistics after two of their trucks were stuck in floods in 2013. That resulting in Garbage missing their Sydney set at Soundwave 2013.

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 5.42.27 AM

ATS were mortified, however these things happen on the road, albeit rarely. AJ was, quote, frothing at the mouth and ATS had grave concerns that their account may not be paid. AJ Tweeted that 56 trucks had made it safely through the floods. The Festival was staged, Garbage did a side show, and ATS were paid.

But sacked, from Big Day Out and Soundwave 2014. Show Freight came on board, and now sweat over the $1 million owed (as of recently), and presumably make regular reports back to owner Avis Car Rental in the USA.

Also sacked were Norwest Productions, the second major audio supplier in Australia who normally had little to do with AJ’s work. Typically JPJ Audio are his primary supplier, and they delegated minor stages to regional suppliers, many of whom have not been paid either. But Soundwave being huge, and Summer being busy, even JPJ couldn’t fill every requirement so Norwest toured a system and received payment in advance. This could indicate they knew something no one else did.  Naturally requiring a couple of hundred grand up front led to some angry commentary, with AJ quoted as saying he would never use the firm again.

It’s unlikely Big Day Out will return, as AJ’s partners C3 Events are not interested. This story in Fairfax Press summed up the catastrophe.  It is possible C3 may bring their Lollapalooza festival to Australia to fill the void, but this is only a rumor.

AJ owns Billy Hyde Stage Systems, a profitable backline hire firm and is thought to have purchased their Sydney warehouse last year. He is planning Soundwave 2015, although not for Perth, inclusion of which can almost double the freight bills.




Published monthly since 1991, our famous AV industry magazine is free for download or pay for print. Subscribers also receive CX News, our free weekly email with the latest industry news and jobs.