By Alan Davies
Friday, June 29, 2012
FOLLOWING Red Hot Chili Peppers’ huge outdoor concert at Knebworth Park last weekend, speculation has intensified over potential dates and headliners for any 2013 Sonisphere Festival.
WITH next week’s scheduled 2012 Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth shelved, rumours over 2013’s possible line-up are increasing.
The fourth edition of the three-day rock and metal event was due to roll into the grounds of the Hertfordshire stately home from Friday, July 6 to Sunday, July 8.
However, this year’s camping festival – with Kiss, Queen with Adam Lambert and Faith No More down to headline – was axed in March, with poor tickets one of the reasons behind the shock cancellation.
As the international touring extravaganza heads to France next weekend for the final 2012 show, speculation is growing over Sonisphere’s UK leg at Knebworth.
Although no official word has come from promoters Kilimanjaro over exact dates for Sonisphere’s 2013 tour yet, organisers seem to be making plans for next summer.
A posting on the festival’s official Facebook page this week said: “Sonisphere Festival also no news... we are talking about changing it up, different ideas... But keeping the cards close to our chest at the moment.”
Kilimanjaro promoted Red Hot Chili Peppers’ massive open-air show in Knebworth Park last Saturday, with 55,000 music fans attending.
Following complaints about how long it took to leave the legendary rock venue, Kilimanjaro CEO Stuart Galbraith gave the impression they would be returning to the site.
In response to the traffic chaos after the RHCP’s gig, he said in a statement to the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We have already started working with Hertfordshire Constabulary and the Highways Agency towards improvements for exit plans for future events.”
Whether this refers to Sonisphere 2013 or another possible one-off gig at Knebworth remains unclear.
The first two Sonisphere festivals at Knebworth were held at the end of July/early August, but dates for last summer and 2012 were brought forward to the start of the month to avoid clashing with the London Olympic Games.
Speaking after Soni 2012 was axed, Knebworth House’s Martha Lytton Cobbold, managing director of Lytton Enterprises, said staff were already planning for next summer’s events.
She said at the time: “We are focussing on 2013 and already have a very, very good set up.”
Internet forums and message boards are also debating potential Sonisphere line-ups, with Iron Maiden one of the strongest headline rumours so far.
Bruce Dickinson and Co closed the Knebworth festival in 2010, ahead of the release of number one album The Final Frontier.
The British heavy metal legends are currently touring America with their Maiden England Tour, with more dates worldwide expected to be announced for next year.
The tour is based on the band’s Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son Tour, with a setlist drawn almost exclusively from the 1980s featuring all the band’s classic songs and hits.
Iron Maiden are expected to hit these shores again next summer, with Sonisphere’s European shows a likely destination.
German metallers Rammstein are another former Sonisphere Knebworth headliner set to play European festivals again next summer.
Thrash metal legends Metallica and fellow Americans Linkin Park, whose new album Living Things entered the UK charts at number one, headlined the inaugural Sonisphere in 2009.
Iron Maiden and Rammstein topped the Knebworth bill the following year, with shock-rocker Alice Cooper headlining the new Friday night of music.
Metallica returned in 2011 on the opening Friday with the rest of thrash metal’s so-called Big 4 – Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer.
Biffy Clyro and Slipknot headlined the other two nights, with the festival winning the best line-up gong at the industry’s awards night.
But Sonisphere 2012 was cancelled.