Knebworth looking to rock again for 40th anniversary

Henry Lytton Cobbold outside Knebworth House

Henry Lytton Cobbold outside Knebworth House

Archant

WILL Knebworth Park rock again to the sounds of a huge outdoor concert in 2014?

Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the first rock concert held in the grounds of Knebworth House.

That progressive rock festival in July 1974 featured the Allman Brothers, Van Morrison and the Doobie Brothers.

And Knebworth’s current owners are keen to mark the anniversary with another outdoor show.

Although the number of groups capable of filling the massive amphitheatre at Knebworth are limited, Henry Lytton Cobbold is hoping the venue can capture a marquee name for next summer.

Speaking to the Welwyn Hatfield Times’ sister magazine Hertfordshire Life, he said: “I do hope we can pull a big rock show out of the bag for our 40th anniversary.

“[Promoters] KiliLive are talking of bringing Sonisphere back, but it would also be nice to do a headline show.

“At the end of the day, there are only so many bands that can do a headline show at Knebworth.

“Unless you are going to pull 80,000 you’re better off doing it in a football stadium in London.

“But when you can pull those figures, Knebworth comes on to your radar.”

Since the first rock event in 1974, the likes of Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys and Queen have all headlined at Knebworth Park.

Oasis sold 250,00 tickets for their two open-air concerts in the Hertfordshire countryside at the height of Britpop in 1996.

Robbie Williams went one better with a three-night residency 10 years ago.

Sonisphere took place at the legendary rock venue from 2009-2011, with the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Linkin Park, Biffy Clyro and Slipknot all headlining the weekend camping festival.

American rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers also played Knebworth last June, in a gig promoted by the same team behind Sonisphere.

The sprawling Hertfordshire parkland hosts an underground house and techno festival over three days this August.

“Most performers and bands with ambition want to play Knebworth,” added Henry Lytton Cobbold.

“But they need to do it at the right time. Once you’ve played Knebworth, as Robbie said, ‘Where do you go from here?’”

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