By Alan Davies
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Promoters of Knebworth Park music festival Sonisphere 2014 have more than 70 bands and acts still to announce for July’s line-up.
"I’m excited to be playing Sonisphere this year, and super excited to be playing the same stage as the first band I ever fell in love with – Iron Maiden."
The three-day rock and metal event will return to the grounds of Knebworth House from Friday, July 4 to Sunday, July 6, after a two-year absence.
Festival organisers added another dozen bands to the 2014 line-up on Wednesday, making it 32 in total so far confirmed, including the three main Apollo stage headliners.
A press release from Team Sonisphere said: “Following the recent announcements, including exclusive appearances from headliners The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Metallica, Sonisphere Festival is thrilled to reveal 12 more names to the incredible 2014 line-up, and that the festival will now feature a total of over 100 bands across the weekend.”
The UK leg of the international touring festival will help celebrate Knebworth’s 40th anniversary of staging rock concerts.
And the latest line-up announcement included American metallers Deftones, who will be playing their only UK date of 2014 at Knebworth, and punk-folk singer-songwriter Frank Turner with his band The Sleeping Souls.
Joining them at the Hertfordshire stately home will be American ska punks Reel Big Fish, Scottish pirate metallers Alestorm and Canadian progressive metal band Protest The Hero.
With a treasure chest of pirate themed, fist-pumping folk metal, Alestorm will appear on Sonisphere’s Saturn second stage on the Saturday for a rum-fuelled set of metal fun.
Southern Californians Reel Big Fish will bring the ska punk party to the Saturn stage on the Sunday.
Of the festival’s latest line-up additions, Protest The Hero said: “Europe knows something about doing festivals right. We are blown away every time we come over in the summer and take part in the fun.
“One of the highlights this summer is going to be Sonisphere.
“We are just finishing a UK leg of a tour and the turnouts have been great so I can only imagine what it will be like at Sonisphere.”
Former The King Blues frontman Itch appeared at the Slam Dunk Festival in Hatfield last year.
The Camden Town born and raised punk/rap artist is looking forward to joining “metal gods” Chas & Dave at Knebworth in July.
Itch said: “I’m so excited to be playing Sonisphere, it’ll be my first time there.”
And he joked: “It’s an honour to be playing the same bill as metal gods such as Chas and Dave.”
Stoner rockers Truckfighters, reformed Irish alternative rock band Kerbdog, hardcore punks Only Crime, hotly-tipped English rock band Blitz Kids, Midlands punk four-piece Max Raptor and British electro/punk rockers Hounds were also announced last week.
"We played a few years ago on the smallest stage, and to be asked to play on the Bohemia Stage this year is a fantastic opportunity to step it up a few gears."
Ireland’s Kerbdog are poised to release their first new material in 17 years and are delighted to be joining the Sonisphere party this summer.
The group said: “We would have crawled naked across broken glass to play Sonisphere.
“To be invited to what is one of the greatest rock festivals on the planet as we release a new live album is a gift from the Gods.
“The fans are in for an earth-shattering gig that will level buildings. End of.”
Having appeared alongside Billy Talent at the 2013 UK Vans Warped Tour, newcomers Max Raptor blend punk and rock to startling effect.
They will bring their hard-edged and angry sounds, as showcased on their debut album ‘Mother’s Ruin’, to Knebworth.
The band said: “We used to go to a grubby rock club in Burton-on-Trent and listen to Maiden and now we’re playing the same festival as them. Absolute dream come true.”
Bringing the kind of American punk rock that has drawn comparison to Black Flag for its hard-hitting melodies and rhythm, Only Crime will treat festival-goers to a truly special show.
ALICE IN CHAINS
CHAS & DAVE
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT
FRANK TURNER & THE SLEEPING SOULS
PROTEST THE HERO
REEL BIG FISH
THE SISTERS OF MERCY
With a line-up led by Bill Stevenson (Descendants) and Russ Rankin (Good Riddance), the band has a new album in the pipeline.
Checking in from the studio, the band said: “We know it’s been a while since we have been overseas.
“We have been working hard on the new record and are so excited to finally get back over there and give it all we’ve got.”
Returning to Sonisphere Knebworth is one of the UK’s most anticipated new groups, Blitz Kids, who will play the Bohemia tent.
On the brink of big things, the band said: “It’s a great honour to be playing at Sonisphere Festival for its big comeback to the UK.
“It feels like we’re part of a big welcome home party. We played a few years ago on the smallest stage, and to be asked to play on the Bohemia Stage this year is a fantastic opportunity to step it up a few gears.”
Having proved their live credentials on tour with Stone Sour, and citing The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett in the list of people they have worked with, Hounds are eager to return to Knebworth after their appearance at Sonisphere 2011.
The band said: “We can’t wait to bring the noise to Sonisphere this summer. We have been locked in an air raid shelter for months writing and recording our debut album so we feel like caged animals.
“The stage ain’t gonna know what hit it….”
Firestarter chart-toppers The Prodigy will play the opening Friday night, with nu-metal favourites Limp Bizkit Rollin’ into Hertfordshire on the same day as their special guests.
British heavy metal legends Iron Maiden will top the Sonisphere bill on the second day.
Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Nicko McBrain and Co will bring their Maiden England World Tour to a fitting finale at Knebworth, retiring some songs in the process.
American thrash metal giants Metallica will exclusively close the festival on the Sunday night with their interactive ‘By Request’ set list, as chosen by ticket holders.
In the day splits so far confirmed, Seattle grunge legends Alice in Chains will appear on the main Apollo stage before Metallica.
Also appearing across the weekend are the likes of Slayer, Anthrax, Airbourne, Mastodon, Dropkick Murphys, The Sisters of Mercy, Gojira, Chas & Dave and Devin Townsend Project.
For further information please visit the Sonisphere Festival website at www.sonisphere.co.uk
* For pictures of previous Sonisphere Festivals at Knebworth, look through our gallery of images.
* Keep checking back at the Welwyn Hatfield Times website for the latest line-up news, interviews and ticket information.