By Alan Davies
Sunday, November 17, 2013
AC/DC, Metallica and Foo Fighters are music fans’ top three favourites to headline any Sonisphere 2014 festival in Knebworth, according to a Welwyn Hatfield Times poll.
Festival-goers have been voting in their thousands on the website of the Welwyn Hatfield Times – the rock event’s local newspaper – over potential bands for next summer’s event in Knebworth Park.
Organisers have confirmed dates for a three-day celebration at the Hertfordshire stately home from Friday, July 4 to Sunday, July 6, 2014 to commemorate 40 years of festivals at the iconic venue.
No headliners have been confirmed yet by promoters. Tickets prices have not been revealed either, with the line-up due to be announced in the coming weeks.
The likes of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Oasis and Robbie Williams have all played legendary concerts at Knebworth over the decades.
"We are delighted at the prospect of the return of the award-winning Sonisphere. "
While rumours circulate on internet forums over the possible 2014 line-up, of the eight bands listed in the Welwyn Hatfield Times’ web poll, more than a quarter want AC/DC to perform at the UK leg of Sonisphere in the grounds of Knebworth House.
The Highway to Hell rockers had polled 27 per cent of the votes at the time of writing.
They were ahead of thrash metal legends, and previous Soni headliners, Metallica on 24 per cent.
Dave Grohl’s band Foo Fighters had 11 per cent of the votes. Like AC/DC, they have not played Knebworth before.
Heavy metal veterans Iron Maiden, who closed the 2010 Sonisphere Festival, and Black Sabbath, who are touring the world in support of number one album 13, polled 10 per cent of the votes each.
Ozzy Osbourne hasn’t played at Knebworth, but Sabbath lead guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler both appeared at Sonisphere 2009 with Heaven & Hell.
Seattle grunge legends Pearl Jam, British rockers Muse and American pop-punk heroes Green Day recorded eight, six and five per cent of the votes respectively.
The inaugural Sonisphere at Knebworth in 2009 was headlined on the opening night by Linkin Park, with Metallica closing the festival.
Shock-rocker Alice Cooper, German industrial metallers Rammstein and Iron Maiden played the main stage at Knebworth in 2010.
The third edition of Sonisphere featured thrash metal’s Big 4 of Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica, along with fellow Apollo stage headliners Biffy Clyro and Slipknot.
There was no Sonisphere in 2012, but the team behind the festival still promoted Red Hot Chili Pepper’s huge outdoor concert at Knebworth that year.
The first ever festival at Knebworth, in 1974, was headlined by The Allman Brothers Band, with Pink Floyd appearing the following summer.
The Rolling Stones rocked Knebworth in 1976, with Mick Jagger famously leaving a pair of red underpants at the bottom of the bed he slept in at the stately home.
Genesis headlined A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1978, with Jefferson Starship and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers also on the poster.
Rock history was made in 1979 when Led Zeppelin played Knebworth, while there were Good Vibrations the following year when The Beach Boys appeared in the Hertfordshire countryside.
In 1985 it was the turn of metal legends Deep Purple, Meat Loaf, UFO and Scorpions to play The Return of The Knebworth Fayre.
More than 120,000 fans turned up for Queen’s Magic Tour date at Knebworth in 1986, the show being Freddie Mercury’s last live concert with the group.
Rock royalty pitched up at Knebworth four years later with Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler and Led Zep’s Robert Plant all appearing at the Silver Clef Award Winners Show.
Genesis headlined Knebworth again in 1992, before Oasis sold 250,000 tickets for two huge open-air shows at the height of Britpop in 1996, with support coming from the likes of Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Colour Scene, Chemical Brothers and Prodigy.
Having then left Take That, pop star Robbie Williams went one better than Oasis in 2003 by playing a record-breaking three nights at Knebworth.
Following three Sonisphere festivals, it was the turn of Red Hot Chili Peppers to take centre stage at Knebworth with their own headline show in 2012.
The iconic venue will rock again next summer.