By Alan Davies, Music reporter
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Another dozen acts have been added to the Sonisphere Festival 2014 line-up for Knebworth Park this summer, including Iron Maiden’s special guests on the Saturday night.
The three-day rock and metal festival will return to the grounds of Knebworth House from Friday, July 4 to Sunday, July 6 after a two-year hiatus.
The UK leg of Sonisphere will help celebrate Knebworth’s 40th anniversary of staging outdoor concerts.
And Team Sonisphere organisers added American alternative metallers Deftones and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls to the rock event’s line-up today (Wednesday), with both playing on the same stage as headliners Iron Maiden.
Joining them at the Hertfordshire stately home this summer will be American ska punk pioneers Reel Big Fish, Canadian progressive metal band Protest The Hero and Scottish pirate metallers Alestorm.
Reel Big Fish will play the Saturn stage on the Sunday, while Alestorm will appear on the same stage on the Saturday.
Others confirmed are stoner rockers Truckfighters, reformed Irish alternative rock band Kerbdog, melodic hardcore punks Only Crime, English rock band Blitz Kids, punk/rap artist Itch, hotly-tipped Midlands punk four-piece Max Raptor and British electro/punk rockers Hounds.
Firestarter chart-toppers The Prodigy will play the opening Friday night, with nu-metal favourites Limp Bizkit Rollin’ into Hertfordshire again as special guests.
British heavy metal legends Iron Maiden will top the Sonisphere bill on the second day.
Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Nicko McBrain and Janick Gers 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 survivors 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, Chas & Dave and Devin Townsend Project.
Of the latest line-up additions, Deftones and folk-punk troubadour Frank Turner are the biggest draws.
After playing the main stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals last summer, Sonisphere Knebworth will be Deftones’ only UK show of 2014.
They will play the Saturday below Iron Maiden.
Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham said: “We are absolutely stoked to be part of Sonisphere’s return and of course to have a chance to once again play a show with Iron Maiden, especially on the hallowed grounds of Knebworth.”
Frank Turner’s addition to the line-up is no real surprise considering he has a tattoo of Iron Maiden mascot Eddie.
At the time, Team Sonisphere member and KiliLive promoter Alan Day (@alandayrocks) tweeted: “well @frankturner got more @IronMaiden questions correct than I would have done!”
KiliLive – the team behind Sonisphere and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ huge 2012 Knebworth gig – have promoted dates on Turner’s current headline arena tour, with the Tape Deck Heart singer playing the O2 Arena in London tonight (Wednesday).
Turner also performed live during Danny Boyle’s stunning London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony.
The former vocalist of post-hardcore band Million Dead is no stranger to Hertfordshire either, having played a sold-out concert last summer at Hatfield’s Forum Hertfordshire, just down the A1(M) from Knebworth Park.
Turner is delighted to be sharing a stage with his heroes for the first time.
ALICE IN CHAINS
CHAS & DAVE
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT
FRANK TURNER & THE SLEEPING SOULS
PROTEST THE HERO
REEL BIG FISH
THE SISTERS OF MERCY
He said: “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.
“It’s definitely going to be my festival highlight for 2014.”
Of the other bands added to the Sonisphere extravaganza, a number have played in the county before.
Blitz Kids were on the Slam Dunk Festival line-up at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield last May, as was former The King Blues frontman Itch.
Blitz Kids also played a pre-Reading gig at The Horn pub in St Albans last August.
Southern Californian favourites Reel Big Fish – one of ‘Ska Punk’s Big Three’ – are currently touring the UK with Less Than Jake, having previously co-headlined Slam Dunk South in Hatfield.
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.