Sonisphere to stay three days for 2011 festival at Knebworth

PUBLISHED: 22:36 04 September 2010 | UPDATED: 21:42 08 September 2010

Europe on the Saturn stage at Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth

Europe on the Saturn stage at Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth


SONISPHERE’S Friday night of music is likely to be repeated at the 2011 festival in Knebworth.

Sonisphere Festival

* German industrial metallers Rammstein and British heavy metal legends Iron Maiden headlined the main Apollo stage over the weekend at Knebworth this year.

* Sonisphere sold out at Knebworth in its second year, with more than 55,000 there to see Iron Maiden on the Sunday.

* Across Europe, more than one million people have attended a Sonisphere Festival in just two years.

* The international touring festival is likely to visit 13 to 14 countries next summer, depending on who the headliners are.

* Although no dates have been confirmed yet, Sonisphere is likely to take place at Knebworth in late July, either over the weekend of July 21-24 or July 28-31.

Organisers extended the hard rock and metal event to three days this summer, with live music starting on the second stage around tea-time on the Friday.

Alice Cooper, the godfather of shock rock, headlined the extra day with his full Theatre of Death show – his first UK festival appearance in nearly 30 years.

Swedish hard rockers Europe and electro-pop pioneer Gary Numan also played the larger Saturn stage at Knebworth on the opening night.

Sonisphere creator Stuart Galbraith felt the new half day of music was the perfect start to the festival and wants to repeat the experience in 2011, provided a suitable headliner is secured.

Alice Cooper

“I thought it was a lovely way to ease into the weekend. I thought Alice Cooper was magnificent,” said the festival creator.

“The feedback we’ve had from most of the customers is they quite like not starting to about 6pm on the Friday.”

The UK leg of the international touring festival at Knebworth sold out in only its second year.

Mr Galbraith said: “One of the major differences we had this year from last year was that a good quarter of our audience arrived on Thursday and the rest arrived on Friday.”

Gary Numan on the Saturn stage on Friday night at the 2010 Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth

With ticket prices held the same as 2009, he added: “I think we presented really good value for money this year.

“And based on the success of this year, I think we will stick with three days and we will accelerate the activities we also have on the Thursday to get more people here on the Thursday – not necessarily bands though.”

The festival’s rotation policy will remain, with acts alternating between the Apollo and Saturn stages so fans don’t miss any of the main acts.

“It is one of the key elements of our festival,” said Mr Galbraith.

“The audience love the ability of seeing everything on the poster.”

Comedy is also likely to return next summer following the success of mid-afternoon slots in the Bohemia tent from the likes of Tim Minchin, Sean Hughes, Jarred Christmas and Brian Posehn.

John Jackson, the booking agent of Metallica and Iron Maiden who devised the Sonisphere concept with Stuart Galbraith, added: “I think Tim Minchin was a stroke genius.”

* Highlights from Knebworth Sonisphere will be shown on Sky Arts 1 – digital channel 256 – next Saturday (September 11) at 9pm.

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