I've just visited the official Download forums for the first time in several years and they're hilarious.
First up was me noticing the forums becoming unusable for a while with a "server busy" message ... which happened to coincide with school's morning break time. At a guess - because i've seen it year on year on the eFestivals forums - a large number of the people posting there are not attending the festival and know they're not; they're posting just to pretend to be 'cool'.
Anyway, the point of my visit was to look at what people were saying about the news piece that eFestivals published yesterday (here) where we say who we think are the Download headliners this year, and to compare what's being said over there against what people have posted on the efests Download forum.
There's a large number of people on the official forums who don't want to believe what we've said or who think we've guessed at these names, while the occasional person points out that we've got it right in previous years before the bands were officially announced (which may or may not be true ... I can't remember if we've always had it spot on for Download or not, but if not we've had the majority of it right). The people who think we're guessing often suggest that we guess by reading what people are saying on forums such as those and then make a stab at guessing right.
We don't. We rarely take any notice of what people post on forums about which bands are playing, either here on eFestivals or anywhere else (the 'anywhere else' would have us checking other forums, which we don't do unless there's a specific reason to check something). The problem is that too many people like to claim that their grannie's cat's uncle's budgie knows some insider that has told them that so-and-so are playing, and invaribly these turn out to be false.
Over the years eFestivals has built up a number of sources who have proved - via sending us accurate info year-on-year - that they know what's what, and the majority of our info this early in the year (before stuff starts appearing on bands websites) comes from these. We normally can't give any info on who these people are and where they've got their info from, because it will drop them in the shit with wherever they've got the info.
While we have a lot of confidence in what we publish - particularly if done in a news piece such as yesterday's - we only ever state absolute confidence in what we're saying if we have that absolute confidence, and that mostly depends on what exactly we know about the person sending us the info and where they're telling us they got it (and whether we believe all they might tell us ... because of what they're doing, they might be telling us porkies about where it's come from).
Our year-on-year record with rumours is, IMO, very good, and as far as we're aware is far better than anywhere else manages, but that doesn't mean that we guarantee any rumours we give; after all, they're rumours. Only festival organisers are in the position to really know what's what. We do our best including double-checking what we're told via a number of different ways, but they'll never all be 100% perfect as we're using imperfect info.