At a press conference yesterday, organisers revealed they would like to see Sonisphere back next year, after this year saw the end of a two year hiatus for the event started in 2009.
Festival organiser Stuart Galbraith said it would return if he could book a decent line-up, and Henry Lytton Cobbold, the current occupier of Knebworth House, revealed later that they were already looking at possible dates.
Henry went on to talk about the House's plans for the future whilst he showed eFestivals around the exhibition which opens to the public tomorrow and covers music concerts hosted at the Knebworth through the site's 40 year rock history. Since 1974 Knebworth Park has played host to some of rock’s biggest performances, including Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, 10cc, Frank Zappa, The Beach Boys, Lynrd Skynyrd, Oasis, Genesis and many more. The venue has expanded its existing collection of memorabilia with rare and exclusive items gathered for a special exhibition with T-shirts, articles, memorabilia, photographs, posters, and footage.
Whilst showing eFestivals around Henry was clearly keen on the potential future bookings the House could host, not just Sonisphere but also carrying the 'heritage of rock' forward with more stand alone events like they had with Queen, Oasis, Robbie Williams, and more recently the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Henry revealed he would like Knebworth to host Oasis' reunion (where it to happen) and if it were over 4 nights (2 weekends). He also said that it is the 20th anniversary of one of '(What's the Story) Morning Glory?' next year, and it will be 20 years since since their last appearance at Knebworth in 2016. This would mean Oasis would retain the record they originally had for the largest audience (from those Knebworth gigs) which Robbie took by having 3 nights - making it 375,000. If Oasis did four nights it would be 500,000 - the largest ever on UK soil. The only challenger is IOW in the 70s but that never had tickets and he's looked at the aerials and is sure that it was not approaching the number.
Knebworth House is the country's largest outdoor venue with a capacity of 125,000, and although Glastonbury Festival has a bigger licence, Henry pointed out that the Pyramid field can only hold 80,000 people. He added that he would also like Led Zeppelin to do one more show, and shortly afterwards suggested maybe a band would like to share the same as this weekend with an appearance at both Gastonbury and Knebworth, adding that that would be nice.
As for other dream bookings, top of his wish list is David Bowie, and he'd really like to have Kate Bush appear - adding he envisions it with the whole House drapped in white sheets. He also mentioned The Who, Pink Floyd, and when asked about AC/DC added that would be nice too, but he added, they are likely to want too much money, but perhaps they could be tempted with the offer of playing a place with such a rock pedigree. Surely, that would, he suggested, tempt even the biggest rock acts on the circuit today?
Henry added that Knebworth House is always open to offers from bands and if there was a band out there who wanted to make a statement and join the pantheon of big music acts then they are always open to offers.
Earlier at the press conference Henry was joined by his wife Martha, Knebworth's Managing Director, alongside Sonisphere's John Jackson and Stuart Galbraith. The Cobbold's said that it was important for them to have Sonisphere on board with them, and that they looked forward to the next 40 years of making rock history. Henry pointed out that Knebworth together with Donington was the classic face of rock. "It's part of living history, that classic rock Festival heritage of the Seventies. We hope to still have headline shows, we are the largest single stage arena in the UK if there's any bands that want to make a statement then we are open to offers."
As well as hinting at a likely return of Sonisphere next year, the organisers added that crime was negligible this year. They also added that they intended no great increase in the size of the event in future, as that would mean a cut in the quality of the service they can provide. And added how pleased they were to see families, childen, and the older generation who where there in the 70s all on site, adding it's the fact that it's so multi generational that makes the atmosphere. The Sonisphere personnel also added they were working hard on headliners for next year already.
This year's event was a resounding success, with no trouble and a relaxed atmosphere over a mostly rain free weekend. eFestivals will be bringing you photos and a review of the festival in the next few days, once our necks have stopped aching!
Following on from Sonisphere itself members of the public will be able to see the exhibition which runs from 8th July until 31st August during Knebworth House open days between noon and 4pm. Entry is priced at £12 for adults and £11.50 for seniors and children. (The cost also allows access to the Gardens, Dinosaur Trail, Park and Adventure Playground).
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