The Big One: Sonisphere 2009

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Lewis Brimblecombe | 28 July 2009

What is it?

The Knebworth rock saga continues with the infamous venue hosting the very first UK Sonisphere Festival. Ex-Download Festival guru Stuart Galbraith has provided a line-up sure to whet the appetites of any heavy rock fan. Organisers have downplayed the idea of Sonisphere being a direct rival to Download, although the line-up paints a different picture with metal, nu-metal and hard rock festival regulars, who wouldn't look out of place under the Donnington tyre, lining up. Aside from the comparisons, Sonisphere promises to be a raucous event with seriously hard hitting headliners in the form of Metallica and Linkin Park. This is one weekend unlikely to disappoint those ready to “rock!”

When and where?

It’s all happening from 1-2 August in the grounds of Knebworth House, Hertfordshire.

Who to watch:

Metallica – Apollo Stage - Sunday
Hands down one of the biggest names in metal. Albums like 'Master Of Puppets', 'And Justice For All' and there eponymously titled 1991 Album 'Metallica' are still considered some of the greatest pieces in the genre. Whilst new material may not have wowed fans in the same way, there is no downplaying just how big a band Metallica are. Expect James Hetfield and company to put on a serious show.

Anthrax - Apollo Stage - Saturday
Alongside Metallica, Anthrax are one of the most enduring of the 1980s thrash metal bands. Whilst their line-up has changed over the years, the distinct sound is still appealing to thousand of fans and they will surely go down a storm on Saturday. What's more, ex front-man John Bush will be replacing the ill Dan Nelson for what will surely be another history making Knebworth special.

Avenged Sevenfold - Saturn Stage - Sunday
At the heart of the new wave heavy metal movement, Avenged Sevenfold will offer punters a much needed taste of modern rock amongst the older artists. The band and their distinctive 'Deathbat' emblem will be sure to impress an audience with what is promised to be there final performance before going back into the studio to get their writing hats on.

Bjorn Again - Saturn Stage - Saturday
Abba covers, at a rock festival? As scary as that thought is, Bjorn Again will be putting a hard-hitting twist on the pop classics for what will undoubtedly be a special moment. Expect serious licks attached to 'Mama Mia' and head banging to 'Waterloo'.  If nothing else it will be worth going just for the promised Metallica cover and the sight of tattooed moshers growling along to Dancing Queen.

One to miss

Alien Ant Farm - Apollo Stage - Saturday
Having not released anything worthy of note in years, Alien Ant Farm appear to be a bit of a misnomer at the festival. A cynic might suspect that their inclusion has something to do with there one time hit cover of a certain Michael Jackson’s 'Smooth Criminal'. Regardless, their slotting on the main stage as festival openers no less, is unlikely to impress anyone.

Inside tip

Fucked Up- Bohemia- Saturday
Controversial but never dull. Fucked Up are likely to be a talking point at the festival. Known as much for involvement in media controversy as for their aggressive experimental punk sounds; they are expected to whip up a frenzy at Sonisphere.

Be at Sonisphere if you like…
Serious moshing, black band t-shirts, torn jeans and are partial to devil horns. At the heart of it are the bands - if you love the music the festival will be a treat.

Avoid if you are…
Ambivalent about rock music. Festivals like Sonisphere thrive on punters being up for it. There is nothing worse than turning up to see Lamb Of God to find yourself next to someone complaining about being pushed about a little bit whilst moaning about their broken battery-powered curlers.

Festival Tactics
Once the bands start it’s every man/woman for themselves. Be prepared to lose your friends and potentially your clothing. Remember if you do end up alone - make new friends. As a general rule the more facial piercings a person has the friendlier they are, so be brave and get to know as many people as you can, who knows one of them might have been a roadie for Kiss.

Fashionista or folky?
Fashion is never a top priority at festivals like Sonisphere. Rock is conducive to sweat, dirt and if you are not careful in the pits, blood. These sorts of bodily fluids generally clash with typical metal-head accessories. Leave your silk tie at home, whip out a Megadeth t-shirt and bust out the tats (if you don't have any, grab yourself a fake tat sleeve).

Alcohol of choice
Jagermeister. Like at Download, there really is only one drink tough enough for the hardiest of festival-goers. Mix it up with energy drink and let the jagerbombing commence.

Take your mum score - 2/10
Unless your mum dated the drummer in Poison this is unlikely to be the festival for her. The general atmosphere of sex, mess and filthy rock and roll is unlikely to make either of you feel comfortable.

Can I still get a ticket?
Yes. Weekend tickets withcamping are £157.50 whilst a variety of other ticket bundles are available.

Click here to grab yourself one of the remaining Sonisphere tickets.

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