Guns N' Roses have claimed they had the power pulled on them at Reading Festival on Friday night due to a personal grudge against them by festival boss Melvin Benn.
Despite arriving on-stage an hour late and having their curfew extended by 30 minutes, the headliners are now claiming that their set was cut short by organisers as the result of a historical vendetta against them and had less to do with council legislations as officially stated by the festival yesterday (Saturday). Click here for our report of the shambolic show.
The accusation was made by new guitarist DJ Ashba (pictured) on his Facebook Page, posting: "They pulled the power, but failed to kill the connection as 90,000 people sang Paradise City."
Responding to fans' comments, he subsequently added: "Apparently the promoter has had a personal grudge with GN'R stemming from 8 years ago, if this was the case why book the band? He knows our show. Let me guess… To take our fans money and then not allow us to give them a show that they pay…ed (sic) for."
The '8 years ago' refers, presumably, to GNR's headline appearance at Leeds Festival in 2002, when they once again went on an hour late and Benn was forced to obtain a license extension during the show. On that occasion the band were allowed to complete their set in full. However, the Festival Republic boss had stated publicly last week that this would not happen if the band came on late this time at either Reading or Leeds.
On this, Ashba notes: "The promoter was already being a cocky f$#k in the press before we arrived, so yes we went on a little late, and for this we apologies (sic)."
He extends his personal attack against Benn, stating: "This was clearly not a curfew thing because after cutting our power like a selfish money grubbing (sic) prick, he allowed music blasting through out the venue till the early morning. For us this was all about the fans, the show and the music. For the promoter it was all about the money and not about the fans or the music. Our fans payed (sic) to see a show, and that's why we showed up, too give them just that."
In defense of the festival organisers, Virtual Festivals founder and self-confessed Guns N' Roses obsessive Steve Jenner, who was in the front row for the whole show, says: "DJ Ashba is doing his duty and rallying behind his team, as he should, but his comments are well wide of the mark."
On the grudge accusations, Steve adds: "Reading's license permits amplified music to run later in certain areas of the site and smaller arenas, but explicitly prohibits this from taking place on the main stage. Furthermore, we have seen Melvin and the Festival Republic team bend over backwards to accommodate the nuances of this band, including extending the license to midnight – something I have never experienced before at this event and you can bet that Arcade Fire and Blink 182 won't be getting the same treatment.
He concludes: "There's no grudge against Guns N' Roses and rather than point the finger elsewhere they'd do better to acknowledge that fans have had enough of being treated so shabbily by the band. I haven't read or heard one good word from anyone else about that show on Friday night – the worst headline performance I have seen in the 11 years that VF has been covering festivals. I was embarassed to be a Guns N' Roses fan and desperately hope they can salvage a trace of their former glory at Leeds."
Despite Axl Rose claiming on-stage at Reading that their Leeds show was off "due to tonight", representatives of the festival have confirmed that the band is still scheduled to headline this evening.
Stay tuned to VF to find out what happens and follow the rest of the action from both Reading and Leeds festivals.