After a debacle and a half following Sonisphere’s 2012 line-up (Kiss? Really?) which led to the whole festival being pulled from British shores, and a complete absence in Knebworth the following year, 2014 seems to be a triumphant return for the UK’s premier metal festival – premier because Avenged Sevenfold and Linkin Park are doing their very best to discredit Download’s reputation. Fortunately, Sonisphere’s organisers have done well to cheer UK metal fans up no end, featuring a gloriously varied roster which covers nearly all the dark, depressing music we know and love.
Sitting at the top of the tree are The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Metallica. These are big enough bands alone to justify the massive ticket sales Sonisphere will command, but the talent fortunately doesn’t stop there; progressive metal giants Mastodon, Dream Theater and Gojira will all be making welcome appearances, as will the ever-present Slayer, Anthrax and Dropkick Murphys. Already, we’ve got a quality selection of the biggest and best metal outfits from across the ages, but the fun doesn’t stop there – fans of the doomier end of metal will be raring to catch Electric Wizard and Truckfighters, whilst hardcore has been well catered for thanks to Gallows, The Bronx, Trash Talk and many more.
Devin Townsend, Ghost, Deftones, Carcass, Karnivool… do you honestly need any more reasons to go? OK, have Gary Numan and Limp Bizkit, because they’ll be hilarious, and you could pop down to see Bam Margera be loud on stage before boogying down with Alestorm, Reel Big Fish and Chas and Dave. The lineup, to put it another way, is pretty damn good.
There’s music here to suit almost any metalhead, but what about the venue itself? Knebworth Park is only 20 minutes(ish) drive from London, and unlike Download, one doesn’t have to walk for HALF AN HOUR just to get from the campsite to the arena. I’ll repeat that again – a HALF HOUR walk when you’re drunk/something else/freezing. If the weather’s good (emphasis on if) you might avoid drowning in your own tent as well. Which is nice. On the nosh front, Sonisphere will naturally be serving the very best in burgers, hot dogs, burgers, chips, burgers and many other delicious high-fat foodstuffs, including burgers, and the beer tent will no doubt be packed until the early hours.
So, how best to sum up Sonisphere 2014? It’s some of the best of metal, in a convenient location (at least, it’s convenient if you’re me and live about 20 miles away), and it’ll probably be one of the festival highlights this year if you like your music loud and fast. Do it.
Sonisphere takes place from 4th-6th July 2014, with tickets available here.