Sonisphere boss: Bands right to avoid festivals

Sonisphere boss Stuart Galbraith understands why many big-name acts refuse to headline festivals such as his – and agrees with their argument.

His firm Kilimanjaro Live were forced to announce last week that the planned 2015 edition of Sonisphere UK wouldn’t take place because they’d failed to secure a “lineup we felt was good enough.”

It follows a successful weekend last year, after an absence in 2013 and a cancellation in 2012 after a poor response from early ticket-buyers.

Galbraith tells Billboard: “In the UK rock or metal acts have the option to play Download or other festivals. Metallica played Glastonbury last year – this year they’re playing Reading and Leeds. Then you have smaller specialist festivals such as Bloodstock.

“But some of the the bands that have come through are at the point where they can play stadium shows themselves, and those shows are, on occasion, more appealing than playing a festival.

“I can completely understand why AC/DC and Foo Fighters are playing Wembley Stadium this year – both would have been perfect for Sonisphere. In the case of the UK I think they have made the right decision.”

Galbraith, who worked on the Monsters Of Rock festivals at Donington in the 1980s and 1990s, insists Sonisphere will return to its Knebworth Park home when the time is right – and underlines that there’s no point in putting on a show people don’t want to see.

He says: “We made that mistake in 2012. We put a bill on sale that the customers told us very clearly that they didn’t like. Within two or three weeks we made a decision to pull it. We don’t want to repeat that mistake.

“We only want to come out when we have got something that we know people are doing to go, ‘Wow, that’s really good – let’s go to that.’”

Sonisphere events will take place this year in Switzerland, headlined by Muse, and in Italy, topped by Faith No More.

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.