Gallery: 80,000 people enjoy Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth Park

THE inaugural Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth Park at the weekend was a rip-roaring success. The two-day rock festival kicked off with a storming set from SOiL, setting the bar high for performances from some of the biggest names in rock. Almost 60 bands

THE inaugural Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth Park at the weekend was a rip-roaring success.

The two-day rock festival kicked off with a storming set from SOiL, setting the bar high for performances from some of the biggest names in rock.

Almost 60 bands played the event, with the likes of Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold, Alice in Chains and Mastadon taking to the main two outdoor stages.

Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails made their final ever European date at Knebworth, and Thunder also performed for the last time.


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San Francisco metal band Machine Head made a surprise appearance, after pulling out of the festival last month following a very public row with organisers after Limp Bizkit's addition to the bill above them.

The festival ended with an historic two-hour set from headliners Metallica, with a setlist featuring rarely performed tracks such as Hit the Lights and Dyers Eve.

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Two bands cancelled their appearances at short notice - The Ataris because the lead singer had swine flu and Dirty Little Rabbits due to general fatigue.

The festival included breathtaking stunt shows, fairground rides, rock karaoke, a silent disco, and fire-breathing bikini-clad models.

Organisers have confirmed Sonisphere will return to Knebworth Park next year.

"In year one we are over the moon," said director, Stuart Galbraith.

It had "the best atmosphere I've experiences in 25 years of putting on festivals.

"John [Jackson, festival partner] and I have been involved in a variety of roles for different festivals over the years, such as Monsters of Rock, Ozfest, and Download.

"Sonisphere has in its inaugural year sold more tickets than any of those events in their first years.

"We had a total attendance of 80,000 over the weekend - and we are looking forward to building on our first year and touring Sonisphere into an annual fixture in the rock calendar.

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