Arts Marketing Project
- Sonisphere Festival is a touring music festival which takes place across Europe between June and August, the festival started in 2009 across six different countries. Further expanding to 13 countries in 2011. With headliners including heavy metal legends such as Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slipknot. Sonisphere is organised and run via Kilimanjaro Live, which is managed by Stuart Galbraith. After graduating from Leeds University Stuart worked for MCP Promotions working with various artists such as U2 and Metallica, as well as this he helped set up and run the Monsters of Rock festivals at Donnington Park. After this Stuart worked with Live Nation to help set up Download festival.
- However in 2007 Stuart was fired from Live Nation for reportedly working with their main competitors, which was a major breach of contract.
- In response to this Stuart founded Kilimanjaro Live and Sonisphere quickly followed.
- In the UK Sonisphere is held at Knebworth House, which is notoriously famous for its legendary rock shows over the past 50 years. With Knebworth boasting the largest single field capacity in the country. The first major festival here was in 1974 and saw the Allman Bros Band headline to a crowd 60,000 strong!
- In the past 50 years Knebworth has also seen the last shows of some of the biggest bands of all time. Noticeably in 1979 Led-Zeppelin played to over 200,000 people across two Saturdays. This was the final time that the original band members all played together in the UK, with the drummer sadly passing away the following year in 1980.Another band that have had their final show at Knebworth is the equally massive Queen who played to over 120,000 people. This was sadly Freddie Mercuries last show with Queen as he sadly passed away of AIDS a few years after. Here is a documentary based on this legendary concert:
- However in 2012 it looked like there was going to be the death of another iconic event at Knebworth House. With the cancellation of Sonisphere 2012 in March. The festival already had its strong set of headliners with Kiss, Faith No More and Queen (Alternative singer).
There is much speculation into the actual reason that Sonisphere UK 2012 was cancelled, however the official press conference was as follows:
"It is with very heavy hearts and much regret that we announce the cancellation of Sonisphere Knebworth 2012.
Putting the festival together in what is proving to be a very challenging year was more difficult than we anticipated and we have spent the last few months fighting hard to keep Sonisphere in the calendar.
Unfortunately circumstances have dictated that we would be unable to run the festival to a standard that both the artists and that Sonisphere's audience would rightly expect.
We want to express our deepest regrets to the artists and to thank all the staff, suppliers and contractors who worked so hard with us to try and pull off what has proven to be an impossible task and we know how much they share in our disappointment. We also want to send a huge thanks to the Sonisphere fans who stuck by us and we are so sorry that we can't fulfil what we set out to do.
Ticket holders will automatically receive a full refund direct from their ticket agents.
- There are however many other rumors as to why the festival was actually cancelled, with one of the key problems that researchers have picked up on is that the simply announced far too late with Strictly Sonisphere (2012) saying: "But the Knebworth based franchise, usually so keen to fire off their opening gambit, has remained cryptically and unusually silent, and this worries me." In the same article they mention Sonisphere's major competitor Download Festvial, which saw 2012 as its most successful year yet with over 100,000 tickets sold! Making it officially the second biggest festival in the UK just under Glastonbury. With this you can see that the problem is not just due to the economic climate as their major competitor were able to expand their festival to new heights.
- To further rub salt in the wound Download Festival won "best Line-Up" in the festival awards 2012.
- To further express that the 2012 festival season was actually a success, official figures show that "In 2007, 31 out of 496 events or 6.25 percent were cancelled. In 2012, 57 out of 929 or 6.13 per cent of festivals were cancelled" And to further express these numbers 12 were cancelled due to severe weather conditions that drops it down to 4.84% of festivals were cancelled.
- In 2013 Sonisphere was again cancelled, however this time the reason was: "We made offers to over a dozen major artists but for various reasons none of these offers lead to securing a strong bill" followed by "We think it is really important that the event only runs when it has a line up that sets it apart from the competition whilst also carrying a ticket price that allows us to offer real value for money to the music fans. We were hoping to do that in 2013 but unfortunately it wasn't possible to fulfil both aims with the principle problem of there being a lack of available headliners of the calibre of previous festivals at Knebworth."
- So the main problem that Sonisphere has had in recent years is that they have not been able to compete with the consistently strong line up produced by Download. Either due to a lack of funds, or simply a lack of suitable bands that they see as headline material.
- This leads perfectly into the solution that I believe will help "Revive" Sonisphere Festival for 2014, and years to come. My main idea comes from the recent technology used at Coachella festival with the "reincarnation" of Tupac who performed with Snoop Dogg:
- What this would mean for Sonisphere is that you could have headliners who previously would not be possible, for example you could relive the iconic final Led Zeppelin show, or Freddie Mercury's final show, this would almost guarantee a sell out because there are people who love their music but have never had the chance to actually see them. As well as allow people who were at the original event the opportunity to see it again.
This technology is actually relatively easy to introduce and is also not too expensive. The actual technology is actually dated back from the 19th century called "peppers ghost" where a projection is shot at right angels at a plane of glass and it shows the image as if it was in 3D. This whole process would have cost somewhere between £100,000-400,000.
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