The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC -

be­tween July 4th and 6th.

When both Me­tal­lica and Iron Maiden were an­nounced for Sonisphere, there were more than a few groans on so­cial me­dia.

Great bands as they are, their ubiq­uity as metal fes­ti­val head­lin­ers has at­tracted a lot of whing­ing, but Gal­braith is un­re­pen­tant.

Af­ter land­ing a coup of get­ting the UK’s only per­for­mance of the “big four” (Me­tal­lica, An­thrax, Slayer and Me­tal­lica) in 2011, Gal­braith put to­gether a vin­tage line-up of head­lin­ers com­pro­mis­ing of Faith No More, Queen and Kiss in 2012. It flopped and he had to can­cel.

Les­son learned, there was no Sonisphere at Kneb­worth last year be­cause he couldn’t se­cure head­lin­ers good enough to be sure of sell­ing tick­ets.

“We’ve been very open in our views on Sonisphere at Kneb­worth,” he said. “If we think we can put to­gether a bill and have head­lin­ers that can sell and work, we’ll run,” he says.

“Me­tal­lica and Iron Maiden sell tick­ets. They en­able us to run a fes­ti­val which sells tick­ets and people vote with their feet. We’ve learned that de­spite com­ments and crit­i­cisms from people say­ing we want new head­lin­ers, we did that and people didn’t buy tick­ets.

“I’m afraid we have to work on bills that will sell and that means that we end up with re­peat head­lin­ers be­cause that is what people want to see.” Gal­braith says it is “fan­tas­tic” that Me­tal­lica are play­ing Glas­ton­bury, giv­ing main­stream ex­po­sure on the BBC to a genre which is com­pletely ig­nored other­wise. “It is good for both rock and metal. As we have been say­ing there are pre­cious few out­lets for rock, par­tic­u­larly on the BBC.”

It helps that Bri­tain’s two big out­door rock fes­ti­vals at Down­load and Sonisphere are em­i­nently ac­ces­si­ble by air for Ir­ish fans and thou­sands make the pil­grim­age ev­ery year.

The last out­door hard rock fes­ti­val for Ire­land was Down­load in 2006 at the RDS which fea­tured a par­tic­u­larly strong line-up in­volv­ing Me­tal­lica, Guns N’Roses and Alice in Chains.

Sadly, there will be no man­i­fes­ta­tion of Sonisphere in Ire­land any time soon, says Gal­braith, though coun­tries such as Fin­land, Switzer­land and Nor­way are able to gen­er­ate the 30,000 to 40,000 min­i­mum crowd needed to make the fes­ti­val sus­tain­able.

“We’ve thought about it, but the mar­ket isn’t strong enough to fit a fes­ti­val of this cal­i­bre,” he ex­plains. “There isn’t a strong enough metal/rock au­di­ence in Ire­land to make it vi­able I’m afraid.”

Home­grown fans will have to be con­tent with gigs by Slayer (July 1st) and An­thrax (July 2nd), both in the Academy, Dublin, in ad­vance of their ap­pear­ances at Sonisphere the fol­low­ing weekend.

Those think­ing of mak­ing the trip to Sonisphere could also in­clude Black Sab­bath’s pos­si­ble last ever con­cert which will be on Fri­day night, July 4th, in Hyde Park and will fea­ture an ex­tremely strong sup­port bill of Faith No More, Soundgar­den and Motör­head.

This weekend fea­tures one of the strong­est ever line-ups at a hard rock fes­ti­val at Hellfest, which is staged in Clis­son near Nantes, in France. It in­cludes Black Sab­bath, Aero­smith, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Deep Pur­ple, Avenged Seven­fold and Sta­tus Quo.

Europe’s big­gest metal fes­ti­val, Wacken Open Air, in north­ern Ger­many, takes place be­tween July 31st and Au­gust 2nd, but there is no point in look­ing for tick­ets. It sold out within 48 hours.

Me­tal­lica play Glas­ton­bury next Satur­day night. Cov­er­age be­gins on BBC2 at 9.30pm

Com­ing soon to a Euro­pean stage (not) near you, clock­wise from above left: Steve Har­ris (Iron Maiden), Mike Pat­ton (Faith No More), Steven Tyler (Aero­smith), James Het­field (Me­tal­lica)

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