THE UNIVERSE 40,000-capacity dance event at Knebworth House on May 23 and 24 is not going ahead... (Story includes ticket refund info)

THE UNIVERSE two-day, 40,000-capacity dance event – due to feature Beck (pictured), Spiritualized, Roni Size, Lo-Fidelity Allstars and Bentley Rhythm Ace in the grounds of Knebworth House on May 23 and 24 – has been CANCELLED due to poor ticket sales.

Universe co-promoters Ian Jenkinson and Paul Shurey said in a statement: “Frankly we are devastated, but this has been a difficult and stressful time for us. Above all we are disappointed to let down the fans, DJs and artists who believed in us and we would like to thank the thousands of supporters who have phoned, faxed and e-mailed us with their support.”

Universe are in court with the Mean Fiddler Organisation on May 11 in a battle over who owns the name Tribal Gathering. Universe hope to stage another dance event using the name later this year either at Knebworth or an alternative site. However, at this stage this proposal remains unconfirmed.

The Tribal Gathering event has had a chequered history. Universe, the original promoters of the Tribal Gathering festival, split with their longtime co-promoters the Mean Fiddler Organisation earlier this year. They subsequently teamed up with promoters MCP but a court injunction meant that neither they nor the Mean Fiddler, who promoted last weekend’s rival Creamfields dance event at Winchester, were able to use the Tribal Gathering name.

MCP’s Tim Parsons explained to NME why Universe ticket sales had been so bad: “Whereas there was only one dance event previously, the market is now fragmented. We couldn’t use the name Tribal Gathering therefore we’re using a new name and you wonder if people tie the two together.”

Universe ’98 tickets can be redeemed for a full refund from point of purchase. For further information on Universe ticket refunds call the Universe ticket line 0115 912 9129 or Ticketmaster on 0990 344 4444 or visit