Can the UK really support two high-profile rock/metal festivals? Because, on the strength of last night’s Download announcement, the increasingly bitter rivalry between Sonisphere and Download seems to be weakening the bills of both bashes.
Sure, AC/DC is a huge name, and they’re worthy Download headliners. But the other bands announced so far – Wolfmother, Megadeth, Bullet For My Valentine, even Them Crooked Vultures – are very much second tier. The promoters will need more big-hitting headliners if they’re to sell out again this year. And head honcho Andy Copping has already quashed rumours of Van Halen headlining one of the nights (they’re just too expensive).
Meanwhile, Sonisphere have snared such heartland metal acts as Iron Maiden, Slayer, Rammstein and Motley Crue. Put both these bills together and you’ve got a truly mighty rock festival. Separately, though, neither line-ups exactly blow you away.
It’ll be fascinating to see how long this big-money war of attrition between the festivals can last. Surely, sooner or later, one of the two will blink, and withdraw from the battle. And that, perhaps, might be the best solution for rock fans. After all, how many people can afford to go to both?