The Reading and Leeds Line ups were announced last night without a credible metal band on the bill, which has got me thinking that the UK is actually a crap place for festivals if you are a metalhead…
Woah woah woah, hear me out for a second:
1) I know Reading and Leeds have never been metal festivals, and I know they have some variant of Guns n’ Roses, as well as Limp Bizkit and Enter Shikari on the bill this year, but that hardly compares to the likes of Metallica, RATM, Slipknot, SOAD and Slayer who have all appeared in recent years. (I’ve already discussed the decline of their metal appeal here.)
The big draw of Reading and Leeds this year is in re-forming The Libertines and Blink 182, which I have no desire to discuss on a metal blog.
2) Am I crazy? We have Download, Sonisphere and Bloodstock as well as Reading/Leeds and T-in-the-Park, and we get all of the world’s top acts (apart from Rob Zombie) touring here all of the time, so how can I say that the UK is a crap place for metal festivals?
Well it’s because we have too many of them that we will never have another truly great metal festival. I put it to you that competition has really damaged the festival scene here:
This summer the “Big Four” 80s thrash metal bands are playing together for the first time on one bill in the history of metal. And where are they playing? Warsaw, Poland.
The Sonisphere brand of festivals travels Europe this summer and the best line-ups it has are probably in Turkey and Romania. Turkey gets treated to Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax, as well as Rammstein, Heaven and Hell, Manowar, Alice in Chains, Mastodon and some really popular local Turkish acts.
A line up like this will never come to the UK, because the competition between the festivals means that they each get picked off by different ones: e.g. Slayer, Anthrax, Rammstein at Soni, Megadeth at Download, Heaven and Hell at Bloodstock, Metallica at a different one each year apart from this year.
And all of these fests abroad cost a fraction of the 200 odd pounds that you have to lay out if you want to go to one of the big English ones, let alone the £500+ if you want to see all of your favourites and go to three/four.
For once, being at the centre of the metal world with such regular performances by the big names looks like quite a negative thing.
Update: clearly much of this was proved wrong by Sonisphere announcing it’s Big Four line-up for 2011.