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"Sonisphere 2011 - 8th to 10th July" Knebworth Travelogue by vichatherly

Knebworth Travel Guide: 37 reviews and 114 photos

Day One Bands

I live in Knebworth, and so I thought it was about time that I actually made the effort to get some tickets for the Sonisphere weekend rock festival. I nearly got tickets last year, after some friends thought they might go. They couldn't make it in the end and by that time unfortunatley all the tickets had been sold.

This year I decided to switch things around. So I bought a three day, no camping, ticket and then asked friends if they were going. No takers again this year so there was nothing to do but go solo.

Camping is an option at the festival. But camping was not for me, on two counts, one I live in Knebworth and could be home in bed within about half an hour of leaving the festival, and two I don't like camping.

For the first day I left work early, and tried out the option of getting the free bus from Stevenage railway station to the festival. This sounded like a good idea, as it meant that I could leave the car at home, have a few beers and then get the train or walk home.

Unfortunately there weren't many buses, and I had to wait for 1 1\2 hours before finally getting to Sonisphere.

I then realised that although alcohol is allowed in the arena, you are not allowed to bring in your own. Therefore I drank half of my beer at the arena gates. All of these delays meant that my planned start of seeing Japanese Voyeurs on the Bohemia stage at 15:00 and then Anthrax on the Apollo stage were scuppered.

My first band of the day therefore turned out to be Glamour of the Kill - Bohemia Stage at 16:00. A four piece, metal band from York. There was plenty of long hair everywhere. At the end of their set they invited the crowd in the tent to "get on stage and make the security work for their money" and then finished by getting the crowd then to do, what I later found out to be, a "Wall of Death".

Off then to see one of the big four, Megadeth - Apollo Stage

Black Dahlia Murder - Bohemia Stage. This was a headbanging screamfest of a set.

Slayer - Apollo Stage. Enjoyable set.

Metallica - Apollo Stage. A great performance from a great band.

Killing Joke - Bohemia Stage. It's got to be difficult to follow after a set from Metallica but this band pulled it off. A great performance from the lead man Jaz Coleman and there was enough dry ice to fill the O2 arena, let alone a small tent in Hertfordshire.

The set ended after midnight and so my feet were ready to give in. It was off to see if the shuttle buses to Stevenage station were still running. They were and there was no queue. I hopped on and it was nice to have a sit down after 8 hours. The bus route was a bit frustrating as it passed a spot about 30 minutes walk from home, but wasn't going to stop until it reached the station. More bad news followed when I reached the station, as all the trains in the London direction had finished. I only wanted to go down one stop, but there were no trains. I therefore had a long walk home and my feet were beginning to complain. I realised that I two more days of festival to go yet and so was grateful for the taxi driver who stopped and gave me a lift home. Got home about 01:30 exhausted.

Day Two Bands

I woke up in my comfy bed, enjoying the fact that I didn't have to get out of a small slightly damp tent. My feet had loved the rest and were ready for another day of ROCK. Today the plan was to get dropped of by the better half at the gate and then my wife had kindly agreed to leave the car at Stevenage railway station so that I could then drive home. One slight drawback was that obviously I had to forgo the beer, but that was no hardship as I was really there for the music and as a bonus it cut down on the toilet trips.

First band of the day and it was back into the tent for Me Vs Hero - Bohemia Stage 13:10

The Treatment - Jagermeister Stage, an really excellent set at the small outside stage.

Kids In Glass Houses - Saturn Stage - Lead singer lost in crowd surfing incident

Bad Religion - Apollo Stage, a good rock set

Sum 41 - Saturn Stage, excellent set, covers of Metallica and they wanted to play on so long that the powers that be turned their sound off. That didn't stop them from finishing the set. Excellent

You Me At Six - Apollo Stage. A bit of a contrast from Sum41 in terms of stage presence, also the band had to contend with the heavens opening. I was getting a bit fed up of the bands ranting and so cut their set short and went for a coffee.

Six Hour Sundown - Jagermeister Stage

Pulled Apart by Horses - Bohemia Stage and then the heavens opened again and so I decided to stay in the dry in the tent.

Periphery - Bohemia Stage, four guitars on stage so it was a noisy growl fest.

Weezer - Apollo Stage, outside again and the sun is shining. An excellent set with a god cover of Radiohead and ended up with all members of the group playing the drums.

The Mars Volta - Saturn Stage, they came on stage and mentioned that they knew which stage had the main event of the night and it was the Saturn. They were as good as their word and gave a terrific set that was the best of the day by a long way. Damm they were good, and they also made a god cup of tea on stage. It was a shame that they didn't have longer time slot.

One thing to remember with festivals is that people are dirty and disgusting when it come to toilet behaviour. It ranges from discreetly using a paper cup under you cagoule and then tipping the contents on the ground, to the just blatant get your tackle out and have a wazz on the grass. At least the bloke gave me some warning about what he was going to do.

Other twitter comments from the day from me were, "please don't wear a mankini on the bunjee" and "Thanks but I don't want a free hug"

Bifffy Clyro - Apollo Stage - The main event of the night on the main stage but although they were okay ... they were just okay.

The Sisters of Mercy - Bohemia Stage for the last set of the night in the tent. They should have been good, but were late on stage, which was not a good thing as my feet and knees were beginning to complain. Then they seemed to have forgotten to turn the bass on and also the drum kit. The bus home was calling me, and so I cut their set short.

The bus to the station and picking up my car worked a treat and I was tucked up nice and cosy in no time. Left the festival at 00:30 and got home at 01:00. Feet need a rest for Slipknot tomorrow.

Day Three Bands

As it worked so well the day before, the transport plans were the same for day three. Drop off at the festival and car deposited at Stevenage railway station.

First band of the day was Arch Enemy - Apollo Stage 12:10 a heavier set than that of the Saturday

House of Pain - Saturn Stage. A really fun set, cover of The Shadows and of course the ever popular Jump, and indeed we all did. Also had the fine lyrics of "Put on your *** kickers and kick some ***"

Kylesa - Bohemia Stage. A band who, I noticed probably wouldn't be doing a cover of the Locomotion or Spinning around. They did have two drummers to start with and then upped the ante to three.

In Flames - Saturn Stage. A set memorable for the fact that as I was watching a bloke in front was handed a long chain and unbeknownst to him there was a gimp attached. You had to laugh as he tried to free himself of the responsibility and he was pleased when two girls, skipping off in the opposite direction relieved him of his gimp tending duties. It all happens at rock festivals you know.

Mastodon - Apollo Stage, loud and proud. A really decent set, good sheep on steroids stage background.

A chill out and a cup of coffee listening to Amplifier - Jagermeister Stage.

Motörhead - Apollo Stage. A really good rock and roll set from the boys in black. Their set had the lot. If having Lemmy on stage was not enough for you, they also had some rather decent looking fire eaters and a mammoth drum solo, which took away some of the pain in the legs as a result of persistent standing days on end.

Opeth - Saturn Stage. They only managed to play about three tracks, although they were each about 15 minutes long. Prog rock is alive and kicking.

Limp Bizkit - Apollo Stage. It was the red shorts that were a distraction. Fun set, although most of the time I couldn't understand a word he was on about. Maybe I'm not down with the youth enough.

Bill Bailey - Saturn Stage. A fabulous set, which event the downpour could not dampen. A funny man, who loves his rock music. I particularly liked his French version of Gary Numan's Cars and it goes without saying that he brought the house down with his cover of Metallica's Enter Sandman performed on horns. Unmissable.

Slipknot - Apollo Stage. The main event on the main stage on Sunday. These guys in their masks and red boiler suits put on a great show, but must have some serious issues. To be honest I hadn't any of their stuff beforehand and although I went along with a very open mind I think that I'll be buying more Metallica cd's than Slipknot. A crazy, loud, smoke filled, crowd surfing, screaming the house down set. A fine ending for the main stage.

I let the crowd disperse and took in the final set of my festival, Orange Goblin - - Jagermeister Stage

I went to the festival with an open mind about the bands. I have to admit that I hadn't heard of most of them, but I was willing to give them a chance to impress me and convince me of their worth of a cd purchase.

Obviously some were better than others, but overall they were all worth a listen to and I had three great days of all out rock.

I managed to see 31 bands give their all over the three days and although the ticket prices may seem expensive, at £160, it worked out to about just over £5 per band ... not too bad.

Best band for me in the festival were The Mars Volta and I shall be discovering more of their music soon.

Metallica were a great band and I have now a few of their albums. You can find me with the headphones on happily ironing my work shirts to the Black Album and Master of Puppets.

The body just about survived the experience and so I'll be in training for 2012.

  • Page Updated May 9, 2016
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