Alan Day Interview

We caught up with Alan Day, booker of this year’s Sonisphere Festival. Check out the interview below:

You recently announced a World War 1 plane display on the Iron Maiden day of Sonisphere. How did you come up with the idea?

That idea was brought to us by Iron Maiden. I was told to hold a slot around 6pm for an aerial display and that Bruce was going to put something together. Over the last few weeks, we got the call that Bruce is going to fly a World War 1 plane with other pilots. There’s going to be a dogfight. It’s going to be like the Red Arrows but with World War 1 planes over Knebworth. We’re really happy!

The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Metallica have all been announced as headliners for this year’s festival. How far in advance do you book headliners?

We start planning 12 months before the event. We get the fishing rod out and see who’s around. We’ll speak to booking agents and managers and see when bands may be releasing records etc and start approaching people. As the months go on, we sometimes get a bite, sometimes we don’t. This time we got a bite from Metallica, Iron Maiden and The Prodigy all at the same time – we’re thrilled to turn it into an event.

Sonisphere promotes young British bands. Who do you think will bring it this year?

One of my favourite British bands is The Defiled. They’re opening the main stage on the Friday. They’re one of the most exciting bands for me as they’re both heavy and melodic at the same time. We’ve championed them since day one. They’ve played every Sonisphere in the UK so far. It’s great to see them building up from the Jägermeister Stage to the Main Stage. They’ve got the records to show the public why they should be there.

What advice would you give to new bands wanting to play Sonisphere?

Play as many shows as you can in your local area. Grab the attention of your local venue. Promote the hell out of your band and if your’re good, you’re going to get noticed. That will then get filtered to people like me who book the festival.

Apart from The Defiled, which acts are you most looking forward to seeing over the weekend?

One of my all time favourite bands is Dream Theater. They very rarely play festival shows, partly because their songs are so long, but we’re thrilled to have them on the Sunday night. Can’t wait to see Baby Metal. They’ve divided opinion amongst a lot of people. But the fact that we sold out a show in London – 2,500 tickets in 2 days, justifies why they should be on the Main Stage. Everything from the Sisters Of Mercy to Electric Wizard. Some of the new bands as well – We’ve got Tesseract opening the Main Stage for Iron Maiden. We’ve got a new band called Beastmilk – I’m absolutely loving them as well.

How does it feel to be part of the 40th Anniversary Celebrations taking place at Knebworth Park?

It’s great. It’s a legendary venue. Everyone from Led Zeppelin to Genesis to Oasis have all played there. To be part of the 40th Anniversary is great and I think we’ve delivered a line-up that fits well amongst the great shows that have taken place at the venue. It’s as strong as anything that has been played there. We’re really excited.

What do you think sets Sonisphere apart from other festivals in the UK?

I’m one of  the main organisers and I’ve been going to festivals since I was 16. The first one I went to was the Donington Monsters Of Rock with Aerosmith. I’ve been going to festivals every year since then. I’ve been to Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, I’ve been to festivals all over the world. Just spotting loads of small things; from toilets to stage clashes to the line-up. We’ve been involved in putting on something that I’d want to see as a punter. One of the things, is that we don’t clash the bands on the 2 main stages. I went to a festival recently where I had to choose between Rammstein and Limp Bizkit. How can I choose between those?

Let’s say you can pick any band past, present, dead or a live to play Sonisphere. Who would it be and why?

Led Zeppelin. They are one of the greatest rock bands ever. They’ve played once since 1980 and I was lucky enough to see it. That would be the cherry on the cake – We shall see!


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