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Knebworth Festival
Pink Floyd in 1975
The Rolling Stones in 1976

The Knebworth Festival is a recurring open-air rock and pop concert held on the grounds of the Knebworth House in Knebworth, England. The festival first occurred in 1974 when The Allman Brothers Band, The Doobie Brothers and other artists attracted 60,000 people.

Since then the venue has hosted numerous outdoor concerts, featuring artists including The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Deep Purple, Queen, Status Quo, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Phil Collins, Robert Plant, Dire Straits, Mike Oldfield, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Robbie Williams, and Oasis.

Major concerts

  • In 1979, Led Zeppelin performed at Knebworth for two gigs, their first concerts in the United Kingdom since 1975. The band reportedly played to record crowds in excess of 200,000 people, even though official admission records only list 109,000 people. The New Barbarians, Ron Wood's solo outfit with Keith Richards played at the second show on 11 August. Support bands included Fairport Convention and Chas and Dave.
  • The Beach Boys headlined the 1980 Knebworth concert, which would later prove to be the last UK performance of the band's original lineup. Drummer Dennis Wilson would die in 1983 from drowning. Their set was released in 2002 as Good Timin': Live at Knebworth England 1980.
  • The 1985 event was the first UK gig by the re-formed Deep Purple.
  • On 9 August 1986, Queen performed their last concert with their original lineup in what was Freddie Mercury’s final show with the band. They did not perform live again until after Mercury's death, at his tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in April 1992.
  • On 30 June 1990, the park was the location for The Silver Clef Award Winners Concert which was recorded with highlights released on LP and compact disc, along with home video on VHS and laserdisc later that year, with a newly remixed edition released on DVD in 2002. A Blu-ray edition with upscaled SD video and high resolution audio (LPCM stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) was released in Europe in 2015. It included the performances of artists including Pink Floyd, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Tears for Fears, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Ray Cooper, Robert Plant (w/ Jimmy Page), Status Quo and Phil Collins (w/ Genesis). Pink Floyd’s complete set will be released with newly remixed audio on multiple formats (180-gram 45r.p.m. double LP, compact disc and digital platforms) on April 30, 2021.
  • In 1996, Oasis, who were supported by The Charlatans, Kula Shaker, Manic Street Preachers, The Bootleg Beatles, The Chemical Brothers, Ocean Colour Scene and The Prodigy, played two shows with an audience of 125,000 per night. Over 2.5 million people had applied for tickets for the shows, meaning the possibility of 20 sold-out nights. It remains the largest ever demand for concert tickets in British history.
  • In 2003, Robbie Williams headlined at the main stage in Knebworth over a three-day period, drawing crowds of over 375,000, and a further 3.5 million who watched live on television and online. Other acts to perform on the same stage were The Darkness, Ash, Moby and Kelly Osbourne. This was reputedly the biggest UK pop concert ever and caused a huge traffic jam on the A1(M) as thousands of cars tried to reach the venue during Friday evening rush hour. A subsequent album, entitled Robbie Williams – Live At Knebworth, was released, and reached number two in the UK charts. A DVD entitled What We Did Last Summer, was released afterwards.
  • In 2009, Metallica and Linkin Park headlined the first ever UK Sonisphere Festival. Other bands included Nine Inch Nails and Heaven & Hell. The festival took place again in 2010 with Rammstein and Iron Maiden headlining plus performances from other big acts such as Alice Cooper, Iggy and the Stooges and Mötley Crüe. In 2011, the festival hosted the first UK performance of the Big 4 bands of thrash metal.

Concert history

Date Name Artists Attendance (approx.) Ref.
20 July 1974 The Bucolic Frolic The Allman Brothers Band, The Doobie Brothers, Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Van Morrison, Tim Buckley 60,000
5 July 1975 Knebworth Festival Pink Floyd, Captain Beefheart, Linda Lewis, Monty Python, Steve Miller Band, Roy Harper 100,000
21 August 1976 Knebworth Fair 10cc, Hot Tuna, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Don Harrison Band, The Rolling Stones, Todd Rundgren 120,000
24 June 1978 A Midsummer Night's Dream Atlanta Rhythm Section, Brand X, Devo, Genesis, Jefferson Starship, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Roy Harper 60,000
9 September 1978 Oh God Not Another Boring Old Knebworth! Dave Edmunds, Frank Zappa, Nick Lowe, Peter Gabriel, The Boomtown Rats, The Tubes, Wilko Johnson's Solid Senders 45,000
4 August 1979 Knebworth Festival Chas & Dave, Commander Cody, Fairport Convention, Led Zeppelin, The Marshall Tucker Band, Southside Johnny, Todd Rundgren 109,000
11 August 1979 Knebworth Festival Chas & Dave, Commander Cody, Led Zeppelin, The New Barbarians, The Marshall Tucker Band, Southside Johnny, Todd Rundgren 60,000
21 June 1980 Knebworth Festival Elkie Brooks, Lindisfarne, Mike Oldfield, The Beach Boys, The Blues Band, Santana 45,000
15 June 1981 Capital Jazz Festival 1981 Benny Goodman; Chuck Berry; Ella Fitzgerald; Lionel Hampton's Big Band (without Hampton, who was ill); Muddy Waters; Sarah Vaughan; Barbara Thompson's Paraphernalia; Arnett Cobb, Wallace Davenport and Ricky Ford; Illinois Jacquet; Art Pepper; Eddie Vinson; Buddy DeFranco and Terry Gibbs; Dexter Gordon 50,000
July 1982 Capital Jazz Festival 1982 Pizza Express All Stars, NYJO, Zoot Money, Bobby Lamb–Ray Premru Band, the Ronnie Scott Quintet, Nucleus, Shakatak, Morrissey–Mullen, the Breakfast Band, Carmen McRae
17 July 1982 Capital Jazz Festival 1982 B.B. King, Jimmy Cliff, The Jazztet, Jay McShann, Tal Farlow
18 July 1982 Capital Jazz Festival 1982 The Crusaders, Spyro Gyra, Chico Freeman, Dick Hyman, Dizzy Gillespie
24 July 1982 Capital Jazz Festival 1982 Ray Charles, Gerry Mulligan's Big Band, Clark Terry, Freddie HubbardRon Carter, Modern Jazz Quartet
25 July 1982 Capital Jazz Festival 1982 Wynton Marsalis, Lionel Hampton's Big Band, Steps Ahead, Dave Brubeck (w/ Chris Brubeck and Jerry Bergonzi), Great Guitars
August 1982 Greenbelt Festival Adrian Snell, Andy Pratt, Positive Earth, Bryn Haworth, Calvin Seerveld, Jim Wallis, Noel Paul Stookey, Paradise, Patrick Sookhdeo, Maxine and the Majestics, Rez Band, Roger Forster, Servant, Talking Drums, The Barratt Band
August 1983 Greenbelt Festival 100% Proof, Cliff Richard, Jessy Dixon, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Sheila Walsh
22 June 1985 The Return of the Knebworth Fayre Alaska, Blackfoot, Deep Purple, Mama's Boys, Meat Loaf, Mountain, Scorpions, UFO 80,000
9 August 1986 A Night of Summer Magic Queen, Status Quo, Big Country, Belouis Some 120,000
30 June 1990 The Silver Clef Award Winners Concert Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Dire Straits, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins w/ Genesis, Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant & Jimmy Page, Status Quo, Tears for Fears 120,000
2 August 1992 Knebworth Fesitval Genesis, Lisa Stansfield, The Saw Doctors 120,000
10 August 1996 Oasis Oasis, Ocean Colour Scene, Manic Street Preachers, The Bootleg Beatles, The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy 135,000
11 August 1996 Oasis Oasis, Cast, Dreadzone, Kula Shaker, Manic Street Preachers, The Charlatans 145,000
11 August 2001 Ministry @ Knebworth 2001 Bent, Jamiroquai, Lo Fidelity Allstars 35,000
1 August 2003 Robbie Williams Live at Knebworth Ash, Kelly Osbourne, Moby, Robbie Williams, The Darkness 125,000
2 August 2003 Robbie Williams Live at Knebworth Ash, Kelly Osbourne, Moby, Robbie Williams, The Darkness 125,000
3 August 2003 Robbie Williams Live at Knebworth Ash, Kelly Osbourne, Moby, Robbie Williams, The Darkness 125,000
30 June 2007 Wild In The Country 2007 2ManyDJs, Erol Alkan, Hot Chip, Justice, Sasha & John Digweed, Simian Mobile Disco, Tiga, Underworld
1 August 2009 Sonisphere Festival Airbourne, Alien Ant Farm, Anthrax, Björn Again, Bullet for My Valentine, Heaven & Hell, Linkin Park, Skindred, Soil, Taking Back Sunday, The Used 55,000
2 August 2009 Sonisphere Festival Alice in Chains, Avenged Sevenfold, Buckcherry, Feeder, Killing Joke, Lamb of God, Limp Bizkit, Machine Head, Mastodon, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Paradise Lost, Saxon 55,000
30 July 2010 Sonisphere Festival 65daysofstatic, Alice Cooper, Delain, Europe, Gary Numan, Terrorvision, Turisas 55,000
31 July 2010 Sonisphere Festival Anthrax, Apocalyptica, Corey Taylor, Family Force 5, Fear Factory, Gallows, Lacuna Coil, Mötley Crüe, Papa Roach, Placebo, Rammstein, Sabaton, Skunk Anansie, Soulfly, Therapy? 55,000
1 August 2010 Sonisphere Festival Alice in Chains, Bring Me the Horizon, cKy, The Cult, Dir En Grey, Fightstar, Funeral for a Friend, Henry Rollins, Iggy & The Stooges, Iron Maiden, Madina Lake, Pendulum, Skindred, Slayer 55,000
8 July 2011 Sonisphere Festival Anthrax, Diamond Head, Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer
9 July 2011 Sonisphere Festival Architects, Bad Religion, Biffy Clyro, Cavalera Conspiracy, Sylosis, You Me At Six, Weezer
10 July 2011 Sonisphere Festival Arch Enemy, Limp Bizkit, Mastodon, Motörhead, Parkway Drive, Slipknot, Volbeat
23 June 2012 Red Hot Chili Peppers Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dizzee Rascal, The Wombats, Reverend and the Makers. 80,000
August 2013 (2–4) Eastern Electronics Hot Natured, Moderat, Âme, Anja Schneider, Ata, Ben UFO, Blawan, Catz N Dogz, Chris Liebing, Claude VonStroke, The Climbers, Clockwork, Damian Lazarus, Dave Clarke, Deetron, Dixon, DJ Sneak, DJ Tennis, Droog, Dyed Soundorom, Eats Everything, Ellen Allien, Felix Dickinson, Francesca Lombardo, Futureboogie DJs, Gavin Herlihy, Geddes, Giles Smith, Guy Gerber, Heidi, Huxley, Infinity Ink, James Priestley, Josh Wink, Joy Orbison, Jozif, Justin Martin, DJ Koze, Krankbrother, Laura Jones, Levon Vincent, Luca Pilato, Maceo Plex, Magda, Masters at Work, Matthias Tanzmann, Maurice Fulton, Maxxi Soundsystem, Maya Jane Coles, Michael Mayer, Miguel Campbell, MK, Nick Curly, No Artificial Colours, Pan-Pot, PBR Streetgang, Prosumer, Ralph Lawson, Raresh, Richy Ahmed, Robert James, Roman Flügel, Ryan Crosson, Sasha, Seth Troxler, Shadow Child, Luke Slater, Soul Bros, Subb-an, Tama Sumo, Theo Parrish, Tommy Four Seven, Waifs and Strays 12,000
July 2014 (4-6) Sonisphere 2014 Metallica, Iron Maiden, The Prodigy, Dream Theater, Slayer, Alice In Chains, Deftones, Limp Bizkit, Watain, Mastodon, Band of Skulls, Frank Turner, Babymetal, Dropkick Murphys, Chas & Dave, Glass City Vice, The Sisters of Mercy 50,000

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