English superstar Sting faced not only a hard crowd but also a heated Hakim, an Egyptian singer, when he was introduced to an irritated audience an hour after they expected to see their local hero, Reuters said.

Sting’s introduction apparently also came after a 90-minute break in the show, which took place at the Giza Pyramids April 25.

Shortly after Sting started his set, Hakim stormed onstage and grabbed a microphone, shouting it was his turn to sing. However, organizers wouldn’t let him.

“Whoever is willing to accept the insult of an Egyptian in Egypt can stay. Goodbye!” he reportedly shouted, then stormed off.

Some in the audience accepted his implication that local talent was scorned in favor of big foreign names and chanted, “Hakim! Hakim!” the news service said.

Sting then left the stage and huddled with the promoters. The show’s organizers reportedly then came out and explained that Hakim didn’t go on because he was late for his slot on the show. The crowd calmed down, eventually giving Sting a warm welcome.

United Kingdom

The competition to come out at the top of what may be considered an overcrowded festival market has become so great that event organisers have long since taken the sensible step of protecting their bill by demanding some form of exclusivity.

Obviously, the agents set a high premium on this. Of the headliners at this year’s 55,000-capacity Reading Festival and 50,000-capacity Leeds Festival – Manic Street Preachers, Marilyn Manson, Green Day, P.J. Harvey, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, and Supergrass – it will be their only outdoor appearances in the U.K. this summer.

Travis, Eminem, and Queens Of The Stone Age will also play Scotland’s 30,000-capacity Gig On The Green on August 25-27 as well as the Reading-Leeds weekend (August 24-26), but that’s also organised by the Mean Fiddler Organisation.

This exclusivity isn’t limited to the main stage. It also applies to Ash, Mercury Rev, and Mogwai – headliners of the smaller Evening Session stage.

The fact that the Reading-Leeds shows and the Chelmsford and Stratford V-Festivals, which are of a similar size, take place in the same month heightens the competition as it must be quite a low percentage of the demographic target market that can afford to go to both.

Neither can be expected to move its date to January, but why do they have to be in the same month? If they were eight to 10 weeks apart, the exclusivity may become less crucial and the fans could perhaps afford to do both.

Reading (and therefore, Leeds) has a long-standing claim on the August Bank Holiday weekend. The promoters’ axis of Metropolis Music, SJM Concerts and Ireland’s MCD started the similarly structured V-Festivals in ‘96 and pitched for August, as well.

As Paul Hutton of Metropolis once said, “In this country, even the summer weather is unpredictable. Statistically, August has the lowest average rate of rainfall. It’s the only thing there is to go on.”

The worry is that Glastonbury’s Michael Eavis will study this statistic and, given that event’s tendency to suffer under the occasional downpour, decide that perhaps he’d better move to August, as well.


In what appears to be a wonderful gesture to its fans, The Cure will return to Roskilde (June 28 to August 1) for the band’s only European festival appearance of this summer following the cancellation of its set at last year’s event.

The band was due to play immediately after Pearl Jam on the main Orange Stage, but had to pull out when a crowd surge during the U.S. rockers’ set led to the deaths of nine fans.

The trip to Denmark will involve the band coming out of the studio and making this one-off show a special case.

The group’s agent, Martin Hopewell of Primary Talent, said, “The Cure have had a long and very happy relationship with Roskilde, and always appear in its audience-survey list as one of the most-requested acts. This is very much a case of ‘unfinished business,’ and I’m very pleased indeed that it’s happening.”


Yourope, the European Festivals Association, decision to advise all its members to ban crowd surfing has caused a few red faces among the organisers of the country’s 50,000-capacity Sziget Festival.

The front cover of the brochure for this year’s event has a young blond female being held aloft and (apparently) being used as a game of overhead pass-the-parcel.

The festival’s international manager, Dan Panaitescu, admitted to being a little embarrassed. In fairness to Sziget, the brochure was printed before Yourope issued its advice bulletin, although Yourope chairman Gunnar Lagerman did ban the surfing at his Swedish Hultsfred Festival last year.

Already confirmed for this year’s August 1-8 event are Fun Lovin’ Criminals, HIM, Morcheeba, Faithless, Freestylers, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Placebo, and Ash.


After faltering in sales in ‘99 and failing to take place last year because of a lack of headline acts, Festimad Festival returns this May.

The event has a reduced ticket price, which means fans can save 500 pesetas on a two-day ticket whether they buy in advance or not. Advance prices have been cut from 9,500 pts to 9,000 pts, while the cost of paying at the gate is down from 11,000 pts to 10,500 pts. One-day tickets are unchanged at 5,500 pts in advance and 6,000 pts on the day.

Carlos Asmarats of Encore Music Tours, booker for the May 18 and 19 event, hopes the price reductions and a bill that includes Slipknot, Manic Street Preachers, Muse, Feeder, Limp Bizkit, and My Vitriol will help sell out the 20,000-capacity Parque El Soto site in Mostoles, which is about 20 km outside Madrid.