The first two major U.K. festivals of the summer were busily racking up the numbers as Financial Times made the live music boom official by running a lengthy editorial on it.
Not even the batches of forged tickets that showed up on the first day of Isle Of Wight – although not as many as the "one in five" the papers reported – could spoil the show as security soon had the matter under control.
"We found one early on and I must admit it was a very good copy, but it only meant people were a little delayed getting in while every ticket was closely checked," festival organizer John Giddings explained.
There were three arrests for fraud but the Solo Agency chief wasn’t prepared to make further comment for fear of jeopardising the police’s plans to catch the rest of the culprits.
On the last day, TV coverage had Giddings telling Channel 4 viewers how much The Rolling Stones had been looking forward to playing IOW, arguably the act’s first U.K. festival appearance. About 50,000 fans enjoyed a bill that also had Snow Patrol, Muse, Paolo Nutini, Kasabian, Ash, Wolfmother, Amy Winehouse, Keane, The Fratellis, James Morrison and Arno Carstens.
Whether it actually was the act’s first U.K. festival show since a 1976 appearance at a one-day open-air in Knebworth Park, the lineup as a whole drew fulsome praise from New Musical Express.
"Though smaller than rivals like Glastonbury and V Festival – the Seaclose Park event has just a single stage – the Isle Of Wight again managed to secure a series of bill toppers that the larger events would envy," it said.
Another 60,000-plus fans spent the June 8-10 weekend at Donnington to see the fifth staging of Live Nation’s Download Festival, where Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson, Slayer, My Chemical Romance, Machine Head, Korn, Motley Crue and Evanescence were among the acts proving that heavy rock fans can be at one with the latest information technology.
Apart from Download and Isle Of Wight indicating that the outdoor boom is continuing, the FT article also pointed out that figures from the National Arenas’ Association – which represents 16 venues – indicate that attendance at their indoor shows are also up 13 percent (to 5.7 million).
Anschutz Entertainment Group, which operates the new O2 Arena, announced it has sold more than 1 million tickets before the venue has opened. The first show is Bon Jovi on June 24th.