Sonisphere Answers Doubters

Some have suggested that Kilimanjaro Live chief Stuart Galbraith started the Sonisphere festivals in Europe with the main goal of sticking it to his former bosses at Live Nation, but that’s just one point he and his agent partner John Jackson have been quick to rebut.

Jackson, who has K2 agency and has represented Sonisphere headliners Metallica since 1985, said he’s always had ambitions to create a touring rock festival.

“This talk about competing with Download because of the past is ridiculous because we’re working with acts from a lot of different agencies,” Jackson said.

He was reinforcing a point made Feb. 24, when Sonisphere announced the updated lineup for the U.K. leg Aug. 1-2 at Knebworth House.

It now includes Bullet For My Valentine, Lamb Of God, Thin Lizzy and The Sword – all booked from The Agency Group – and Linkin Park and Machine Head (Helter Skelter).

“For Korn and System Of A Down [appearing at various Sonispheres on mainland Europe], we’re working with ITB and that’s owned by Live Nation,” Jackson explained.

That’s not the end of LN’s involvement, he said, as Risto Juvonen of the Finnish office is co-promoting his local Sonisphere on the Pori Jazz Festival site, a show that shifted 50,000 tickets within an hour of going on sale.

Jackson was also quick to stamp on anyone doubting that he and Galbraith will be able to get a bill – including headliners of the stature of Metallica – year after year.

“I’m sure we’ll be able to do that,” he said, apparently confident of his years of experience seeing – and helping – new rock acts break into the market.

Galbraith and Jackson, who appear to be moving forward by making good use of their good contacts as opposed to taking up strict roles as promoter and agent, are understandably happy with what they have achieved so far.

But both hint that 2010 will see Sonisphere expand to the point of a global market leader.