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Sonisphere 2012, Set to Feature Queen and Kiss, Cancelled

Brian May
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

The 2012 Summer Olympics: concert killer.

Following in the footsteps of at least four U.K. and Ireland-based music festivals planned for this summer, Reuters is reporting that the producers of Sonisphere Knebworth, a mammoth rock festival featuring Kiss, Queen with Adam Lambert (!), and Faith No More as the headliners, has pulled the plug on the event. The statement from the organizers is very carefully worded, but the subtext is clear: they can’t afford to do it.

And after a quick search of the cost of flights to London both before and during the Olympics, we can see one reason why. Ticket prices increased 50% — and that’s for the cheap seats — between reservations booked in May and those booked in July, which is when Sonisphere was scheduled to take place. The two events would not have taken place concurrently, but we’re guessing London hotel rooms have been selling at a premium for over a year. That, combined with increased airfares and a depressed concert climate, most likely did them in.

They’re not the only ones, either. Glastonbury, The Big Chill, Oxegen and High Voltage have also scrapped their 2012 plans, though their explanation was actually quite practical. Yes, it’s because of the Olympics, but only because they’re going to have all of the extra police force and porta-potties. That might sound like a cop-out – canceling your festival due to a lack of portable toilets and cops is not very rock & roll – but just imagine what the grounds would have looked like if you invited 20,000 people to a field, and then gave them a handful of places to relieve themselves and no one to keep them in line. They’d have to call in a hazmat squad to deal with the mess.

Still, it’s a pity. This looked like a fun show, as the three headliners would have been joined by Wolfmother, Andrew W.K., the Darkness, Mastodon, and even Cypress Hill. Maybe next year. With regard to Queen, though, would it kill them to give George Michael a call? We’ve been waiting for them to tour together since they performed “Somebody to Love” at the Freddie Mercury benefit show 20 years ago.

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