Virgin Money Unity Arena lineup announced

Virgin Money Arena

Following the announcement last week that the UK’s first socially distanced live music arena would be launching on Tyneside, its organisers have today confirmed a barnstorming opening line-up. Virgin Money Unity Arena will officially launch at Newcastle Racecourse, Gosforth Park, on Friday 14th August and Saturday 15th August THIS YEAR. Two Door Cinema Club will be the first heavweight headliner to … Read more

Reading and Leeds Festival announce Alternative Stage for 2016

Leading the comedy line up is the phenomenally talented Russell Howard who has enjoyed massive success with Russell Howard’s Good News, establishing Russell as one of the UK’s most successful comedians and a rising international star.


Bill Bailey will be returning to Reading and Leeds after his incredible performance in 2014. Known for the astounding musical knowledge that saw him become a panel show staple on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, as well as starring in Channel 4’s sitcom Black Books, Bailey will be delighting the Reading and Leeds audiences as his famous Limboland world tour makes a stop at both festival sites in August.


Joining them over the Bank Holiday weekend is an extensive array of well-known comedic figures including Radio 4 stalwart and one of Britain’s finest comedians Marcus Brigstocke. Katherine Ryan will be entertaining audiences with her razor sharp critique of pop culture alongside Well Good prankster Lee Nelson, the flamboyant flow of Russell Kane and Impractical Jokers’ very own Joel Dommett.


Further Alternative Stage appearances will come from outspoken political commentator Owen Jones who will be in conversation with Andy Parsons alongside performances from Sara Pascoe, Holly Walsh, The Boy With Tape On His Face, Andrew Maxwell, Mark Steel, Tom Deacon (Reading Only), John Robins, Carl Donnelly (Leeds Only), Daniel Simonsen, Dane Baptiste, Lloyd Griffith (Reading Only), Al Porter, Angela Barnes, Jamali Maddix, Lauren Pattison (Leeds Only) and Alternative Stage MC’s David Morgan, Iain Stirling, Dan Nightingale (Leeds Only) and Ian Boldsworth (Reading Only).


The Alternative Stage will also play host to a vast array of late night entertainment throughout the weekend, including a special appearance from the US hip-hop icon Grandmaster Flash who’ll be performing an explosive set at Leeds Festival only. He’ll be joined by hip-hop turntablist DJ Yoda and the impressive stylings of Rave Karaoke and Nightmares From The Discotheque for a full-throttled evening of entertainment, ensuring that Leeds will be dancing late into the night.


Masterful indie club night Propaganda will once again provide a late night euphoric disco soundtrack with special guest appearances from This Is England’s Thomas Turgoose, DJ Dan and many more, with Buttoned Up Disco also on hand with the rock, pop, punk and indie party-starters. Then be ready to travel back in time, with the unrivalled Hot Dub Time Machine bringing the world’s very first time-travelling party to Reading & Leeds this summer, taking you back on a journey through the defining hits of over 60 years of good times.


With the previously announced Kurupt FM Presents Champagne Steam Rooms and Cassetteboy vs DJ Rubbish also taking to the stage over the weekend, the Alternative Stage offers a different spin on the UK festival experience, making Reading and Leeds 2016 the ultimate festival party of the summer.


Reading and Leeds 2016 boasts the biggest names, sounds and festival moments for another year, with 5 headliners over 3 days – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals, Biffy Clyro, Disclosure and Fall Out Boy. They head up an unmissable Bank Holiday weekend which also includes performances by Jack Ü, The 1975, Two Door Cinema Club, Boy Better Know, Chvrches, Imagine Dragons, The Vaccines, A$AP Rocky, HAIM, Nas, Good Charlotte, Asking Alexandria, Fetty Wap and over 200 more.


Russell Howard
Bill Bailey
Marcus Brigstocke
Katherine Ryan
Russell Kane
Lee Nelson
Owen Jones in conversation with Andy Parsons
The Boy With Tape On His Face
Andrew Maxwell
Sara Pascoe
Holly Walsh
Joel Dommett
Mark Steel
Carl Donnelly (Leeds Only)
John Robins
Tom Deacon (Reading Only)
Daniel Simonsen
Dane Baptiste
Al Porter
Angela Barnes
Lloyd Griffith (Reading Only)
Lauren Pattison (Leeds Only)
Jamali Maddix
Mark Grist
Anthony Anaxagorou
David Morgan (MC)
Iain Stirling (MC)
Dan Nightingale (Leeds Only)
Ian Boldsworth (Reading Only)
Grandmaster Flash (Leeds Only)
DJ Yoda (Leeds Only)
Rave Karaoke (Leeds Only)
Nightmares From The Discotheque (Leeds Only)
Propaganda with Special Guests Including This Is England’s Thomas Turgoose, DJ Dan + More
Buttoned Down Disco
Hot Dub Time Machine
Biffy Clyro (Co-headline) (UK Festival Exclusive)
Fall Out Boy (Co-headline) (UK Festival Exclusive)
Red Hot Chili Peppers (Headline)
Foals (Co-Headline)
Disclosure (Co-Headline)
Imagine Dragons (European Festival Exclusive)
Jack Ü                  
Two Door Cinema Club                 
The 1975
Boy Better Know
The Vaccines (UK Festival Exclusive)
A$AP Rocky (UK Festival Exclusive)
HAIM (UK Festival Exclusive)
Jack Garratt
Nas (UK Festival Exclusive)
Frank Turner
Good Charlotte (UK Festival Exclusive)
Coheed and Cambria
Tonight Alive (UK Festival Exclusive)
The Wombats
Twenty One Pilots (UK Festival Exclusive)                                                       
Crystal Castles (UK Festival Exclusive)    
Fetty Wap (UK Festival Exclusive)                     
Eagles Of Death Metal (UK Festival Exclusive)
Parkway Drive (UK Festival Exclusive)
Nothing But Thieves     
The Internet (UK Festival Exclusive)
Rat Boy
Lower Than Atlantis (UK Festival Exclusive)
Asking Alexandria (UK Festival Exclusive)
The Dillinger Escape Plan (UK Festival Exclusive)
Travi$ Scott (UK Festival Exclusive)
G-Eazy (UK Festival Exclusive)
Five Finger Death Punch (UK Festival Exclusive)                     
Sleeping With Sirens (UK Festival Exclusive)
The Neighbourhood (UK Festival Exclusive)
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes         
State Champs
Die Antwoord (UK Festival Exclusive)
Cage The Elephant (UK Festival Exclusive)
Krept & Konan
Half Moon Run
Mura Masa
Spring King
Sunset Sons
Deaf Havana
The Virginmarys
Third Eye Blind
Black Foxxes
The Temper Trap
Brian Fallon And The Crowes
Charlie Sloth
Arcane Roots
Fickle Friends
Clean Cut Kid
Pulled Apart By Horses
Ezra Furman
Big Narstie
The Magic Gang
The Hunna
The Sherlocks
Beach Baby
Isaac Gracie
Highly Suspect (UK Festival Exclusive)
Sundara Karma
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Lewis Del Mar
Will Joseph Cook
White Miles
The Beach
The Vryll Society
Area 52
Nothing More
Milk Teeth
Ghost Town
Giraffe Tongue Orchestra
Beach Slang
Big Spring
Yung Lean
Hoodie Allen
Maverick Sabre
Metro Boomin
Little Simz
Bugzy Malone
Mick Jenkins
Kiko Bun
Franko Fraize
Clara Amfo
Danny L Harle
Rag’n’Bone Man
Fred V & Grafix
Delta Heavy
The Japanese House
99 Souls
Lion Babe
Duke Dumont
David Rodigan MBE
My Nu Leng B2B Oneman + Dread MC (Reading) / Oneman B2B My Nu Leng + Dread MC (Leeds)                          
Philip George                    
Birdy Nam Nam                               
Oliver Heldens   
Hannah Wants
Kurupt FM Presents: Champagne Steam Rooms
Cassetteboy vs DJ Rubbish
The King Blues
Modern Baseball
Maxïmo Park
Raleigh Ritchie                                                                                                     
Tuff Love                                              
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals                         
Section Boyz                     
Lady Leshurr
DJ Semtex (Reading)
The Range
Rude Kid
Zac Samuel
Tkay Maidza
Low Steppa
James Organ

Comedy lineup additions for this years Latitude Festival

Today, Friday 17th June, the UK’s finest multi-arts festival Latitude is delighted to announce further names joining the Comedy Arena line up at this year’s event, which takes place from Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th July 2016 in the stunning grounds of Henham Park, Suffolk.


Latitude is thrilled to announce that one of Britain’s most celebrated comedians Bill Bailey will headline at Latitude this year. Known for the astounding musical knowledge that saw him become a panel show staple on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, as well as starring in Channel 4’s sitcom Black Books – Bill Bailey is an internationally acclaimed stand-up comedian, renowned for his trademark intelligence and wit. Bailey will be delighting Latitude audiences with his uproariously funny blend of show-stopping musical comedy as his famous Limboland world tour makes a stop at Henham Park next month. 


Also performing this year will be Silver Sony Award winner Milton Jones. The pun-loving comedian is best known for delivering “beautiful one-liners so skilfully sculpted, you don’t know whether to laugh or put them on your mantelpiece” Guardian. Milton Jones is regularly on Mock the Week (BBC2), has appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (BBC1), Live at the Apollo (BBC1) and has headlined Dave’s One Night Stand (DAVE).


Katherine Ryan will be entertaining audiences with her acerbic, razor sharp critique of pop culture. Originally from Canada, Katherine is a stand-up who has taken the UK television and live comedy scene by storm as a team leader on comedy roast show Safeword and a presenter on Heir, alongside being a regular fixture on panel shows, including appearances in Mock the Week, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Have I Got News For You.


Creator, writer and actor of the multi-award-winning The League of Gentlemen, Reece Shearsmith, and comedian, actor and presenter Rufus Hound will be the special guests for Robin Ince & Josie Long’s Festival Shambles: a very special take on their hit podcast, Book Shambles. Previous guests and topics have included quantum physics with Charlotte Church, Charlie Chaplin and Eddie Izzard, and what to read when you’re in outer space with astronaut Chris Hadfield. 


With over 12 million YouTube hits to his name, Piff the Magic Dragon has performed to hundreds of thousands in Shakespeare’s Globe, the O2, London and Sydney Opera House. Along with his Chihuahua, Mr. Piffles, Piff’s mixture of magic tricks and deadpan comedy has received high critical acclaim from the likes of Sir Ian McKellan, who called him “the hit of the party” and a “hugely entertaining hour of grumpy magic” from Time Out.


Also performing this year is Radio 4 stalwart and one of Britain’s finest comedian’s Marcus Brigstocke, who will host Prince Fest, a performance in tribute to an artist who changed the world. Join Marcus and special guests for an evening of conversation and celebration, culminating in a fittingly eclectic, flamboyant finale.


Hot on the heels of his new BBC 3 sitcom Sunny D, Dane Baptiste has had incredible success with his stand up shows Citizen Dane and Reasonable Doubts, and is already being hailed as one of the most exciting acts to break through in years. 


American comic and New York Times bestselling author of I Can Barely Take Care of Myself, Jen Kirkman will also be performing, following the release of her Netflix comedy special I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) – which was named one of the top ten stand-up specials of 2015 by The Atlantic and Time Out New York


Further acts include musical comedy duo Jonny & The Baptists who will be delivering their seemingly light-hearted yet satirical take on right-wing politics and media hysteria; Jonathan Pie will bring a cutting parody of broadcast journalism, performing as a UK News reporter with brutally honest views on the world of politics; plus technophobe Jimmy McGhie, who has just finished a string of sell out shows during his second tour of Asia, following a welcomed return to Edinburgh Fringe.


Award-winning comedian and warm-up for The Graham Norton Show Joe Bor will be performing as Jasper Cromwell Jones, a hapless climber who retells the story of a treacherous climb, including a video cameo by TV favourite Jack Whitehall. The hugely talented Lou Sanders will be performing this year, having been featured in The Times ‘Witty Women To Watch 2014’, along with hopeless romantic comedic poet Micky P Kerr, the unpredictable risk-taking Luke McQueen, and Joey Page, who has been named by Chortle as  “one of comedy’s most unique and exciting new talents”. 


Finally, Thom Foole’s Shed Party will be delighting the Latitude crowd this year, providing an evening of clowning, comedy, storytelling, mischief and party games in the Shed of Stories, hosted by absurd character comedy acts, cabaret performances and DJ’s. 

Wychwood, Beer, Cheer and Bubbles.

This is the 9th Wychwood festival to take place, which is a tragedy for me as it means I have missed 8 years of this fun filled, family friendly, yet modest event, that gently launches you into the summer festival period.  Set in the grounds of Cheltenham race course and overlooked by the Cotswold Hills, this venue is used to horseplay of a four-legged nature, but with neigh a nag in sight, Prestbury Park comes alive with a wide spectrum of characters.

The first days sound track set the pace for what would shape up to be quite the eclectic mix.  Early evening The Beat proved how they secured their rightful place high up the Ska tree. With Rankin Roger & Son getting the crowd stomping to the ever popular Ska beats. Toploader followed with their breezy, sing a long songs, that keep the crowd on a high.  Friday night headliners Soul II Soul with their blend of R&B, Soul and Electronica, surprised many who thought them a one song band (Back to life). With each song played you couldn’t help regret not paying more attention 25 years ago. But better late than never!! They exit the stage, leaving the crowd craving for more.

Saturday sees the music shift to a broader range. Unfortunately the delectable Kate Nash pulls out poorly. The Wedding Present are a crowd pleaser as they work through some of their phenomenal body of work. A French twist next from festival favourites The Caravan Palace, who’s zany Gypsy Jazz, Electro swing, is a sight and sound to behold, a big band wall of music fronted by the mesmerising stage presence that is Zoé Colotis a must see. The night’s headliners are 80’s Electro New Wave sensation The Human League and with a catalogue of hits, the crowd were on their feet from the opening “Mirror Man” to the ever popular “Don’t You Want Me” ending another great night with “Together in Electric Dreams”. The set and backdrop pay homage to the futuristic approach of the 80’s, that seem just as futuristic and relevant today, Little wonder so many artists since, have voiced this Flamboyant and eccentric group as an influence.

Sunday becomes a field of laughter with the humorous yet skilful take on classical and popular songs by the Ukele Orchestra of Great Britain.  Smiles a plenty but with admiration from this musically talented troop.  The laughter continues as Bill Bailey and his side splitting comedy take over.  Nobody being prepared for the music, jokes and insanity of this middle-aged madman. This massive force could have easily have been the finale for the main stage, but the organisers decided to bring the evening to a close by treating an appreciative crowd to the Dub Powerhouse that is Dreadzone.  This reggae tinged set was the perfect end to a fabulous weekend, having the crowd bounce and groove out the evening.

 A couple of standout performances on the smaller but no lesser stages included Becky Rose, with her one gal, synth based beats and Craig Charles funk and soul show, where the crowd were whipped up in to a frenzy to match that of the energetic, multi-talented showman.

When the main attractions have finished and the majority of the crowd have turned in for the night, one stage is determined to party on regardless. As I approach the big top tent with strobes escaping from the entrance I can’t help but think that there is something missing?   Upon entry I am handed a pair of wireless headphones and as I walk on through to a sea of crazy revellers it is apparent that I have entered a nut house.  This is the silent disco, a room full of clubbers and two DJ’s but no music through the loud speakers.  I put the headphones on and find myself instantly condemned to the madhouse as I flick between the two DJ’s and adjust my dancing style accordingly.

Music for all genres means that young or old you will at some point find your dancing shoes and at the very least discover new and exciting sounds.  There are over 100 workshops to choose from, complimented with cuisine from the four corners of the world.

A lasting memory of the festival will be that of a  man releasing  another wave of bubbles they glisten like the northern lights as they pass over the light filled stage.  Wychwood really captures the essence of what a festival is about with a great energy and atmosphere.


Sonisphere first Comedy names revealed

bill baileyHaving started out on the stand-up circuit before having his own show commissioned by the BBC and making guest appearances in cult comedy series SpacedBILL BAILEY was propelled into the mainstream after being cast as Dylan Moran’s put-upon assistant Manny in Black Books, before taking over from Sean Hughes for a six year stint as team captain on long-running music quiz show Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Numerous television and film appearances have followed, including regular participation in panel shows such as QI and Have I Got News For You and casting in hit drama Skins and films such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Hot Fuzz and, most recently, a starring role in British comedy Chalet Girl.
However it is in his live shows featuring surrealist humour and leftfield storytelling and set to a soundtrack that utilises an eclectic range of instruments, including the under-appreciated theremin and the often-neglected kazoo, that BILL BAILEY’S unique comedy styling can truly shine. Having sold out multiple nights at the O2 Arena plus recently completing a hugely successful ten week residency at London’s Wyndham Theatre earlier this year, addressing a broad spectrum of subject matter from current affairs to Kraftwerk, BILL BAILEY is set to bring his inimitable performance – which historically has featured musical delights ranging from an Emo inspired song to his own interpretation of SLAYER – for SONISPHERE’s first ever outdoor comedy set, and the largest live comedy performance ever to be hosted at a Rock festival in the UK. Bill comments, I am utterly stoked to be playing Sonisphere alongside some of my heroes of metal. Unleash the Wild Dogs of Rock!”
steveoJackass superstar STEVE-O chooses SONISPHERE to make his debut UK stand-up performance where he will headline the day’s comedy in BOHEMIA. There are very few people on this earth who have inflicted as much damage to themselves as STEVE-O: his history reads like a catalogue of insanity, with achievements including several arrests (including an obscenity charge for stapling his scrotum to his leg), encasing himself in a “fart mask”, hosting a fireworks display between his buttocks and being driven across a bumpy desert road by Henry Rollins while a tattoo artist attempts to etch a smiley face onto his arm. Given his CV, STEVE-O certainly has more than a few shocking yet highly amusing stories to tell. Previous live shows have seen hilarious anecdotes from his past mixed in with stunts including using himself as a human match, balancing knives on his face and squeezing fresh lime juice into his eyes. What this Wizard of Pain has planned for his debut UK performance is yet to be seen, but one thing remains certain – it is not to be missed.
Comedian, actor and radio host JIM BREUER will show the UK why he is one of the biggest names in American comedy as he flies in for his UK debut at SONISPHERE. Close friends with METALLICA, Breuer shot to superstardom after a four year run on Saturday Night Live and his appearance alongside Dave Chappelle in the cult classic movie “Half Baked.” With many accolades including Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time,” Breuer is currently one of the top touring comedians in the US. As well as hosting his own Sirius program he has an enormous listenership, including a one hour special on Comedy Central, “Let’s Clear The Air,” one of the channel’s highest rated specials raking in over a million viewers. Breuer is a regular guest on the Howard Stern show, and has his own podcast on iTunes top 20. His appearances include several stints on NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” as well as roles in numerous movies including “Dick,” “Once in the Life,” “Beer League,” and “The Zookeeper” with Kevin James. Fans adoringly describe Breuer’s multigenerational family comedy as “the modern day Bill Cosby, if he was wearing a METALLICA t-shirt.” A promising picture for what is sure to be a historical debut.
Returning to SONISPHERE, Portsmouth-born vegan, anarchist, transvestite and occult heavy metal comedian-come-musician-writer extraordinaire ANDREW O’NEILL is welcomed back after leaving BOHEMIA in stitches in 2010. Having been a stand-up comedian for eight years, Andrew has performed in comedy clubs and theatres throughout the UK and abroad, conducting comedy tours of Jack the Ripper murder sites and regularly appearing on radio and television.  In 2009 Andrew was nominated for the Chortle Awards’ Breakthrough Act, and has received rave reviews across the press, and accolades from some of comedy’s legends, including Steve Coogan, who considered Andrew “so funny I put him in my new TV show” (Saxondale).
According to Metal Hammer Magazine – who are in a perfect place to judge, being both experts on Metal and having let him host their 2009 Golden Gods Awards – Canadian JASON ROUSE is “the most Metal comedian on the planet”. If BILL BAILEY is the METALLICA of the comedy line up at SONISPHERE this summer, JASON ROUSE is the WATAIN - brutal, dark, twisted and hell-bent on turning the mainstream comedy world upside down. Over the last decade this comedy outsider has sharpened his teeth in clubs and festivals all over the world and become the most celebrated ‘odd-ball’ in comedy today. His stand-up comedy act is a clever combination of devilishly crafted jokes and ‘freak-show-like’ theatrics, which will pit your sense of morals against your sense of humour as this jester from hell forces you to laugh at stuff you should not find funny.
The perfect example of what happens when real rock, comedy and booze mix together BOB SLAYER should feel right at home when making his SONISPHERE debut this summer. Bob’s comedy awakening came while working as tour manager for hedonistic hellraisers The Bloodshound Gang, as they nipped out for a cigarette break mid-set while trying to adjust to the recently introduced UK smoking ban. Thrown in at the deep end, Bob was forced to learn on his feet as 1500 fans threw stuff at him (on the band’s instruction) and after a few days, his survival instincts had formulated a hugely well received routine. As a comedian he has toured all over the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, France, and Hong Kong, Norway and appeared at numerous festivals as well as Edinburgh, Brighton, Bath & Swansea Fringes.
JASON JOHN WHITEHEAD has been performing his brand of stand up comedy all over the world for 12 years now and it is with great excitement that SONISPHERE welcomes him to this year’s comedy line up. A regular at international comedy festivals in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, UK, Holland and his home country of Canada, as well as headline tours on the British and international circuit, Jason has headlined prestigious clubs such as The Comedy Store, Jongleurs, Highlight, The Glee Club, and Yuk Yuks. Described by the Leicester Mercury as “an irresistibly loveable combination of freaked out pot head and a south park character, with a bit of Ozzy thrown in for good measure”, Jason’s set at SONISPHERE promises deadpan observational humour that will leave the bands outdoors competing over the decibel levels of the resulting laughter spilling out from BOHEMIA.
A hugely successful stand-up in his own right, Kiwi comedian JARRED CHRISTMAS returns to SONISPHERE to compere the comedy on Saturday. His impressive list of credits include appearances on Mock The Week, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, BBC2 sitcom The Persuasionists and Dave Channel’s Argumental, as well as dancing like Madonna for Comic Relief. Having scooped a ‘Best Compere’ gong from last year’s Chortle Awards, Jarred’s dynamic onstage persona coupled with his ability to improvise and roll with anything that’s thrown at him make him the perfect candidate to MC for a lively festival crowd, as he proved last year and will no doubt do again this July.
With this announcement, SONISPHERE 2011 is truly coming into its own, and has a few more surprises to come which will show just what a forward thinking festival this is. Boasting some of the biggest names in rock across the APOLLO and SATURN arena stages, which are considerately timed to ensure no clashes, and with an extended break planned between the end of BILL BAILEY’s set (to allow punters to recover from the stitches the comedy genius will inevitably leave them in) before the mighty SLIPKNOT take the stage. With more stages still to be announced, including more comedy, fantastic bands and other alternative performances, SONISPHERE KNEBWORTH 2011 is going to be simply unmissable, and with weekend tickets selling at an ever more rapid pace, is heading towards its first full sellout.
SONISPHERE KNEBWORTH takes place 8th – 10th July 2011 at KNEBWORTH HOUSE. For tickets and more info go to
Line Up So Far
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