Sonisphere was an idea that started in 2009 of hosting a number of one, two or three day music festivals at different venues in Europe, with many, if not most, of the bands appearing at more than one country’s event. The focus is mainly on hard rock and punk. In its first year, there were six countries, including Spain, where the location was Parc del Forum in Barcelona, the same location used for the primarily alternative focused Primavera Sound. Metallica headlined, as they did at all of the other events, joined by Slipknot, Lamb of God and others.
But since that first edition, the Spanish Sonisphere has been held at Getafe Open Air in Madrid. In 2010, the line-up included Rammstein, Faith No More, Megadeth, Slayer and Alice in Chains, while last year’s headliners were Iron Maiden, Darkness and Slash, attended by 70,000 metalheads.
This year, Spain is once again hosting one of the events, while there are also Sonispheres in Poland (headlined by Metallica, Machine Head and Black Label Society), Switzerland (Metallica, Slayer, Motörhead), Finland (Metallica, Machine Head), France (Faith No More, Enabescence, Marilyn Manson) and at Knebworth in the UK (Kiss, Queen + Adam Lambert, Faith No More).
Friday May 25, 2012 Soundgarden, The Offspring, Limp Bizkit, Machine Head, Kyuss Lives!, Paradise Lost, Orange Goblin, Rise to Remain, Kobra and the Lotus, Skindred, Six Hour Sundown
Address: Calle de la Confianza, 4
Metro: Juan De la Cierva (L12, Metrosur)
Sonisphere happens in Getafe, a city of some 170,000 people located about 13km from Madrid city centre, but forming part of the same metropolitan mass and on the same public transport network. You’ve probably heard of it because of its football team, who are holding themselves quite nicely in the first division, and it is also home to one of Spain’s oldest military air bases and to the Cerro de los Angeles, a green area of trees and stuff, and also the location of the Monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. They say it’s the geographical centre of the Iberian Peninsula. The ‘cerro’ is also the place that for a couple of days is going be the geographical centre of hard rock.
First tip is to work out to pronounce the name of the bloody place. It doesn’t rhyme with ‘safe’. It’s something like “hair-ta-fair.” Well, that’s a close enough approximation in case you get lost. But you won’t. Assuming you’ve managed to make it to Madrid city centre, you can get to Getafe on the metro. Take L10, the dark blue one, which goes through the city centre and ride it right to the end (Puerta del Sur). This where you get what’s called the Metrosur, that circular bogey coloured line in the bottom left hand corner of the metro chart. You want to get off at Getafe Central or El Casar, and from there head east towards the motorway. You can also get to Getafe Central by taking the Atocha (Madrid) to Aranjuez train (C3).
Getting to the venue from the station will be simple enough – if there aren’t already enough people wearing leather jackets with Metallica on the back to follow, it should be well signposted, and you won’t need to speak Spanish to explain to anybody where you’re going if you get lost. It’ll be pretty obvious that you’re loooking for Sonisphere and all the locals will know perfectly well what it is. After all, it’s not every day your back yard is converted into a rock festival. You tend to notice these things going on.