Business News Gigs & Festivals Live Business Top Stories

Rose claims Reading delay not his fault

By | Published on Wednesday 1 September 2010

That Axl Rose fella has claimed that his band’s late arrival on the main stage at the Reading Festival on Friday night and Leeds Festival on Sunday was due to the late running of the event rather than any tardiness on his part.

Guns N Roses began their headline set at Reading over an hour late on Friday night, forcing organisers to come good on their threat to cut the gig short – though an extra half hour was negotiated, allowing the band to play past the festival’s supposedly strict 11.30pm curfew. Rose was not a happy chappy when Reading bosses cut the power to the main stage at midnight, lashing out at organisers as he tried to carry on with a megaphone.

Amid in-the-end untrue rumours that the band would pull out of their headline slot at the Leeds Festival as a result of the Reading debacle, Axl took to Twitter to call on festival bosses to apologise to his fans, while GnR’s tour guitarist DJ Ashba accused overall Reading/Leeds boss Melvin Benn of having a “personal vendetta” against the band relating to their last (also late) appearance at the Leeds Festival in 2002.

But, possibly aware that neither he nor his band had come out especially well from their run in with Benn and his team, Axl (or someone using his Twitter account) took to the net last night to issue an uncharacteristically literate (well, almost) and un-ranty statement. Said statement claims Guns N Roses stuck to the stage change-over times set out in their contract, and that the problem was that festival organisers did not give them access to the stage on time.

Axl’s statement reads: “Our start times at the Reading and Leeds festivals factually had nothing to do with us, as the previous bands (who were great, by the way) came off stage when they did and we went on within our contracted and documented changeover time period. Whatever other nonsense anyone’s choosing to write would appear intentionally false”.

He continues: “Having the fans or our show penalised for how the event was run, or simply the natural flow of events those evenings and for such minimal amount of overtime, along with distortions and falsehoods by media, the promoter and/or event organisers regarding the events seems a bit draconian and more than unfair to the fans. A simple question: If you are aware of our changeover time, the average length of our show and the general nature of how these types of festivals run, all of which are no big secrets… why book us?”

“Is it simply because the line-up on our nights at both festivals sold well? So it’s a cash grab with no respect for the fans or the band and somehow an unwanted inconvenience for the cities and law enforcement? If we’re not wanted and [are] just being used to line someone else’s pockets or for fictitious tabloid fodder at the fans and our expense we’re fine with going elsewhere. God forbid we would force ourselves on anyone. It’s not that kinda party”.

He goes on to imply that he wasn’t especially keen about playing Reading or Leeds in the first place, saying: “I didn’t organise, arrange, authorise, have knowledge of or was even consulted about our being booked for these shows til after the fact, nor did I choose to work with anyone I’m aware of other than our manager, who was involved in arranging these dates. Yet it would appear we’re amazingly often legally obligated to honour such arrangements whether against our will or better judgment. That’s simply and unfortunately how this business often works with the artist and [in my opinion] seems is legally supported to benefit managers, agents, promoters and ticket vendors”.

He concluded: “With how the fans and we were treated in the past I had what I feel were legitimate and now proven justified apprehensions. Yet we gave 100% and, from where we stood, it seemed as if the both the fans (who rocked!) and our camp were having fun and making the most of things. Why (and what would appear intentionally) risk having it go bad for everyone? [In my opinion,] that’s where true recklessness and negligence at both the fans and our expense would seem to be”.

So there you have it. Benn’s company Festival Republic have not, as yet, commented on Rose’s implications that their festival’s general late running caused Guns N Roses’ delayed arrival. Benn did previously say, however, that despite everything he thought Guns N Roses were the right headline act for his festival and that he’d happily book them again, though he conceded Axl probably wouldn’t accept such a booking (though given the above statement, Rose doesn’t seem to always get a veto).