The grounds of Knebworth House near the village of Knebworth in Hertfordshire, England has become a major venue for open air rock and pop concerts since 1974 when The Allman Brothers Band attracted 60,000 at the first large concert held at the venue.
Since then, the Knebworth Festival has been the scene of outdoor extravaganzas, featuring Pink Floyd (1975 & 1990), The Rolling Stones & Lynyrd Skynyrd (1976), Genesis (1978, 1990 & 1992), Frank Zappa (1978), Led Zeppelin (1979), Mike Oldfield & The Beach Boys (1980), Cliff Richard (1983 & 1990), Deep Purple (1985), Queen (1986), Status Quo (1986 & 1990), Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Elton John & Dire Straits (1990), Oasis (1996), Robbie Williams (2003) Sonisphere Festival (2009/2010/2011), Red Hot Chili Peppers (2012).
- In 1979, Led Zeppelin performed at Knebworth for two gigs, their first concerts in the United Kingdom since 1975. The band reportedly played to record crowds in excess of 200,000 people, even though official admission records 109,000 people. The New Barbarians, Ron Wood's solo outfit with Keith Richards played at the second show on 11 August.
- The 1985 event was the first UK gig by the re-formed Deep Purple.
- On 9 August 1986, Queen performed their last show with their classic line-up; the band did not perform live again until after the death of lead singer Freddie Mercury, at his tribute concert.
- On 30 June 1990, the park was the location for The Silver Clef Award Winners Concert which was recorded and released on DVD. It included the performance of artists including Pink Floyd, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Tears for Fears, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Ray Cooper, Robert Plant (with guest Jimmy Page), Status Quo and Phil Collins with Genesis.
- In 1996, Oasis, who were supported by The Charlatans, Kula Shaker, Manic Street Preachers, The Bootleg Beatles, The Chemical Brothers, Ocean Colour Scene and The Prodigy, played two shows with an audience of 150,000 per night. Over 2.6 million people applied for tickets for the shows, making it the largest ever demand for concert tickets in British history.
- In 2003, Robbie Williams performed at Knebworth over a three-day period, drawing crowds of over 375,000, and a further 3.5 million who watched live on television and online. This was reputedly the biggest UK pop concert ever and caused a huge traffic jam on the A1(M) as an estimated 130,000 cars tried to reach the venue. A subsequent album, entitled Robbie Williams – Live At Knebworth, was released, and reached number two in the UK charts. A DVD release followed.
- In 2009, Metallica and Linkin Park headlined the first ever UK Sonisphere Festival. Other bands included Nine Inch Nails and Heaven & Hell. The festival took place again in 2010 with Rammstein and Iron Maiden headlining plus performances from other big acts such as Alice Cooper, Iggy and the Stooges and Mötley Crüe. In 2011, the festival hosted the first UK performance of the Big 4 bands of thrash metal.
- Knebworth House website
- Knebworth Festival History 1974-1986