So rock isn’t recession proof after all. Or maybe it is.

Maybe the fact that this year’s Sonisphere UK festival has fallen by the wayside is more to do with the below average line-up than a lack of money in the pocket – people will still pay for quality but Kiss, Queen and Faith No More never quite cut it as headliners. 

A few weeks ago we claimed that Download had won the festival battle and now it seems they’ve won the war. But it’s desperately disappointing that there isn’t room for both events to flourish in 2012.

During the past couple of years rock and metal fans have been spoilt for choice with just about every major act in the world rolling up at either Donington or Knebworth. And even if Queen with a new bloke on vocals, Kiss with another new album and FNM with a pledge to get things right this time around clearly didn’t cut the mustard that’s three huge bands now missing from the summer circuit.

That Download got in early with Metallica and Black Sabbath (even if doubts remain about the true identity of Sunday’s festival-closers) – and recovered from the heinous error of booking The Prodigy and Chase And Status by pulling together a blistering second stage bill on the Friday – clearly put Sonisphere on the back foot.

And as the Knebworth crew battled to pull together a credible line-up their arch rivals continued to roll out the big guns with Machine Head, Trivium, Soundgarden, Slash, Steel Panther, Anthrax, Megadeth and more bolstering the biggest rock and metal festival on the planet.

Put it this way: there was no contest as far as rushonrock is concerned. We booked our accommodation for Download weeks ago and rarely gave Sonisphere a second thought. It seems we weren’t alone.

It remains to be seen whether one of the best things to happen to rock and metal in the UK will be back for more in 2013. By then we could be out of a recession, fuel prices might have dropped and it might cost less to post out tickets and provide Brian May with his rider of Gregg’s pasties. Then again that might be it as far as Sonisphere UK is concerned and that would be a huge blow to the music we love.

Here’s the official statement from the organisers:

It is with very heavy hearts and much regret that we announce the cancellation of Sonisphere Knebworth 2012.

Putting the festival together in what is proving to be a very challenging year was more difficult than we anticipated and we have spent the last few months fighting hard to keep Sonisphere in the calendar. Unfortunately circumstances have dictated that we would be unable to run the festival to a standard that both the artists and that Sonisphere’s audience would rightly expect.

We want to express our deepest regrets to the artists and to thank all the staff, suppliers and contractors who worked so hard with us to try and pull off what has proven to be an impossible task and we know how much they share in our disappointment. We also want to send a huge thanks to the Sonisphere fans who stuck by us and we are so sorry that we can’t fulfil what we set out to do.

Ticket holders will automatically receive a full refund direct from their ticket agents.

Team Sonisphere.