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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
US stars get festival weekend rocking
Axl Rose of Guns 'n' Roses on stage during the Freddie Mercury tribute concert at Wembley, 1992
Guns 'n' Roses last played in the UK in 1993
US rock legends Guns 'n' Roses' first British concert for nine years will kick off a weekend of huge outdoor music festivals on Friday.

The band - known for 1980s hits like Paradise City and Sweet Child O' Mine - are headlining the first night of the Leeds music festival, which is expected to attract 50,000 people per day.

Ash receive award at Irish Music Awards
Ash drummer Rick McMurray (left) was injured in a bus crash
Music fans began pitching their tents at the site on Thursday, and have also been arriving for its sister event, the Reading Festival.

Both events will also see performances from dance-rock chart-toppers the Prodigy, contenders for the US guitar crown, The Strokes, and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl's band, the Foo Fighters.

But another of the big names, Ash, will not decide whether to make their scheduled appearances until Saturday following a bus crash in which their drummer was injured.

A third major rock festival, The Gig on the Green in Glasgow, is expected to attract 25,000 people per day when it begins on Saturday.

Bands playing at all three events include The Offspring, Slipknot, Pulp, The White Stripes and Feeder.

The Reading Festival 2001
The Reading Festival will attract 80,000 people
Guns 'n' Roses - who are only playing at the Leeds show - have not played in the UK since 1993, when they were one of the biggest bands in the world.

They have not had a chart hit since 1995, but will return to the recording studio after their current worldwide festival and arena dates to finish a new album, Chinese Democracy.

Reading is the most established ot the three, and the first of the 80,000 expected fans began streaming into the city on Thursday as police stepped up patrols to thwart opportunist robberies and attacks.

The country's biggest trade union, Unison, will use the festival to promote their campaign against increased use of private firms in the running of public services.

'Best yet'

Giant stilt-walkers hired by the union will spread the message of opposition to "creeping privatisation".

A spokesman for Reading Borough Council said: "This year's festival looks the best yet and we will be on hand to make sure everyone has a really good time."

The Leeds leg was almost forced to change venue after the local council blocked its licence, but that decision was overturned by magistrates.

Organisers of the Glasgow event revised attendance expectation down from 35,000 to 25,000 because of slow ticket sales due to the lack of a major international star.


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22 Aug 02 | Entertainment
20 Aug 02 | Scotland
24 Jul 02 | Entertainment
29 Apr 02 | Entertainment
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