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Last Updated: Friday, 9 May 2008, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Countdown to Big Weekend begins
Big Weekend
Revellers at 2005's Big Weekend in Sunderland

Fans are gearing up for Radio 1's Big Weekend with more than 30,000 festival-goers set to descend on Mote Park in Maidstone, Kent.

More than 500,000 people registered for tickets for the two-day event which will see Madonna top the bill for her first UK festival appearance.

Other acts joining the superstar on the Main Stage on Saturday include Usher with The Kooks headlining on Sunday.

Acts playing on the event's three other stages include Fatboy Slim and Editors.

Having a free festival like this through a lottery system makes a difference and it's a great little festival
Jon Fratelli
The Fratellis

Other acts playing on the Main Stage on Saturday will be The Fratellis, Duffy, Scouting For Girls and Robyn.

"Having a free festival like this through a lottery system makes a difference and it's a great little festival," said The Fratellis frontman Jon Fratelli.

"I think our manager broke some windows playing football last year so we'll bring a ball again and see what mayhem ensues."

On the In New Music We Trust Stage, which will play host to artists mainly heard on Radio 1's evening shows, Editors will go up against Madonna.

Further performances will come from The Futureheads, We Are Scientists, Foals and The Ting Tings.

The Mighty Boosh


"The last time we played it was in Sunderland in 2005 and that was a crazy day for us because it was in the middle of summer and, as soon as we arrived it started to hailstone," said Futureheads frontman Barry Hyde.

"It made Glastonbury look like Coachella.

"It was a soaked affair but it was an amazing gig and it was bit of a homecoming for us.

"We're really looking forward to playing again and it's a great little festival because it's held in unusual places. It's almost like the circus is coming to town."

Elsewhere, Fatboy Slim and Judge Jules will spin tunes at the dance-orientated Outdoor Stage.

And acts including west London trio White Lies and reggae crooner Natty will appear on the Introducing Stage - the best place at the festival to catch up-and-coming talent.

madonna
Madonna will be making her UK festival debut at the Big Weekend

The Kooks headline the Main Stage on the second day after performances by The Enemy, The Pigeon Detectives and Adele.

"Last year in Preston was amazing, it was one of the highlights of the year and it was just a really good vibe," explained The Enemy singer Tom Clarke.

"It was the first time we'd played in a tent that size and it kicked off proper for us."

Meanwhile, The Raconteurs, The Zutons, The Wombats and Hot Chip will all perform on the In New Music We Trust Stage on Sunday.

Zane Lowe will lead the DJ line-up on the Outdoor Stage.

The hotly-tipped Twisted Wheel and Outl4w will be among acts entertaining the crowds on the Introducing Stage.

Across the two days and four stages, fans will enjoy more than 50 UK and international artists alongside DJs.



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