Axl Rose declared "war" on the organizers of Britain's Reading and Leeds Festivals during Guns N' Roses' headlining slot on Sunday, August 29 amid claims their set was shortened for a second time. Festival bosses were under mounting pressure from police and local officials to ensure the gigs didn't over-run and the tardy rockers provoked fury at the Reading leg of the event on Friday, August 27 by taking to the stage an hour late, with organizers cutting the sound in a bid to force the band off.
Guitarist DJ Ashba claimed the festival's director, Melvin Benn, has long held a "grudge" against the band and Rose even threatened to cancel the band's Sunday slot at the twinned Leeds festival over the furore. Their Leeds set went ahead as planned, albeit 30 minutes later than scheduled, but during their performance the frontman told the crowd they were banned from continuing with an encore. He said, "We would like to play a few more songs for you tonight. But someone is telling us the show's over. This war ain't over yet."
But Benn has played down the feud, insisting he had to abide by the "clear rules" set out by officials. He tells NME, "I'd definitely book them again but I don't know if they'd come and play. I doubt I'll be getting a Christmas card from them, which is a shame because tonight was great. There are rules we have to abide by here in the U.K., they're very clear rules. It's not personal, I think the band are great. Why would I make it personal?"