AMERICAN superstars REM will headline this year's Oxegen, after singer Michael Stipe was deeply impressed when he visited the 2007 festival as a fan.
Stipe and his colleague Peter Buck both attended the Punchestown festival last year, where they watched several bands from the side of the stage.
They enjoyed themselves so much they will return as headliners on Saturday, July 12, the Irish Independent can reveal.
This year the festival will be a three-day event, with Kings of Leon topping the bill on the Friday, while the headliners on the Sunday night have yet to be announced.
Despite the mud-drenched conditions last year, the REM stars loved the festival and told promoters MCD they would come back and perform.
Stipe told friends that he had the time of his life and desperately wanted REM to perform there.
The band have also booked a 20-date tour of Europe between July and September and their new single, 'Supernatural Supercilious', will be released next week..
Promoters MCD are now describing this year's Oxegen as the "greatest rock 'n' roll weekend of the year".
It will run from July 11 to 13 and more acts will be announced over the coming months.
Festival-goers who have registered on the Oxegen website will have limited pre-sale access to tickets from Monday, March 3, at 8am, until 8pm on Thursday, March 6, subject to availability -- tickets will be limited to four per person.
Tickets will go on general sale on Friday, March 7, at 8am, with prices to be revealed in the coming weeks.
Keen to encourage festival-goers to make Oxegen as green as possible, organisers are urging fans to use public transport when travelling to the festival.
Dublin Bus and Marathon Travel will be providing transportation and shuttle services.
And all the usual attractions will again be available this year.
These will include the funfair -- complete with giant ferris wheel, rollercoasters and dodgems.
Revellers can also enjoy colourful circus performers, who will juggle, hula-hoop and walk on stilts around the site throughout the weekend.
The green campsite will be kitted out with yurts, podpads and teepees, so campers can turn up to a ready-made home for the weekend.
Campers in the red campsite also have the option of feeling refreshed every day with the welcome return of the hot showers.
Fans can visit the website -- www.oxegen.ie -- for full information on artists playing the festival this year.