DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL 2022 – THE BIG REVIEW!

Photo credit: Ⓒ Beth Miller for Download Festival

WELL THEN. Three whole years since the last proper Download Festival. Yeah yeah there was the Pilot last year, but it’s not the same. This is it, this is the return. Was it triumphant? Let’s discuss.

Donington Park opens its doors for the hoardes of giddy metalheads on Thursday, with the newly situated campsites filling from West Carpark quickly. Let’s have a moment for the new site layout; the campsites are now located considerably closer to the arena (they used to be at the opposite end of the racetrack) and the arena is accessed by travelling through the brand new Village area which is now on hard-standing.

There are a few things to note about this arrangement though. If you’ve managed to park in West Carpark, you are indeed only a shortish walk to your camping. However, once this is full the East and North Carparks are utilized and they are predictably – on the other side of the racetrack, a journey of epic proportions to your campsite. I suppose the question is, would you rather walk further to the arena every day, or have to cart all your camping stuff further on the way in and on the way out?

It must also be noted that whilst quiet camping does still exist, they’ve chosen to back the brand new (and considerably larger) Doghouse stage onto it. With music going on until 3am, it seems sort of redundant but hey, hopefully you brought earplugs.

The Village itself is a thing of beauty. Despite this being a rare good weather Download rather than a washout, it really is just such a good move to have the entire place on a tarmac surface. Immediately as you enter the area there is an enormous pop-up Co-Op selling practically everything you might need for the weekend, including fairly priced crates of beer and the cheeky sandwich meal deal which costs about a third of the price of a soggy burrito from the arena. Even for non-campers this is a short walk from the arena to keep your costs down, and I think its really important to stress that this is a great way of ensuring that people aren’t entirely priced out of coming to this festival, when food and drink prices seem set to continue to rise exponentially.

As for entertainment, this year we have an entire arcade replete with coin machines and Dance Dance Revolution, as well as the traditional fairground rides such as minor-whiplash-dodgems and possibly-the-worst-ghost-train-in-the-world. The new Doghouse is the real MVP though, a huge square post-apocalyptic shipping container park with a stage and a bar. It’s worth noting that this whole move really improves accessibility for everyone. RIP and Disability Camping guests are no longer miles from the night-time action, and the tarmac makes getting there much easier, a huge step towards making Download a much more inclusive festival.

For morning people you can give yourself a boost by joining in with some Rockfit, frame trampolining or rock aerobics – flashback to Download’s at-home content during Lockdown in 2020. In the evenings there’s stand up comedy in The Sidesplitter, and then the infamous Doghouse clubnights returning with a bang. I must give a mention here to Thursday night’s Punk Rock Factory who honestly I’d love to see hitting up the main arena next year, a punk Disney cover band. There is just something joyous about seeing a group of big burly dudes belting out songs from Encanto, truly they absolutely slap, and seemed to have the full support of a packed Doghouse.

Aside from this we also have another attempt at implementing a cashless festival, thankfully without a return to the RFID fiasco of a previous Download, though it does seem most of the shops are still accepting cash regardless. We also have renamed stages for 2022 – Apex and Opus in place of various previous names such as Lemmy and Dio, but let’s face it, everyone calls them Main and Second anyway.

Friday

It’s Friday, the gates are open and the sun is shining. Not packing a raincoat feels absolutely reckless for this festival, but the weather app assures me that everything will be ok so sun-cream it is. As seasoned Download goers, we head straight for a merch tent because everyone knows they can and absolutely will sell out of stuff. As per usual nothing has changed and there are simply too few staff to appropriately manage the volume of people queuing, and we wait a solid hour and a half to get our stuff. I think I’ve said this in every review but really, just drop more staff on for the first day, I beg.

The merch options are outstanding though, apart from the regular tshirts and such, there is a plethora of weird shit you can buy and I am HERE FOR IT. Download Monopoly for campsite mornings? Got you covered. Cafetiere and laser engraved wooden cups? No problem. We also love the fully embroidered denim jacket, the extremely handy new tote bags, and of course the plushie deranged Download Dog. There’s also a whole section for babies/kids which is nice, considering there seem to be a lot more of them in attendance this year. Mini metalheads everywhere you look – this is the next gen, teach them well.

Luckily the queue for said merchandise is situated right alongside the hill-top Dogtooth Stage, where we manage to catch a sweaty but brilliant set from The Scratch. Acoustic Irish folk music overlayed with heavy metal and a dedication to getting the crowd involved, makes for a unique and undeniably fun experience. Yelling “…if you’re really confused about what we’re doing, that’s fine, we’re confused as well… but we can still have fun” the band really sum up how it is to watch their show. I would absolutely go and see them again.

Over to Kris Barras on the Opus stage for some melodic rock and roll in the sunshine, playing bluesy summery riffs to a huge crowd. It’s perfect beer-drinking, feel good summer music that makes you feel like you’re in an 80’s TV show driving the Sunset Strip.

Skynd’s unique ‘true crime’ industrial rock sound is testament to the expansion of genre Download have been working towards over the last few years, something a little unusual and interesting, with songs named after infamous death events. Skynd’s unusual vocal style ranging from effeminate cheerleader-esque chanting to deep rasping creep is really something different, and sets the tone for how many new and challenging female artists we’re about to see this weekend.

Bury Tomorrow pull off a convincing enough set, but hero vocalist Myles Kennedy over on the Opus stage is just beyond compare – I genuinely believe he’s one of the best rock voices of all time. Dead Poet Society on the Dogtooth stage play to a jammed tent, and even spend a little time after their set taking photos with fans.

Firmly established Download regulars Black Veil Brides are tearing up the Apex stage to a mass of sweaty face-paint melting goths and some early crowd-surfers, but it’s Skindred who take the crown for band of the day with their energetic and powerful set. Whilst it’s true that we see them pretty much every year at least once, they never seem to disappoint. Benji always has a fun outfit, this time a lightning bold studded red leather set with a plumed hat, and they roll through a mix of old and new making sure to hit the highs of ‘Pressure’ and ‘Nobody’, as well as joking around with extremely British singsongs of “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”. “2 years without any fucking music” as Benji puts it, is enough time for everyone to get really amped up for ‘Kill The Power’ in which they also voice support for Ukraine, and a right old rowdy Newport Helicopter of windmilling tshirts during ‘Warning’. Oh Skindred, we’ve missed you.

Photo credit: Ⓒ James Bridle for Download Festival

Over on the Opus stage, the Aussies are at it again. Reckless wonders Airborne, who were once lambasted by security for climbing the stage rigging at Download sans harness – for shits and gigs, yell out “…if we’re still here, and you’re still here, metal still exists…”. Which when you consider their death-wish antics, is perhaps not the most solid flex.

A Day To Remember blast punky metal across the main stage area as the sun shines, before Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes take on the Opus stage with their classic punk rock sounds and social commentary. Frank, ever the cheeky chap shouts out “Moment of silence for all the bands that we just murdered” before clambering out onto the shoulders of fans to continue singing.

In a bold but timely statement Frank says “This is a ladies and non-binary only moshpit for this song. Fellas on the sidelines, protect this space. This is a safe space for those people to have a good time without getting groped or punched. For too long rock and roll has been unequal. I’m sorry I didn’t have the mindset to do this sooner, in 10 years time I promise you this will be a very different space for our children”. Whilst this may be somewhat performatory in practice (it’s one song in a weekend of bands), it does send a message that people are listening and beginning to take notice of what female and NB metal fans have been saying for years. Though generally pit-etiquette is known to be good at Download, it’s really refreshing to see how the festival is evolving into a more inclusive space for everyone to enjoy the music.

Frank also takes a jab with “This song is about Rishi [Sunak] telling me to get a fucking job. I’ve got two you bastard, how many am I supposed to have?” as massive ticker-tape explosions flutter over the crowd. It’s been an interesting set, and I’m all for artists using their platform to highlight important issues – it’s punk’s legacy.

After hitting up the legendary Bunnymans Bunnychow for dinner (South African firey chilli shoved into half a loaf of bread, the stuff of festival dreams) the Apex hill is filling up in anticipation of tonight’s headliner KISS.

The stage is draped with an enormous KISS banner, the sides flanked with KISS ARMY insignias, and the roof a hive of ring shaped lighting like something from sci-fi. Giant inflatable metallic effigies of the band members stand either side of the stage, blowing in the wind threatening to squash the puny worshippers below. As a tape begins to roll on the screens, of the band making their way through dressing rooms and corridors to get to the stage, I can’t help but giggle. We’re in a field, miles from anything solid, with only tents and tour buses back there. It’s all part of the KISS schtick though isn’t it.

“You wanted the best, you got the best!” yells Paul Stanley, aka The Starchild as a rain of sparkly pyro falls from the centre of the stage and the banner is dropped. As usual, they are dressed to the nines in, well, quite possibly bigger than nine-inch platform shoes and their signature shiny glam get-up – and there’s a part of me watching this, that is just a bit sad that nothing comes after this. We won’t witness this level of ridiculousness again, it’s an ending era. KISS are known for keeping it strictly performance. They have a script and they rarely step outside of it, which is professional I guess, if a little wooden sometimes. “This song is about putting something in your mouth…” comes before they drop into ‘Lick It Up’ but it’s the same sentence we heard last time we saw them here. I’m not sure whether I enjoy this from a nostalgia perspective – like re-watching your favourite movie when you feel down – or if I wish they’d break character just once, for this one final time.

‘Calling Dr Love’ is followed by ‘Tears Are Falling’ and then the more recent ‘Psycho Circus’ pulls up to a long drum solo from The Cat, who is raised up onto a giant platform. Presumably giving the other band members a much needed breather. I don’t hate it, it isn’t obscenely long… but the following instrumental really is. The solo is another thing from an older time, new bands don’t do it, or it’s a few seconds while someone grabs a drink. Another nail in the coffin of what it meant to be a headliner.

Luckily the band put on a great show regardless, Gene Simmons bleeding from the mouth whilst flapping his monumentally long tongue is an image burned into the rock retina for life. Jamming his iconic axe shaped bass whilst high up on a platform amongst the mysterons covered in images of his own face… you can’t get more Gene than that really.

“It’s the last time we’re gonna be together… and because it’s the last time, I’m gonna come out there and be with you. But you have to invite me… count to three and say my name…” calls Stanley, despite the fact that this is precisely the same way it went down the last time they played here, which obviously many of the fans remember all to well. Regardless, it is really fun to see him whizz from the stage to the sound tent on a circus ring zip wire to play ‘Love Gun’, and the epic ‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’, amongst the sparkly light of a giant projected disco ball.

Closing out with three song encore, the end finally comes with ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’. Big inflatable KISS branded beach balls are thrown into the crowd, ticker tape explosions go off, and fireworks erupt from the top of the stage as they lament “We’re gonna miss you so much, we bow to you. It’s so special every time we come here”. Now, plenty of bands have said it’s their ‘final show’ before (cough, Aerosmith, cough Black Sabbath). KISS have been one of them… over 19 times according to Steve Tyler. This time though, it really does seem like they’re done. Some of the vibrancy was missing, it was too rehearsed.

It’s testimony to their skill as musicians and performers that the show was still great, and I will be forever sad that my child won’t get to remember seeing one of, if not the most iconic bands in the world, but maybe it is time to open the gates for new things. KISS have done thousands of gigs, sold millions of records and have the weirdest and most diverse collection of merch on this earth (KISS condoms anyone?) so… fair play to them. I’m glad I was here for the last show… probably.


SATURDAY

Opening the Apex stage this morning are The Raven Age, good hearty metal despite the thin arena at this time, but Cassyette edges them out as the Opus stage opener with an absolutely huge crowd. Swinging her long blonde Pippi Longstocking braids as she thrashes around the stage, you can see exactly why she’s been booked – what a bloody epic voice. Again, it’s awesome to see more women hitting the big stages at Download this year, and absolutely smashing it. Those Damn Crows keep the vibe going, but there’s definitely an element of crowd fatigue in this heat – us pasty Brits are just crap at sunshine.

Sheffield lads Malevolent come in with their full force, pulling out all the stops in their exceptionally heavy set. “This goes out to anyone who has ever told you, you can’t do something because of how you look or who you are” says frontman Alex Taylor, before they muster up three massive circle-pits in the crowd.

Ice Nine Kills may have a bit of a gimmicky schtick when it comes to band theme, rocking up in suits to mimic American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman, these guys are a self-professed Horror Metal band. However, there is nothing gimmicky about their musical talent, these guys absolutely kill it – if you can excuse the pun. Yeah sure they have some Alice Cooper-esque snuff theatre going on, stage knives and a creepy clown… but I defy anyone to try not to join in with the likes of ‘Hip To Be Scared’ and ‘The American Nightmare’. They’ve gone straight to the top of my post-Download playlist.

Photo credit: Ⓒ  Sam McMahon for Download Festival

Black Label Society, owners of very lush hair, gather a huge crowd at the Apex stage. With Zakk Wylde’s signature sound resonating across the arena, this just feels like peak Download. There are so many memories tied to that sound at this event. Later Shinedown absolutely tear it up, yelling “Ladies and Gentlemen, we made it, we are here and we’re all alive” and treating us to the hits we want to hear ‘Second Chance’ and ‘Cut The Cord’. The “Freedom” refrain really has some topical context for this crowd, after a couple of years of strict lockdowns and Covid worries.

Deftones are predictably great but we’ve been round the block a few times and I’m really only in it for ‘My Own Summer’ at this point, so it’s time to take a walk around the site and grab some food. One thing I really want to mention is that the quality of stuff you can buy from Download shops is actually really exciting. You can grab your next pair of skate trainers for a fraction of the cost of online stores, get hold of some unusual patches for your battle jacket, and there’s the likes of Mysticum Luna selling some  beautiful jewellery. If that’s not your jam, you can queue up in the morning to book yourself a tattoo slot at Old Sarum – I wonder how many people now have a Download Dog tattoo?

On the Opus stage Megadeth have the most ridiculous set of mega-stacked amps (there is no way at least half of those aren’t just for show, come on now) and Funeral For A Friend are bringing back those nostalgic emo kid vibes on The Avalanche stage. Sepultura play to a bursting at the seams Dogtooth tent, it’s hot, it’s heavy, it’s everything it should be – I just wish I could get further into the tent than the gate.

Looking at the arena tonight, it’s pretty clear there are a lot of day-ticket holders here specifically for this. It’s twice as packed as last night, people shoulder to shoulder right to the back of the hill and spilling out both sides around the sound tent. To say Iron Maiden are an institution at Donington would be putting it mildly. We’ve been waiting three years for this, let’s go.

As the traditional UFO ‘Doctor Doctor’ heralds them onto the stage, we take our first look at the set up for this ‘Legacy of The Beast’ tour, which centres on Japanese/Shinobi imagery due to their newest released ‘Senjutsu’. The stage is all green-roofed pagodas, Nikko’s brand new drum set is covered in the beautiful album artwork, and as the band take the stage we note that Bruce has gone full top-knot presumably in a nod to the theme. Rocking some almost spray-on leather pants (he does it better than Ross Geller though) Bruce is immediately and unwaveringly as brilliant as ever. If you think there’s a more iconic vocalist in metal I can’t hear you over the sound of Bruce belting the living shit out of ‘The Writing On The Wall’. You’d think after 34 years playing here, and the 7th inning as headliners, that something would eventually dip… the speed, the sound quality, the theatricality, the energy. No. Not our Iron Maiden. They are the lifeblood of this festival and all those before it on this hallowed ground, and they truly sound better than ever.

Eddie makes a surprisingly early appearance dressed as a Samurai, in order to go about executing the band members with a giant katana, and Bruce quips “You alright? That was bit fucking casual… you alright?” as the crowd warms up a bit from their viewing stupor. If you haven’t seen Maiden before, it’s a lot to take in. If you have, it’s a lot to take in.

Multiple set changes are expected with Maiden for sure, but wow is it slick tonight. Using curtain structures to create background sets means they basically drop away in seconds to be replaced by another – something that really just adds to the magic of their show. This next one is a full on church, replete with stained glass windows and flaming chandeliers.

Calling out “The last three years of all our lives, has been largely fucking shit. In this field is where it fucking stops. We’re one big family, the Maiden family. We don’t care what colour, size or anything you are… you are our Blood Brothers” they drop headfirst into the anthem. Not to get too corny, but there is something so uplifting, so uniting about hearing this after the hard couple of years we’ve just been through.

Now, Bruce has always been known to be a bit… extra. But tonight he really doubles down, in a floaty veiled cape, he capers about the stage brandishing a giant disco cross for ‘The Sign of The Cross’ and then in a bonkers turn of events, trying to brandish a Ghostbusters style dual flamethrower, AND his mic beneath an enormous winged angel for ‘Flight of Icarus’.

Fear of The Dark has always been my favourite, since I saw Maiden for the very first time at the very first Download festival in 2003. My friend lifted me up from our spot 10 or so rows from the front, so that I could look across the crowd at the sea of lights. At that time it was proper lighters, not blue phone screens, and it is one of my most magical memories. Tonight, I was watching from the side, much further back, with my 2 year old daughter – doing a small cry, thinking about how grateful I am to be back here, after everything, and it was perfect.

‘Hallowed Be They Name’, ‘The Number of The Beast’ and the eponymous ‘Iron Maiden’ are just beyond reproach, it’s ridiculous how Iron Maiden manage to gut punch us every time, they just get into your bones. There’s a giant inflatable beast Eddie… everyone is singing, everyone is headbanging, everyone thinks they’re in the band too… “Scream for me Donington!” elicits the monumental roar of thousands of metal fans in their element.

The stage lights dip, but no-one moves an inch. The encore is spectacular, with Bruce admitting “Wish I was down there with you, it’s fucking cold up here” into the amazingly clear moonlight night, before donning the signature Redcoat and flag for ‘The Trooper’, and the return of Eddie for a duel.

‘The Clansman’ (another chance to yell FREEDOM into the sky) and ‘Run To The Hills’ are magnificent, but there’s nothing quite like the closing gem ‘Aces High’ complete with a fucking massive Spitfire flying, in my opinion, terrifyingly close to their heads, on stage. Bruce gives it his full force, rocking a flying cap and goggles as the band wheel around the stage delivering the most powerful, energetic performance you can imagine. They are just such pros, I genuinely don’t know what we’ll do when they finally call time. With their outro of Monty Python’s ‘Always Look on the bright side of life’, there is a collective sigh and we all begin to leave the arena. The hour plus queue to leave the car-park tells you that everyone stayed for this, what a bloody amazing night.

SUNDAY

Kicking things off for today at the Apex stage are homegrown electro-rock duo Wargasm, who sponsor a pretty brutal circle pit for so early in the morning. Two guys dressed as bananas are gleefully smashing into each other, as Milkie Way kicks and screams her way through the excellently named ‘D.R.I.L.D.O’ and ‘Backyard Bastards’. A live debut of ‘Fukstar’ and an N*E*R*D cover of ‘Lapdance’ also go down well with the crowd.

Photo credit: Ⓒ Sam McMahon for Download Festival

On the Dogtooth stage, drag artist Bimini serves us a fucking stunning outfit and an equally fun mash up of The Prodigy’s ‘Breathe’ and Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ gone metal. It’s very very weird, and I like it. “This is my first festival… You know what, we’re a queer fucking band, and we’re gonna fuck it up” they say, with new music being debuted ‘Don’t Fuck With My Groove’ which is undeniably outside of what we are used to hearing at Download. A cover of Peaches sends us over the edge, I want to see Bimini bring a bigger, more extravagant show next time. Spotted in the Bimini crowd: Zoe London, having an excellent time!

We’ve decided to sit down and have some lunch at the main stage, which means catching Alestorm today. Somewhat unwillingly. If you haven’t heard about their recent controversy over leaked group chat messages which highlight some pretty stark racism and misogyny – just take it from us, it was not ok. These messages were authenticated/claimed by lead singer Chris Bowes at the time, and apologized for, but when you’ve been talking about competitions to see who can sleep with the most barely legal fans on tour… it’s gonna fuck up your reputation as a fairly wholesome fun band.

It’s actually a bit of a surprise that they were still booked for Download following this. There’s a bit of a disconnect between what looks like the purposeful move to give more female artists stage time, and having Alestorm back on the bill. Between bands Download has opted for screen messages about consent and respect all weekend, a purposeful effort towards changing the culture of festivals and making them safe for everyone – which I fully endorse and applaud. So yeah… it’s strange.

They’re on stage anyway, giant inflatable duck in tow, yelling “We’re only here to have fun” and while there is a decent crowd, it’s markedly less than I would expect them to pull at this festival. They play their hits (indistinguishably all about drinking, it’s the schtick) ‘Mexico’ and ‘Fucked With An Anchor’ to a sea of crowd surfers, but there’s definitely a flatness to the performance compared to other times we’ve seen them. Around us a lot of people are looking unimpressed, and it’s probably not just to do with the show.

Conversely, The Hara absolutely rip it up on the Avalanche stage, with their really interesting tech fuelled set. As a three-piece alt rock outfit, I did not expect their sound to be so complex, but with all the extra electronic fills, it is a serious sucker punch. I totally expect to see more of them at Download in the future.

Rise against are coming back with a new album, but the familiar punk-rock feels we love, “…this is a song about what we’ve all been doing the last two years… it’s called Survive” and closing ‘Saviour’ in the sunshine is just bringing us all happiness as we sing along.

Over on the Opus stage, Baroness as expected put on a fantastic show, and on the Apex stage Volbeat give us what we want with ‘Lola Montez’ and ‘Still Counting’ as well as their cutesy ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ Dusty Springfield cover.

Up next Korn give a blistering performance worthy of a headline slot, Jonathan Davis careening about the stage in leather pants is giving us the big 90’s nostalgia. There are bagpipes, there’s a snippet of ‘We Will Rock You’ in ‘Coming Undone’, they serve up ‘Falling Away From Me’ and ‘Freak On A Leash’ at an eardrum bursting level. It’s such an energetic performance, mirrored in the sheer number of crowdsurfers who are heading towards the front, and it seems like the whole crowd is into it.

Photo credit: Ⓒ David Dillon for Download Festival

Steel Panther are divisive. They started off as a joke band… but they have some catchy hits… they’re clearly joking… but the type of jokes they make are tired and largely misogynistic…

Yelling “That crowd reaction was pretty good for a Hoobastank concert” garners a laugh from only those old enough to know who Hoobastank are, but the zebra leggings and 80’s hair never fails to make me smile. “England is my second home. I speak the language. My Grandma is from here in Leicester, she used to cook for the whole family… crystal meth” is exactly what we expect from them, as well as their penchant for pulling ladies from the audience to dance with them. They do in fact have 17 girls for ’17 Girls In A Row’, and they are joined by guest Justin Hawkins of The Darkness – who just played the other stage – for ‘Party All Day’. ‘Asian Hooker’ and ‘Death To All But Metal’ are meant to be silly, but that’s part of the charm – it’s possibly the most packed this stage has been all weekend.

So, right up front I have to note going into this headline review, that the arena is stunningly under-filled already. You can basically walk to the front in a couple of minutes from either side. This shouldn’t happen for headliners.

Scot-rock stalwarts Biffy Clyro are no strangers to Download Festival, having headlined here in 2017. Given the fact that we’ve been in Covid central for a couple of years, this actually feels more recent than the five years it has actually been. There’s no doubt that the band are musically brilliant, and the stage set up is impressive in its own way, but perhaps overshadowed by the previous two nights of high production headline sets.

The hometown crowd is representing at the front with giant Scottish flags flying, and ‘Wolves of Winter’ is a soaring masterpiece which absolutely deserves a place here. Yelling “We’ve waited three years for this, I know you have too. It’s wonderful to be back together again” frontman Simon Neil is clearly having an excellent time up there, but I can’t help but see the crowd is thinning even further. I wonder if they can see this from up there, and feel a little sad for them.

‘Space’ and ‘Bubbles’ come before an encore of ‘The Captain’, ‘Cop Syrup’ and ‘Many of Horror’ – all of which are performed beautifully and confidently, but it obviously isn’t hitting with a huge proportion of the Download crowd who are opting to be elsewhere. The band finish up with a set of stage top fireworks, but it’s not the crowning finale it should have been for this, the triumphant return of Download festival. If Download wants to sell enough tickets next year, those headliners had better be closer aligned to the main formula than Biffy were this weekend.

In other entertainments, The Doghouse is bumping for another few hours yet with the likes of Lais MW & Lauren Cornelius serving up fun bouncy mixes and Limp Bizkit dance renditions. Here we’ll leave everyone to the wild abandon of the final night at camp.

Round-up

So what did we think of Download festival 2022?

Firstly, we were served an unusual dose of good fortune with the weather being dry. This festival is no joke when it’s wet, so it was nice to not have to think about boots and raincoats this year. The new site changes are a huge step in the right direction to making this festival more inclusive and accessible, as well as just generally better for everyone. It would be great to see some companies like Vodafone with their Haptic suits there, to deliver unique experiences of the music to deaf fans in the Download audience in the future.

There were a lot more kids this time around – a lot of lockdown babies and toddlers in attendance, which yes, changes the vibe a little sure, but ultimately this music is for everyone – and that includes parents without childcare options. There’s nothing like indoctrinating the youth into metal anyway.

In the news following the festival it has sadly been reported that two men have died (in unconnected incidents) and police are appealing to contact a man who had helped one of them. Contact details can be found on the BBC website if you have any information. The deaths are not being considered suspicious at this time, our thoughts go out to them and their families.

Next year is the huge 20th anniversary of Download and Andy Copping has stated that all headliners have been booked already – an unusual feat. The anticipation and anxiety over who it will be is already gut wrenching. With a lot of the big legacy bands shutting up shop, I simply can’t imagine how this will play out, but for myself – I’m hoping for a Rammstein return, and the yet-to-play rock legends Pearl Jam.

I’d also like to mention that every staff and security member we came across this weekend was friendly, helpful and genuinely nice. It really makes a difference to how smoothly the weekend runs. On top of that, the general effort into turning Download into a more green space, and a more diverse space is really good to see. It’s time for the rock and metal scene to evolve into something more inclusive – and I don’t think Download loses any of its integrity as one of the worlds’ best rock festivals by doing so.

In summation, this weekend has been characterised by a return to familiarity, pure joy and a feeling of freedom. There has been something intensely healing about being back at Donington, for a lot of people I spoke to over the weekend. It has indeed been three years of shit, but thanks in part to Download Festival – I feel like I’m on the road to recovery. Roll on the big anniversary in 2023, see you there!

BLOODSTOCK 2022 LAUNCHESWITH 17 BANDS ANNOUNCED!

With BLOODSTOCK 2021 well under way, the festival is thrilled to already be looking ahead and announcing a swathe of bands for the 2022 event, which is set to take place on 11th-14th August 2022 at Catton Park, Derbyshire.  

Headlining one of our days (tbd) on the Ronnie James Dio main stage will be mighty groove metal overlords, LAMB OF GOD! Frontman Randy Blythe tells us “It’s been way too long since we’ve rocked the festivals of Merry Olde – what better way to announce our return than a headliner slot at BLOODSTOCK? Until then, pack your wellies and stay safe, England – LAMB OF GOD (and Roger Brilliant) will see you Summer 2022!” In the meantime, remind yourself of their awesomeness with this video of ‘Walk With Me In Hell’ from their 2013 debut BLOODSTOCK headline set. 

Saturday’s main stage headliner will be the previously announced, King Diamond-fronted, heavy metal icons MERCYFUL FATE, who roll over a year after global issues prevented their appearance at this year’s festival. The band tell us; “MERCYFUL FATE comes to BLOODSTOCK…this will be a dangerous meeting you don’t want to miss. King Diamond says, “This time we are going to bring the Devil himself.”   

The remaining main stage headliner is yet to be revealed. Stay tuned!  Also landing main stage slots across the weekend are PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS playing their Pantera set, DIMMU BORGIR, TESTAMENT, EXODUS, BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, GWAR (in a UK festival exclusive), BURY TOMORROW, SACRED REICH, LIFE OF AGONY, BUTCHER BABIES, VIO-LENCE, and BLOODYWOOD.  

Over on the Sophie Lancaster stage, headlining Thursday night are THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA and closing out Sunday night will be STATIC X, in their only UK show of 2022. Also landing a slot across the weekend are HEATHEN

Stay tuned for more band announcements soon and check out the first 2022 trailer here. Early bird weekend camping tickets are available at the on-site box office across the duration of the 2021 event, then will go on sale online at 9am Monday 16th August, priced at £135 (+ bkg fee) from the ticket store, as well as Serpents Lair VIP tickets, child tickets, and camper van passes (which always sell out very quickly, so don’t snooze if you’re after one). 
BLOODSTOCK will take place at Catton Park, Derbyshire on 11th-14th August 2022.
For more info, click to www.bloodstock.uk.com

BLOODSTOCK KICKS OFF 2020 BY ANNOUNCING SEVEN BANDS INCLUDING HATEBREED, BURY TOMORROW, SYLOSIS, AND MORE

What better than some line-up news from BLOODSTOCK, to banish your January blues and help pass the time to pay day! As we boldly go into 2020, here are seven more bands to whet your appetite for the UK’s best metal weekender.
BLOODSTOCK is delighted to announce that Sunday’s headliner on the Sophie Lancaster stage will be none other than Connecticut bruisers HATEBREED. Jamey Jasta & crew certainly know how to get a pit going and are sure to round out the weekend in pulverising fashion! The group spent the latter part of 2019 working on new music for the follow-up to their crushing 2016 album ‘The Concrete Confessional’ and are promising a new album via Nuclear Blast in the spring! While you’re waiting, warm up your neck with this 2016 banger, ‘Looking Down The Barrel Of Today’, here.
Performing at BLOODSTOCK for the very first time, are BURY TOMORROW. The British metalheads release new album ‘Cannibal’ via Music For Nations in April, so you have ‘til August to learn the new songs to bang your head to! Get started with its title track here. They said, “We’re really excited! BLOODSTOCK are known for showcasing the best bands in the genre, so we’re genuinely honoured to be involved in 2020, see you in August!” The group will be appearing on the Ronnie James Dio main stage on Saturday, promoting the previously announced PARADISE LOST with their ‘Draconian Times’ set to special guests that day.
Also landing a spot on the main stage on Saturday, are home-grown, heavy metal beasts SYLOSIS, last setting foot on BLOODSTOCK’s hallowed ground way back in 2010. The Nuclear Blast signed group drop their long awaited new album ‘Cycle Of Suffering’ next month. Wrap your eyes and ears around the lead track ‘I Sever’ here (and if that’s not enough, head over to their Facebook for another new track they debuted just last week).
Joining them, BLOODSTOCK welcomes Portland, Oregon thrashers TOXIC HOLOCAUST. After a six year wait, patient fans were rewarded with new album ‘Primal Future: 2019’ last October, with the band’s frontman Grind recording all the instruments on it harking back to their early days. Watch the lyric video for ‘Chemical Warfare’ from that album here.
Over on the Sophie Lancaster stage on Saturday, don’t miss the return of atmospheric black metal squad WINTERFYLLETH. While they’ve been working on new material, in September they released live CD/DVD ‘The Siege Of Mercia’, for which the DVD footage was filmed at BLOODSTOCK in 2017! They add, “We have been fortunate enough to have been asked back to perform at the festival on a number of occasions since our early days, and it has always felt like ‘coming home’ when we do.” See the video for ’The Swart Raven (Live At Bloodstock) here.
Californian deathgrind merchants EXHUMED will also appear on Sophie Lancaster stage this year. Formed way back in 1990, the band now have eight albums under their belt to choose the set list from! Watch the video for the song ‘Naked, Screaming, And Covered In Blood’ from their latest Relapse Records album ‘Horror’ here. The song title is not a suggestion of how to watch their set.
Last but certainly not least, Californian three-piece NECROT will be bringing their blend of death metal/punk to the Sophie stage. The group closed out 2019 on a 6-week tour of the USA with EXHUMED! Not familiar with NECROT yet? Courtesy of record label Tankcrimes, you can play their latest album ‘Blood Offerings’ in its entirety here.
Just for a bit of fun to help any of you with January gym resolutions, BLOODSTOCK alumni Venom Prison have created BLOODSTOCK and Heavy Metal Lifting Club a special workout playlist on Spotify. Blast it out here.
BLOODSTOCK’s very popular ticket deposit scheme is now up and running, allowing you to spread your standard weekend ticket purchase over 5 instalments. You can sign up at any time until February 28th and will make your first payment of £29 + booking fees straight away. After that, payments break down as follows: Payment 2 – £29.00 (debited on 27/03/20), Payment 3 – £29.00 (debited on 27/04/20), Payment 4 – £29.00 (debited on 26/05/20), and then your Final Payment – £29.00 + postage (debited on 26/06/20). Please note VIP and child tickets are not eligible for the deposit scheme. Get tickets at the ticket store.
Unsure what to expect? Watch a trailer all about BLOODSTOCK here.
BLOODSTOCK’s 2020 main stage headliners are DEVIN TOWNSEND (Friday), BEHEMOTH (Saturday), and JUDAS PRIEST (Sunday). The festival also welcomes PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS, SKINDRED, PARADISE LOST, LIFE OF AGONY, BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, DIAMOND HEAD, JINJER, VIO-LENCE, SACRED REICH, GLORYHAMMER, DARK TRANQUILITY, BUTCHER BABIES, CATTLE DECAPITATION, BLOODYWOOD, MEMORIAM, RAMAGE INC, GREEN LUNG, BOSSK, CONJURER, ORANGE GOBLIN, THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA, UNLEASH THE ARCHERS, and SAXON so far. Many more bands performing over the weekend will be announced in due course.

DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 36 MORE BANDS

JANE’S ADDICTION, NOFX, SIXX:A.M., BURY TOMORROW,

PERIPHERY, ALIEN ANT FARM, AMON AMARTH AND MORE

 

MAIN STAGE NAMED ‘THE LEMMY STAGE’ IN HONOUR OF

LEMMY KILMISTER

 

Download Festival, the world’s premier rock and metal event, adds 36 new acts to an already meaty bill, including Jane’s Addiction, NOFX, Sixx:A.M., Alien Ant Farm and Amon Amarth. Download Festival takes place on 10-12 June 2016 in Donington Park. Tickets are on sale now; a special early bird ticket rate is available until 12 February.

Joining headliners Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden for three days of unmissable rock are the mighty Jane’s Addiction – Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins and Chris Chaney – ready to bring their dizzying blend of funk-infused rock to Donington. The band are one of the most exciting and frenetic live acts in the game, fronted by the legendary Farrell whose spellbinding power onstage is sure to transfix the masses this summer.

Whilst we’re saddened to say Motörhead will no longer be performing at this year’s Download Festival, we will honour a true rock ‘n’ roll icon who inspired so many others on the bill, Lemmy Kilmister. This year, Download Festival’s Main Stage will be named ‘The Lemmy Stage’ in tribute to a much loved and missed legend. We are working with Motörhead’s management on a tribute to the great man during the slot he would have performed on, more information to follow.

SoCal pioneers NOFX are coming to stir a hurricane-like frenzy with their politically charged punk with its tongue firmly in its cheek. Sixx:A.M., featuring former Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx, will inject their brand of old school-style, high-octane rock into the hallowed grounds of Donington.  Anti-Flag will bring a blast of white hot three-chord punk this summer. The band are about to tour the US with their new album, American Spring, and Download is currently their only UK show.

South coast metalcore mob Bury Tomorrow have been busy packing out increasingly large venues across the country over the past few years, installing themselves as one of the most exciting homegrown acts to emerge in the genre. Swaggering US rock gang Escape The Fate will come to rage with their energetic, visceral live shows that are the stuff of legend. Prepare for some nu mental antics when Cally foursome Alien Ant Farm takes to the stage at Donington. Their album ANThology featuring singles ‘Movies’ and their cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ turns 15 this year.

Next up, Amon Amarth; get ready to be at the mercy of these monolithic Swedish warriors whose fist-pounding take on Viking metal is not to be missed. Periphery are also confirmed and are one of the most revered acts in the progressive metal scene. Electric Wizard, the reigning kings of doom, return with their relentless, ritualistic blackness. Rightfully regarded as one of the heaviest bands in the world, expect some hefty, deep and crushing riffs that build, consume and destroy.

Monster Truck will provide an amped-up, modern take on good old fashioned bluesy rock. The Canadian rockers pack searing guitar riffs, intense vocals and just the right amount of vintage appeal. Graveyard have been capturing the hearts and minds of the rock world over the last few years, establishing themselves as one of the best live acts on the scene. The Swedish three-piece will also bring a blast of retro-cool to Donington.

Municipal Waste will lead the thrash metal party charge. The band plays with expert precision and intensity, embracing and feeding off the crowds’ constant chaos. Japanese phenomenon, One OK Rock have skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years. The enigmatic four-piece have been on tour with All Time Low and have just been announced to support Issues later this year. Nottingham’s Heck, formerly Baby Godzilla, will also bring the carnage to Donington.

Pop-punk upstarts Hill Valley High are ready to rock with their energetic and infectious party vibes; Turbowolf, renowned for their debaucherous live shows, will bring some of the chaos to Donington; Grand Magus are set for one hell of an exciting live show with bulldozer riffs and powerful vocals courtesy of frontman JB Christoffersson. Southern rockers Whiskey Myers provide some straight up, booze swilling, highway-driving, great country music.

Cane Hill have been pounding the pavements since their inception a few years ago and will bring their fresh interpretation on nu metal. With a set list guaranteed to be full of huge moments, London rockers Zoax are also confirmed. Canadian three-piece Danko Jones will have crowds in the palm of their hands with a smart mix of hits, fan favourites and cuts from their latest album, Fire Music; and Shvpes, formerly Cytota, are ready for a lethal concoction of aggressive hardcore and hard-edged metal.

With a raucous mix of death and doom backed with atmospheric black metal, The King Is Blind will blow the lid off Download Festival. Buckle in for one full on live set of head bangers from these metal behemoths. Berlin trio Kadavar have quickly become one of the most prominent acts in the European heavy underground, bringing retro, blues-fuelled psychedelic grooves to the masses at this year’s festival. As Lions, the new band from former Rise To Remain members Austin Dickinson, Will Homer and Conor O’Keefe, also join the bill.

Slaves (US), featuring the show-stopping vocals of Jonny Craig, will add drama and rock dynamism to the bill. Wage War will bring their heavy hitting sound, ready for an all-out energetic, circle pit inducing set, while Palisades provide their swirling concoction of hook-laden metal for the dance club masses.

Bristol crew Ashestoangels will add to their growing legions of fans with a hearty, gothic rock-tinged masterclass; London up and comers The Kenneths will perform some unapologetic, brash and bouncy punk, and indie-rockers Muncie Girls will make a splash with their unique injection of book-smart lyrics and streetwise musical sass.

Last but by no means least, Download also welcomes newcomers Reigning Days, who have hit their thunderous musical stride with latest single ‘Friendly Fires’, released last month. Brighton born quartet Black Peaks will pack a punch with their mix of hardcore and progressive rock. Strange Bones will bring unashamedly loud guitars and a real raw edge. The Blackpool trio are turning the heads of the rock scene off the back of their debut single, ‘Sick Of It All.’ Finally Transatlantic tech-heads Good Tiger will bring their fusion of metal, prog riffs and hardcore energy. 

Download Festival is the home of rock music and takes place on the sacred grounds of Donington Park, which have been associated with rock since the eighties. The festival attracts icons of rock and metal to its main stage, plus some of the best and hottest new acts in the world. AC/DC, KISS, Metallica, Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Rage Against The Machine, Slipknot, Linkin Park and many more have all headlined its main stage.

  

Tickets for Download Festival are on sale now. A special early bird ticket rate is available until 12 February. For further information, please visit www.downloadfestival.co.uk

2000Trees 2015 – Full Review

If I was going to tell you that I knew anything about the 2000Trees festival as I was stuck on a hellish drive down from London on Thursday, it would be an outright lie- the small festival on the outskirts of Chelt enham has managed to evade my personal radar for 8 years since it’s inception and having learnt about it last year, I can count myself lucky enough to have attended this year. Still, besides all of the hype from previous years’ attendants, I had not entirely decided on what I should expect.

The modest capacity festival is hidden deep in the Gloucestershire countryside, complete with rolling hills, bleating flocks of sheep, and and an idyllic river running around the edge of the site, and even though we were lucky with the weather (A welcome change from the usual rain of the UK festival scene) the scenery would have stood up and still looked beautiful regardless.

Unfortunately arriving later than anticipated, and due to the lack of advertising for Thursday’s acts, we missed some of the earlier performances. However, Thursday night saw the Indie rock and rollers, THE SUBWAYS draw close to the day’s music with their explosively energetic performance at ‘The Cave’ while ANDREW O’NEIL headed up ‘The Croft’ with his Schadenfreude style of comedy, somewhat appropriately referencing to the late Bill Hicks in his set, to warm reception.

FRIDAY

I kicked off Friday’s music with a punt on a completely new band to me – BITE THE BUFFALO, and how glad I was that I did. Comparing the 2 piece from Bath, England; to Royal Blood would be short sighted, as the Blues outfit brought filthy riffs, bluesy overdrive, and confident ballsy attitude and stagemanship, yet an honest humility that cemented them as my favourite act of the weekend.  ALLUSONDRUGS treated a modest crowd to their blend of Indie rock and acid infused prog, switching seamlessly from one to the other.  Heading up to ‘The Croft’ I had planned to catch some of SAM RUSSO’s set whilst escaping the peaking sun- the Singer-songwriter providing a nice contrast from Allusondrugs, allowing those who chose to get respite from the sweltering sun with a calm background of songs about love, friendship and moving on. Having only intended to catch a bit of his set, I ended up staying for the whole thing. Back on the main stage, TAX ON HEAT continued the stage’s bluesfest with sweaty and groovy 70’s era licks, with a stage presence that wouldn’t be out of place on a bigger stage, with a bigger crowd. Catching a bit of DEAD HARTS set over lunch at the Cave Stage, a welcomed heavy and tight performance was only dampened by the Sheffield rockers insistence on perpetually insulting the crowd, and trying to goad them into movement. NOTHING BUT THIEVES brought a massive crowd to ‘The Axiom’, the first act of the day to pack out the tent, fans sprawling around outside singing along to their set.

The main convenience of 2000trees scheduling is that most of the line up is staggered over the stages, meaning you only ever have to choose between 2 acts to see or easily catch half of both sets enabling whole days of tent hopping and the potential to (talking in extremes here) see every act (or if you realise that you are in the wrong place entirely, to avoid every act.) I spent a bit of time in the hidden ‘Room No.7’ to sit down and chill out on a sofa, with the sounds of ACOLLECTIVE bouncing across the site.

Back to the Main Stage, and YOUNG GUNS had already seized control of their crowd, with frontman Gustav Wood commanding their crowd with professional bravado that one would expect of a band of this caliber, while the band behind ran a tight ship, as the stadium filling hits kept coming. Headliners DEAF HAVANA, making a welcome return after a self realised absence kicked off their set with ‘The Past 6 Years’, before packing out their set with most of their more recent hits, with the whole crowd throwing back the lyrics right back at them. Humbled by the crowd’s staggering response, an emotional James Veck-Gilodi apologised for their recent absence and with the promise of a new album, a headline tour and new drive and enthusiasm for Deaf Havana, before closing off their night with nostalgic anthem, Hunstanton Pier.

The night didn’t end there for the people of 2000Trees, however. Silent discos then kicked off across the site at the Main Stage and The Cave, whilst The Axiom provided silent cinema until 3am, and acoustic sets around the site on the various busk stops and down at The Forest kept those who missed out on headphones for the silent activities entertained until around 1am, or until they staggered off into the night.

SATURDAY

Saturday’s music kicked off with an unusual act on the Main Stage, HUMAN PYRAMIDS. Described as Neo-Classical meets Post-Punk, Axe’s Paul Russell’s brainchild soothingly eased everyone into the day’s music, starting with a melodic introduction from their String quartet and horns section, before gradually coming to a crescendo with roaring guitars and heavy bass. Opening up ‘The Cave’ at 12:25 were Blackpool’s BOSTON MANOR (check out the interview HERE), who didn’t see fit to spare audiences hangovers, and bust straight into a flurry of fast paced punk hits from the go, not relenting until their time was up, having been a fan of BOSTON MANOR for a while, I am glad to have caught their set, before interviewing them later in the day.

Through other people’s suggestion, I headed over to check out MILK TEETH (on ‘The Axiom’), but was unable to get closer than the side of the tent, due to their massive pull for their time slot. The Stroud based group cranked out grungy punk, often showing their very heavy Nirvana influence, but unfortunately failed to capture my attention for all that long, as their (maybe purposefully, and fitting with the grunge genre) set sounded unpolished and loose. I caught a bit of BOY JUMPS SHIP’s set back on ‘The Axiom’, which keeping in the ‘Pop-Punk’ theme of the stage going, managed to play their faster, more intricate set than the preceding band with a lot more technical proficiency and enthusiasm, creating a more enjoyable experience for the casual music fans loitered in between stages for their lunch.

On the subject of lunch, 2000trees has a modest selection of food vendors dotted around the site, by each of the 3 main stages. Festival food for me seems like it has a bad rep, but the team at 2000trees only seem to have booked vendors who would offer a fair service for non-extortionate prices. Grilled Halloumi burgers and sweet potato fries kept me sustained throughout Friday, while a chunky bacon butty and fresh scotch eggs kept me alive Saturday. Monmouth Coffee being served as well was a really big surprise, and you’d get change from a tenner for a meal, which when coming from London is a rarity.

After lunch, songstress ALICE PHEOBE LOU dazzled the crowd with her beautiful voice, serenading the crowd with angelic highs with a bit of Sia-esque grit hidden behind. Forgetting lyrics aside, as she bonded with the crowd over the weather, and treated us all to a chilled, eerie set. As the day edged to an end, and after an outstanding genre spanning set from THE SKINTS, I found myself back up at ‘The Croft’ for THE BIG SIXES, only due to the fact they had spent the day attaching terrible posters to everything across the site advertising their set, and not knowing what to expect initially, my doubts were swept away by a tide of harmonies, expertly crafted songwriting, and top notch inter-song conversation, before their encore consisting of a couple of songs in the crowd, surrounded by a mass of singing fans. THE BIG SIXES managed to work up a predominantly neutral audience into a hyped crowd, a feat that would be natural for an established fast paced Pop-Punk band, but not for a slow and groovy act such as The Big Sixes.

Saturday’s headliners ALKALINE TRIO took to the stage at 21:45 just as the clouds began to burst, having held out -threatening rain- for the latter half of the day. The initial swell of excitement quickly died out, as those who were not diehard fans were let down by what was a lethargic performance, frontman Matt Skiba giving an uncomfortable appearance, whilst he murmured out lyrics to songs with little emotion. Bassist Dan Andriano however was giving a lot more to the crowd, interacting well with drummer Derek Grant and moving around the stage between swapping vocal priorities with Matt. Unfortunately for ALKALINE TRIO, and what may have be exacerbated by a disappointing lack of crowd compared to their stateside presence, or what Matt Skiba may now be used to playing for Blink 182, a more instant degree of stagemanship is necessary to win over a crowd that may not only be there to see you, as not to fade into the background.

So what would I say about my first experience at 2000Trees?

I’m going to be bold with this statement, the attitude at 2000Trees reminds me of that at Glastonbury, albeit on a tiny scale. You get the real feeling that the people around you haven’t just come to see their favourite band, and will spend the rest of their time getting into as much trouble as possible, but more that it’s an annual tradition for them. The nine year old festival caters for everyone, and whilst running about the site this weekend, the amount of friendly faces I would bump into at each act astounded me, only to bump into them 20 minutes later at a different tent.

The site itself is relatively tiny, but not cramped. Even those arriving half way through Friday were finding spots to camp up with ease, with enough room for stoves, barbecues or extra gazebos to sleep under when their tents got too hot.

I’m not sure what my favourite part of this weekend has been- whether it’s the terrific atmosphere from the punters in the know and relish the intimacy of this little festival, the picturesque surroundings that the festival is lucky enough to have, the fantastically located Forest stage or what has been a fantastic line up, bringing some names such as Deaf Havana, We Are The Ocean, MClusky* and Alkaline Trio, and providing emerging and underground UK music a proving ground on the UK festival scene. This weekend at 2000Trees has been one that shall be remembered, relished, and hopefully repeated in the coming years.

Tickets for 2000Trees 10th year are now on Sale, and can be picked up on their site.

SlamDunk Festival 2015 Announcement – Very Special Guests

After the sensational EMMURE pulled out due to illness it left us dissapointed and with an empty stage slot… Metalcore fans will be pleased to know that BURY TOMORROW have just joined the line up for this year's SlamDunk Festival!

After last year's incredible headline performance it's no wonder why we're so excited to have these guys join once again an incredible line up on the Monster Energy Stage. Front man Dani Bates states “It was a pleasure to headline last year. We can’t wait to bring the pain in a fast paced set. Circle pits galore.”

Also joining the line up this year are the winners of KERRANG!'s Fresh Blood competitionTRASH BOAT, after a month of voting in competition with nine other bands the pop punk five piece from southern Hertfordshire have come out on top and are more than excited to take SlamDunk's Fresh Blood stage by storm.

In a statement to KERRANG the band said.. “We’re genuinely stunned to find out we won the slot to open the Fresh Blood stage and play the mighty Slam Dunk this year!” the band say. “Thanks to all of you beautiful people who took the time out of your days to give a shit about us, come holla at ya boyz so we can give you all big sloppy kisses!”

With the festival's lineup now complete, the South location selling out and the Northern locations near full capacity you better get your tickets quick before you miss out on arguably one of the best underground music festivals of twenty fifteen.

Like this Article? Why not check out our TOP TEN BANDS TO SEE AT SLAMDUNK 2015

Young Guns, The Skints, Bury Tomorrow plus more for 2000Trees Festival

Young Guns, The Skints, Bury Tomorrow, Defeater and many more have been added to the outstanding line-up of the award-winning 2000trees Festival.

Alongside the likes of Deaf Havana, Idlewild, We Are The Ocean, The Subways and And So I Watch You From Afar will be Fort Hope, Boston Manor, Sam Russo, The Lion & the Wolf, Alice Phoebe Lou and Hannah Lou Clark.

There will also be special acoustic sets from The Subways, Arcane Roots and The Xcerts on the Forest Sessions stage.

Early Entry passes for Thursday are close to selling out and organisers claim the Cotswolds event – which has won four national awards including being twice named Grass Roots Festival winner – is the very best place in the UK to discover your new favourite band.

“If you love new music as much as we do, then you need to be at 2000trees this July, with 100 exciting acts hand-picked for six different stages, we promise you will find fresh sounds and great experiences to share with your mates!” said organiser Andy Rea.

“Tickets have been flying off the shelves and we are confident we will sell out ahead of time, which is tremendous for a small, independent festival – it shows music fans really believe in what we are doing down on the farm every summer!”

The three-day festival celebrates its ninth year near Cheltenham, on 9-11 July. It features the very best new and underground music on six stages, plus comedy, DJs, a silent disco, quality food and drink and children’s entertainment.

Slam Dunk Festival 2014 Review

All American Rejects set the fans in to a world wind of cheers, screams as they hit the main stage in the civic hall yesterday. They came out playing all the classics like, Dirty Little Secret, Move Along and Gives you hell. Tyson Ritter had such a stage presence, throughout the whole set keeping banter with the fans and even taking a trip into the crowd when he got down off the stage and walked around the barrier into the screaming fans while still singing away.

Gracing the Main stage as well was pop rockers We Are The In Crowd, I was really psyched to see this band after hearing good reviews before hand and the build up various publications were producing, but I couldn’t help notice that Tay Jardine voice sounded a bit “Horse” and after speaking to a few fans they thought the same. That aside they had a good set that got fans singing along.

Here’s what some fans had to say.

Steve Brand Said: I enjoyed seeing We Are In The Crowd, Downside for me was that the stage lighting was crap, It was mainly shining it into the crowd which really ruined the view because you could barley see.

Viktoria Kohajdova: The festival has been fun and I loved seeing We The Kings and The All American Rejects overall I really enjoyed them the most. I got to go to a few signings too, but it was a shame that we the kings didn't do one but I did get to meet Tyson Ritter from TAAR and that really made my day.

The Monster stage had a lot happening and it was definitely the place to be with some killer bands they had performing on it.

Headlining band Bury Tomorrow came out to the stage with a huge amount of fans waiting for them.  They played there newest track Man On Fire off the new album RUNES which dropped that day, they played plenty of older tracks including scepters which set the fans surfing and even had a couple of fans climbing up a tree and hanging off it screaming lyrics back at the band.

Also on the Monster stage were I Killed The Prom Queen they came out with big choruses and even bigger breakdowns, playing a mixture of old school tracks as well as new material from beloved. The Devil Wears Prada blew me away with the sheer number of people that had turned up to see them play. The band’s set was tight with elegant clean vocals and guitar parts blending together with the aggressive vocals.

Over at the UPRAWR DJ stage MC Lars was ready and waiting for Chunk! No Captain Chunk to finish their set on the Monster stage. While waiting a good size crowd started to grow turning up in merchandise, you could tell these were big fans of his work. As soon as Chunk! No Captain Chunk finished seamlessly MC Lars started his set playing tracks, Download This Song, Space Game.  The crowd grew and everyone starting to dance and really vibe off the set, he was definitely one of my favorites of the night.

Before finishing up I spoke to one last visitor to the festival who had this say.

Amanda Fry: This was my first time at Slam Dunk and it was great, I'm already contemplating for next years line up". I enjoyed seeing We The kings, We Are The In Crowd and All American rejects. I didn’t like that Roaring S#!T.


Created with flickr slideshow.

Slam Dunk Festival – The SFG Watchlist

So Slam Dunk Festival kicks off in a couple of weeks starting at Leeds university then onto Hertfordshire and Wolverhampton but who should you check out while your there, Well……………..

This year’s headliner is The All American Rejects and Slam Dunk will be their only UK performances of 2014, No doubt they will be playing hits from their four albums, including ‘Dirty Little Secret’, ‘Gives You Hell’, ‘Swing Swing’ ‘ Move Along’ and more. So while they’re across the pond make sure you get yourself to the main stage to check out the Alt Rockers.

For the first time the Aussie boys in, I Killed The Prom Queen will be tearing up the stage at Slam Dunk Festival. A few months back they released new album " Beloved " which is full of heavy hitting tracks as you would expect and there is a good chance they will be playing " Thirty One & Sevens ", To The Wolves" and not forgetting older tracks like " Memento Vivere", " Sharks In Your Mouth " for all you metalcore fans out there. Plus IKTPQ have said that “ we will be seeing more of them in 2014 “.

Plus this year will see the return of Jason Butler (Letlive). Whose live shows are always full of energy and surprises.  Jason Butler, The singer of Letlive made a surprise visit to Slam Dunk in 2013 by performing with Pierce The Veil, and he must of had such a good time, he's bringing his own band back. These are defiantly worth checking out with such energy and interaction with the fans it’s one band not to be missed.

Also it will also see the return of the Southampton boys, Bury Tomorrow, whose brand new album RUNES will be release on the day of Slam Dunk Midlands. That in mind will the boys play any new material to there anticipating fans. Already fans have heard their first released track  “ Man On Fire “ off the new album but will they give us any more new material? Only way to find out is by making sure you check this band out on the day.
 

Finally last but no means less, We Are The In Crowd are set to be one of the favorites of the weekend with Taylor Jardine recently taking over  @SlamDunkMusic twitter account! To answer all of your questions, to go back and see what was asked search #SDF14! On twitter.

The dates for Slam Dunk are listed below, and tickets are still available HERE

May 24th – LEEDS University

May 25th – HERTFORDSHIRE Forum

May 26th – WOLVERHAMPTON Civic

 

Slam Dunk Festival 2014

Slam Dunk Festival, the UK’s favourite and biggest independent touring festival is back for a 9th year. The 7 stage event kicks off at Leeds University followed by The Forum, Hertfordshire then finally tearing it up on the last date at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on Monday 26th May.

The festival uses a combination of indoor and outdoor stages to create a totally unique festival experience with a variety of performances across The Main Stage, Acoustic Stage, Dance Stage and many more.

Headlining the main stage this year is none other then The All American Rejects.  No Doubt they will be playing all the classics including ‘Dirty Little Secret’, ‘Gives You Hell’, ‘Swing Swing’ and many more. Recently Goldfinger who were also performing along side The All American Rejects have had to announce there withdrawal from the festival due to one of the members has had to have some routine minor surgery and the recovery process has taken a little longer than expected. Meanwhile It was recently announced that another pop punk heavy weight is joining the line up in the shape of The Ataris!.

Total Uprawr will host this year’s dance stage. Headlined by one of the biggest party DJs in the UK DJ Yoda. Plus Tek-One will return to promote his new album, Sleep Equals Myth.

The line-up has been announced but there will be LOADS more to come and as usual, a few surprises.

The All American Rejects

Canterbury
Letlive
Bury Tomorrow
The Devil Wears Prada

I Killed The Prom Queen

We Are The In Crowd
We The Kings
Kids In Glass Houses
Zebrahead

Tek-One

Are just FEW artists to name

For a full list of ticket outlets for all events, please go to www.slamdunkmusic.com

Tickets are priced at £35 & £39 with Afterparty across all sites.
Tickets for Slam Dunk Festival will be onsale Friday 14th February