Download Festival, the world’s premier rock event has announced major site improvement plans for the 2020 festival which takes place on 12 – 14 June 2020 at the spiritual home of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire. Tickets are on sale now at downloadfestival.co.uk/tickets.
Download Festival prides itself on listening to its loyal fanbase. The Village has moved even closer to The Arena and will be located on the hardstanding tarmac lake and will be home to the largest ever festival merch superstore for weekend campers. The festival has become even more sustainable on site with 100% Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil biofuel to be used that will reduce carbon emissions by a dramatic 60%, and vegan options have increased. Alongside new locations for all campsites, walking distances have decreased, and with the new Castle Donington Bypass, there is the addition of an East Car Park. Download Festival’s legacy will also be encapsulated with a time capsule burial on site over Download weekend.
Melvin Benn, Festival Republic MD says; “Download is a festival like no other, the audience is as essential as a headliner and we’re excited to bring these site changes to the 2020 festival for better customer experience. The new location of The Village is incredibly exciting as we have made use of the hardstanding tarmac lake. What’s equally exciting is the merch superstore that will be located here, with plenty of options to commemorate the weekend. The new Castle Donington Bypass has allowed us to introduce a third carpark for those coming from the North, and all these site changes have reduced walking times across the site.
The legacy of Download deserves to be celebrated so we will be burying a time capsule on site during Download weekend. Artists will add to it, and I would love for Downloaders to be involved by suggesting items to include and becoming a part of history. Here’s to a great 2020.”
Download Festival have reduced walking distances for festival attendees by moving campsites, car parks, the transport hub and The Village. When campers were looking at almost an hour walk to campsites from The Arena, the new campsite locations mean that Downloaders can reach their tents in the furthest campsites from The Arena in just 25 minutes. As The Village is now a central hub between campsites, this can be reached from the majority of campsites in 10 minutes or less.
The newly located general campsites will also see a fan rebrand, and Downloaders can suggest what each of the six campsites should be called right here (https://form.jotform.com/FRMarketing/campsite-name-suggestions-DL2020). Entries must be submitted by Monday 9th March, and winning names will be announced via socials on Friday 13th March. Greenpeace’s Eco Campsite also returns for its third year, with 100% of tents taken away in the previous two years.
Download Festival have reacted to public feedback, relocating The Village after the severe weather conditions of last year, to the hardstanding Tarmac Lake. Home of The Dog House, Hair Of The Dog bar, food stands, and the incredible Mind The Dog Mindfulness programming that will return in 2020, plus just minutes away from the Access Campsite, access customers can go from their camp to The Village without leaving solid ground.
The Village will also be home to a new massive 900 square meter merch superstore for the first time, and in The Arena, the serving areas of merchandise stalls have increased by 13 meters, plus additional staff on hand to aid in providing size choices whilst waiting. The lines were too long last year, and this should help speed up the process. New for 2020, the Guest Area will also have its own merch stand.
Download takes climate change seriously and as part of our Green Nation charter we are using 100% renewable Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) biofuel to power the event this year.HVO is a form of renewable diesel that has been produced from vegetable fats and oils and offers a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In the recent The Show Must Go On (https://www.vision2025.org.uk/) report, 76% of an event on site carbon emission is power, and this act will reduce Download’s carbon emissions by 60%.
In 2019, the Liftshare carpark sold out with 157 cars taking part, with combined travel saving 16.29 tonnes of CO2e, and £20,000 was raised for local schools to install solar panels through car park donations which is up on £15,800 in 2018. The Recycling and composting rates rose from 46% in 2018 to 59% in 2019 with zero waste going to landfill, bars will once again be operating with reusable cups, and Co-op’s reverse vending machines return for a third year. All water bottles sold at the bars and traders stands will be made from renewable plant-based bottles, and all water refill points in The Arena have been completely redesigned with high flow meaning that a litre bottle can be refilled in just 3 seconds, compared to last year which could have taken up to 12 seconds. That’s four times faster!
The food we eat is responsible for almost a third of our global carbon footprint. We’ve increased vegan food offerings by 40% to give over 30 vegan vendors to choose from on site and a total of over 40 vegetarian stalls to tuck into. Gluten free traders have also increased to a total of 30 stalls across the site, an increase of 42% from 2019.
For 2020, Download Festival has introduced a new East Car Park, which alongside the West Car Park, will be dedicated to weekend campers with easy access to campsites either side of the site. The East Car Park will also be easily accessible by those travelling from the North of England via the newly created Castle Donington bypass. The South Car Park will be dedicated to day ticket holders and improved conditions within the car parks aim to better handle weather conditions. The increase in car parks also means Downloaders no longer have to walk for miles with their weekend belongings, as if parked in the East Car Park, they can reach the nearest campsite in just two minutes.
Inspired by Iron Maiden performing their Legacy of the Beast Tour, Download will be celebrating the festivals legacy with a time capsule burial on the hallowed grounds of Donington. Download will be calling on its line up of legends across the weekend to contribute to the time capsule and make their mark on the Download Festival legacy, Downloaders will also be able to suggest what can be included and have the chance to add their own bit of history. May 2078 will see the resurfacing date, marking 75 years since the very first Download Festival!
Inside the arena itself, The Dogtooth Stage has a reputation to host some of the best talent around, with the tent overflowing from overwhelming popularity within recent years and to reflect this, organisers will be increasing capacity from 2890 to 4050.
Festival Republic have worked with Attitude is Everything since 2001. Download Festival signed up to the Attitude is Everything Charter of Best Practice in 2017 and currently holds the Gold Award within the charter. The Accessible Campsite remains on the same hardstanding location. The Accessible Campervan space has moved to a flatter more accessible location and the space for campervans has increased by 42% to over 100 spaces for 2020.
Download Festival, the world’s premier rock event, has announced further acts including ALTER BRIDGE, BOWLING FOR SOUP, FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES, MASTODON, THE DISTILLERS, SEPULTURA, MOTIONLESS IN WHITE and FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND, to join headliners IRON MAIDEN (Legacy of the Beast Tour), KISS and SYSTEM OF A DOWN this summer. NXT UK is returning to deliver more knockout entertainment over the weekend, and Kerrang! Radio will host FINDING FRESH BLOOD for another year – searching for the best emerging acts in the world of rock to perform on The Avalanche Stage.
Download takes place on 12 – 14 June 2020 at the spiritual home of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire. Tickets are on sale now at downloadfestival.co.uk/tickets.
The Main Stage just got even better with a host of new names which are sure to stir the crowd into a frenzy. US heavyweights ALTER BRIDGE will return to Download with their breed of blistering and technical rock completed with incredible showmanship courtesy of Miles Kennedy.
Mark Tremonti from Alter Bridge said: “We are very proud and honoured to be a part of the 2020 lineup. Download has always been the highlight of our touring schedule over the years, thanks for another opportunity to perform for some of the best rock fans in the world!”
The brilliantly chaotic FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES will wreak havoc at Download, with pit-starter anthems such as ‘Juggernaut’, ‘Crowbar’ and ‘I Hate You’. MOTIONLESS IN WHITE are staggeringly heavy, with a good dosage of theatrics that will no doubt fuel a memorable performance. Also performing rare Australia’s ferocious THY ART IS MURDER, rising Florida metalcorers WAGE WAR, and melodic Brit metallers THE RAVEN AGE.
Chris Motionless from Motionless In White said: “Playing Download is an accomplishment that bands of every level still write home about. It is THE festival to be a part of, and I’m so proud to announce that we will be making an appearance again for the first one of the new decade. See you in a few months!”
Looking towards The Zippo Stage, Atlanta’s finest MASTODON have garnered a reputation as a formidable live force, and their performance at 2020 is sure to be enormous. Fronted by the infamous Brody Dalle, THE DISTILLERS are a household name in modern punk and make their anticipated return to Donington. THE DARKNESS are also set to bring a healthy dose of classic rock and roll bombast., Italian goth icons LACUNA COIL, melodic rockers AMARANTHE, bondage-punks HATARI and rock n roll revivalists THE GLORIOUS SONS. They’ll be joined by Mississippi rock stalwarts 3 DOORS DOWN.
Justin Hawkins of The Darkness said: “UK festival appearances are like children – so precious and impossible to pick a favourite. This year though, my number 1 child is our Download slot! I have a pair of pyjama bottoms designed to look like jeans with tickets for Monsters of Rock 1991 hanging out of the pocket, and that tells you everything you need to know about my excitement levels.”
Following their disbanding in 2016, Download are beyond excited to reveal that Welsh post-hardcore and crowd favourite FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND will make their euphoric return to the festival by headlining The Avalanche Stage. Joining them are Texan troopers BOWLING FOR SOUP who are sure-fire to get Donington singing along to their tongue-in-cheek pop punk anthems.
Ryan Richards from Funeral For A Friend said “As a band, and as individuals – we’ve made some incredible memories at the hallowed grounds of Donington through the years, so it’s going to be nice to come back and make a few more together. Those trademark black fringes are a bit greyer/balder these days, but we’ll still be able to show these young ‘uns a thing or two!”
Jaret Reddick from Bowling For Soup said: “Download Festival is always something special for Bowling For Soup. So many of the stories we share with other bands and family members back home come from our time spent playing or hanging out at this festival. Very much looking forward to making more memories this summer…and of course bringing something special to our show, that only BFS can get away with!”
Elsewhere on the Avalanche Stage are Philadelphia’s THE MENZINGERS who will draw a monstrous crowd with their honest melodic punk, Woking’s brutal EMPLOYED TO SERVE, anonymous collective SLEEP TOKEN, garage punk outfit PRESS CLUB, Welsh post-hardcore band HOLDING ABSENCE, Liverpool prog-metallers LOATHE, mysterious emo rapper SULLII, London ska-punks THE SKINTS, alt-pop-rock Mancs THE HARA, Northern Californian pop-rockers CEMETERY SUN, and Brighton indie punks GENDER ROLES. They’ll be joined by punk trio MILK TEETH.
Headlining The Dog Tooth Stage are genre defining heavy music titans SEPULTURA who are set to be a crowd pleaser with huge songs such as Roots Bloody Root and Refuse / Resist.
Derrick Green from Sepultura said; “We are ecstatic about our return to Download Festival. It’s an honour and pleasure to be a part of a festival with such a rich music history. We look forward to rocking out with you all!!”
Also on The Dog Tooth stage are Sydney metalcore innovators NORTHLANE, alongside bruising Leeds hardcore collective HIGHER POWER. If that wasn’t enough, further Dogtooth Stage additions are London progressive rock band HAKEN, virtuosic Texan quartet POLYPHIA, Sacramento noise metallers WILL HAVEN, the hotly tipped KILL THE LIGHTS (featuring members from Bullet For My Valentine, Still Remains, Throw The Fight, Glamour Of The Kill and Threat Signal), self-proclaimed ‘Satanic doo wop’ trio TWIN TEMPLE, Texan hardcore outfit FIRE FROM THE GODS, Bristol post-punks HEAVY LUNGS, NYC rockers TEMPT, Peterborough melodic hardcore act MODERN ERROR, brutal Holy Roar signees London five-piece RENOUNCED, mesmerising alt rock artist JJ WILDE, and Brummie metalcore pack SHVPES.
Download Festival are pleased to announce the return of WWE NXT UK to this year’s festival. The first round of Superstars to be announced are title-holders WWE NXT UK ChampionWALTER, NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray, and NXT UK Tag Team Champions Gallus. The first-ever WWE United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate, and his Tag Team partner Trent Seven, will no doubt bring a stunner of a show. Also set to perform is Finn Bálor’s protégé Jordan Devlin, the highflyer Mark Andrews, and his Tag Team partner Flash Morgan Webster. Toni Storm is also confirmed, alongside powerhouse Piper Niven – both of whom will bring the energy to Donington Park. NXT UK has made a massive impact at Download in previous years, full of tense moments and adrenaline-soaked performances, it’s the ultimate spectacle for fans of loud music and even louder sport.
In addition, Kerrang! Radio will once more host Finding Fresh Blood, the search to bring the hottest emerging talent to Donington. 2019 was its inaugural year and grime-punks PENGSHUi triumphantly opened the Avalanche Stage. UK acts can now upload their tracks online to be in with the chance of playing this year’s festival on the same stage. To apply, and for more information please visit their website. The chance to apply closes on 1st March at 23:59, and winners will be announced in April.
Kerrang! Radio’s Alex Baker said: “Playing at The Download Festival is a benchmark moment in any bands career, it is the most important festival in the country for alternative music and a performance on any of the hallowed stages can catapult your career as a musician to new heights. I only like working with people who share my unyielding spirit for supporting new artists, and the absolute dedication that Andy and the team from Download have in this field is truly inspiring. When Pengshui walked out on the Avalanche Stage last year, the atmosphere on the stage, in the crowd AND in the wings was absolutely electric – it is a moment that will never be forgotten.”
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.
Download Festival has announced more bands to join headliners IRON MAIDEN (Legacy of the Beast Tour), KISS and SYSTEM OF A DOWN next year. The world’s premier rock event takes place 12 – 14 June 2020 at the spiritual home of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire. Tickets are on sale now at downloadfestival.co.uk/tickets.
Headed to Download are Denmark’s VOLBEAT with their hybrid of rock ‘n’ roll, riffs and rockabilly, making for an explosive and certainly unpredictable live show. Their seventh studio album Rewind, Replay, Rebound dropped in August 2019 and landed at #7 in the UK album charts.
Volbeat said; “We are very excited to return to Donington Park once again to rock with all of our friends in the UK alongside so many great bands. See you in June!“Defining the Metalcore genre with anthems such as ‘My Curse’ and ‘The End of Heartache’, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE have had three consecutive Top 10 debuts on the Billboard Top 200, landed several Grammy nominations, and have had half a billion streams.Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage said; “We are honoured and excited to play the mighty Download festival once again! We are ready to kick out our new songs and play the old anthems as well! Download crowds are always incredible and we are eager to bring the mother f*****g ruckus!”
Leaders in Japanese kawaii metal, BABYMETAL will land at Donington following the success of their latest album Metal Galaxy. Formed in 2010, the band fuse metal with J-Pop and are a global name in heavy music, renowned for their flawless and unique performances.
SU-METAL said: “The crowd at Download Festival always welcomes us with a lot of energy so I can’t wait to perform there again! We hope to bring even more power and energy so please look forward to our performance!”
MOAMETAL said: “To have the opportunity of performing at one of our favorite places is incredibly exciting for us. Can’t wait to see everyone there!”
THE PRETTY RECKLESS are a bruising blend of ferocious rock’n roll and blues, with huge singles such as ‘You Make Me Wanna Die’ and ‘Heaven Knows’ in their discography, and their explosive shows have earned them legions of new fans all over the world. AIRBOURNE’s first album Runnin’ Wild was one of the most talked-about and best-reviewed debuts in recent rock history, and their classic rock inspired hits are expected to create a thunder at Download.
Joe O’Keeffe from Airbourne said; “Do you wanna rock? Then let’s f****n’ rock!”
Named one of the best-selling rock bands of the 21st Century SKILLET will bring their stadium sized anthems backed by multi-platinum selling albums to Donington next year. BARONESS have embodied a DIY ethic since the beginning. With five innovative and highly creative albums under their collective belts that swerve genre barriers, they consistently keep fans on their toes and are expected to do the same at Download next year.
LIT are considered one of the preeminent bands to have come out of the post-grunge era of the late 90’s, defining an entire generation of power punk with hits like ‘My Own Worst Enemy’ and ‘Miserable’. Since their warmly-welcomed return in 2011, British alt rock titans BUSH have shown no signs of rest as they have since released two albums and appeared on the John Wick: Chapter 3 soundtrack with a heavier new sound inspired by System Of A Down.
The Duke of Spook WEDNESDAY 13 has been added to the line up following the release of eighth album Necrophaze. Expect the unexpected from the original horror punk enigma who is infamous for theatrics. Also performing are BRITISH LION, the side project of Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris that’s stamped with his unique style.
With a cult-like and fanatical fanbase as well as being referred to as “the heaviest band in the universe”, ELECTRIC WIZARD will perform at Donington with their uncompromising style of ‘70s inspired doom and detuned guitars. They’ll be joined by PERIPHERY who are at the forefront of the djent movement with their blisteringly technical and heavy prog.
Since their inception in 1984, OBITUARY are a fundamental act in the development in death metal and have made one hell of a dent with ten colossal albums and ear shattering riffs under their name. Joining them, are death metallers DYING FETUS who will be heading back to Donington in 2020.
Toronto punks PUP have cemented themselves as one of the most energetic and exciting live bands in recent years, and with their noisy, biting and a recklessly fun ode to nihilism, they’re not to be missed. The self-dubbed ‘family band’ TINY MOVING PARTS formed in high school and have worked tirelessly to create the band’s trademark blend of math rock, punk pop, and emo – they have been added to the already monster line up,
Most known for ‘Youth of the Nation’, ‘Southtown’, ‘Boom’, and the triple platinum record Satellite, San Diego’s P.O.D. join the line up with their infectious hybrid of punk, heavy metal, reggae, rap and Latin music.
Making their debut last year with bold album Ain’t Always Easy on Spinefarm Records, STONE BROKEN’s energetic live shows have fuelled their desire to take on the world and are ready to take on Download.
Returning to Download are the retro-inspired blues of quartet BLUES PILLS and their vintage style. Fronted by hard rock veteran Toby Jepson (G.U.N., Little Angels), WAYWARD SONS dropped their second album The Truth Ain’t What It Used To Be last month and are a much welcome addition to the line up.
Self-proclaimed Kings of Stonerpunk, BOKASSA make their Download Festival debut from Norway following a summer opening for Metallica on their European Wordwired tour. With a sound as bold as their name WARGASM may only have two singles under their belt, but the captivating duo are sure to make their Download debut one to remember.
Also added are BLACKOUT PROBLEMS, BLEED FROM WITHIN, CELLAR DOOR MOON CROW, CHELSEA GRIN, DEAD LABEL, DEAD POSEY, LOTUS EATER, MARIANAS TRENCH, POWERWOLF, PUPPY, THEORY, THE LAST INTERNATIONALE, THE WILDHEARTS, and UNCURED.
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.
Download Festival, the UK’s premier rock event has today announced a plethora of extracurricular and extra spectacular rock n’ roll activities and entertainment for fans in The Download Village. Alongside the world’s biggest rock bands; including headliners Def Leppard, Slipknot and Tool and the high-flying WWE NXT UK, fans will enjoy a stunning array of unique performances, experientials,stalls, food, drink and more at the three-day rock extravaganza. Day tickets for the festival have also now been released and are on sale from £79.50 + booking fees from www.downloadfestival.co.uk.
For those looking to get revved up in moshing shape, Download is proud to welcome heavy metal exercise class RockFit™ to make its festival debut. The classes will see fans throwing shapes and working out to an energising soundtrack featuring AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica as well as acts from the bill like Slipknot, Def Leppard, Slash and Rob Zombie and more. The classes are suitable and adaptable for everyone and fans are invited to take part.
DO.OMYOGA™ is back after an incredibly successful first outing, where fans can perfect their asanas, practice their downward facing Download Dog, and reconnect to themselves through the ancient Indian practice of Nada Yoga where music and sound become one. Welcoming all to taking a leap into the heavier world of wellness and fitness in a slow vinyasa based practice, set to a selection of dark, ‘vibrational’ end of the music, along with up to 250 other Metal Yoga enthusiasts, experts and curious beginners alike.
The SINDROME Arena will be back this year playing host to a programme of death-defying stunts, bohemian freaks, mechanical madness, Viking battles and a heavy dose of love, peace and air rock n roll. Fan favourite, Area 51 and their wandering Caravan of Lost Souls are back with their dark circus sideshow and human curiosities to hype the crowds. In an Official World Premiere The Thunderdome comes to Download, where Young Wall of Death stars Luke and Kerri Fox defy death right before your eyes on a 9m mesh wall in their brand spanking new adrenalin fuelled stunt show. The hugely popular ‘Demolition Download’ from Battle Heritage are making the charge back to Donington for a sixth year where medieval fighters from all over Europe will gather to take each other on in battle to be crowned champions in this full force, full contact sport. By popular audience demand, festival goers will be able to try their hand at this most ancient of sports, at the Demolition Download workshops featuring Battle Heritage Fighters in the SINDROME.
Fans are invited to make air, not war as the UK Air Guitar Championships makes its grand return to Download. Festival fans are invited exclusively to enter into this internationally recognized competition and to gain the chance of becoming the UK’s ultimate 2019 Air Guitar Hero and a shot at the world title in Finland. DR HAZE the Undead Ringmaster of The Circus of Horrors hosts the competition and at the end of each heat, performers from the Circus of Horrors will hit the SINDROME Stage.
The beloved Doghouse features a stacked bill including fan favorites Circus of Horrors, who are back with two wild new shows ‘Asylum’ and ‘Welcome To The Freak Show’. Each featuring an amazing amalgamation of bizarre, fantastic circus acts and the darkest of magic. Expect unbelievable sword swallowers, whirlwind acrobats, flaming limbo twisted contortion, blade walkers, fiery hula hooping divas and lots, lots more in this roller coaster of a show, hosted by undead ringmaster Dr Haze with a metal soundscape of devil driven rock n’ roll.
The World’s Greatest Wall of Death returns to The Download Village providing non-stop high-risk performances from the legendary Luke and Kerri Fox and team that will leave the Download audience utterly awe struck and totally exhilarated. Deep in the Woods in the heart of the Village, The Metal Den can be discovered – where revellers can lay in hammocks and savour Download’s very first Outdoor Cinema The Metal Screen and its hand curated Cineprogram. From noon to midnight each day an awesome collection of Arthouse, classic, comedy and documentaries will be screened. As the witching hour strikes the Metal Screens’ resident metal VJ Harry K will take to the decks spinning metal & rock classics into the early hours. Download’s revered resident tattooists, Old Sarum are on hand ready to ink the masses, for those who want a more permanent memento of their weekend.
The Download Village also plays host to delicious food and drink stalls fairground rides and lots of surprises!
DOWNLOADERS! It’s time, your first announcement is here and we’re hyped to reveal that your #DL2019 headliners are Def Leppard, Slipknot and Tool! Plus, SEVENTEEN of the most awesome bands in the world including Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, Whitesnakeand Rob Zombie are also coming to rock Donington Park to its metal core on 14th-16th June 2019.
Classic rock powerhouse Def Leppard are making a spectacular return to headline the Main Stage on Friday at Download and we cannot wait.
In what will be their ONLY UK appearance of 2019, the Sheffield legends will be playing their seminal album ‘Hysteria’ in full and more.
Def Leppard front man Joe Elliott has said: “We are delighted to be going back to headline Download in 2019! The festival has a very special place in our hearts and it’s such a great place to play. We will be playing Hysteria in full – yes, in full! – plus a load more of the hits, and we are going to put on a very special show for our UK fans. Can’t wait to see you all there!”
The forerunners of the new wave British heavy metal movement, Def Leppard have sold over 100 million records. Donington is going to be the ONLY place in the UK this year where you can watch them rip through a full-throttle stadium-sized show and scream along to classics like ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’, ‘Love Bites’, ‘Rock Of Ages’ and countless more.
So, get set to rock like an ‘Animal’ as it’s going to be unforgettable Main Stage headline set for the Download family.
Meet your next headliners, the mighty masked metallers Slipknot! One of the most defining acts of the last two decades, the sheer power of Slipknot’s live sets have gone down in Download legend.
With a back catalogue of rock club classics – ‘Duality’, ‘Spit It Out’, ‘Before I Forget’ and ‘Psychosocial’ – Iowa’s sickest sons are going to bring the mosh for their Saturday headline set.
An appearance thirteen years in the making, we are totally psyched to announce that Tool will be making their grand return to headline Sunday at Download.
The Grammy award-winning, multi-platinum, prog-metal titans are set to take you on a grandiose career spanning journey of classic albums ‘Undertow’, ‘Lateralus’, and ‘10,000 Days’.
If those legendary headliners weren’t enough we’ve got SEVENTEEN more bands to announce today.
After slaying the Main Stage with Guns N’ Roses at #DL2018, living guitar god Slash couldn’t stay away and is riffing his way back to Donington for #DL2019 with Alter Bridge frontman for Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators.
Fresh from releasing their phenomenal third album ‘Living The Dream’, Slash and Myles Kennedy and The Conspirator’s set is going to have you wailing to signature slick solos and out of this world rock anthems.
“Here I go again on my own, Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known!” is going to ring out loud and proud over Donington Park as Whitesnake are coming to Download 2019.
Whitesnake front man David Coverdale said: “Once again, we’ve been honoured to be invited to participate in the legendary DOWNLOAD 2019…Can’t Wait To See You All & Kick Arse Together!!!…So Ready 2 Rock!!!”
If metal is your lifeblood, get ready for a large transfusion as Rob Zombie is once again going to turn Download into his own twisted carnival with a set bursting with stomp-laden classics and new tracks.
Plus, Trivium will be taking Donington by the horns to turn your stomachs with their roaring metal, Swedish death metallers Amon Amarth are going to pack a deadly punch with their Viking inspired cinematic metal and Carcass will remind you why they’re the gore-grind forefathers.
Still want more? Dutch outfit Delain, led by the world-class frontwoman Charlotte Wessels, will be a must-see for all of you symphonic metal fans. Whilst, in a Download first Die Antwoord will be getting you bouncing hard to their Zef style hip-hop.
And, punk rock covers supergroup Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, featuring members of NOFX, Foo Fighters, Lagwagon, Swingin’ Utters, are going to have you and your mates gasping for breath shouting along to their rapid-fire covers.
If you’re looking for a one way ticket to prog paradise, Sweden’s Opeth are going to deliver a set filled with classics and tracks from their 2016 acclaimed album, ‘Sorceress’.
New-school thrashers Power Trip are going to make their Download debut and get you headbanging to tracks from their sophomore album, ‘Nightmare Logic’.
And, Californian ska-punk heroes Reel Big Fish will get Donington bouncing to some solid rocksteady riffs.
Download Festival favourites Skindred are going to shake the Donington hills with their ragga metal. The unmatched energy and exuberance of frontman Benji Webbe is sure to see the return of the Newport Helicopter originating at Download 2011.
Hotly-tipped sci-fi, conceptual rockers Starset also join the line up with an ambitious, gigantic rock set that is destined for the stadiums in the future. And, Tesla will serve up classic hard rock anthems in mammoth portions for you to sink your teeth into.
Ready to give us a surefire singalong are Queensland metalcore veterans The Amity Affliction with syrupy hooks, melodic metalcore and ferocious breakdowns.
And, finally open your arms wide to welcome back post-hardcore pioneers Underoath as the trailblazers make their first appearance back at the festival since 2005.
You can’t deny it, something out there really has it in for Download Festival. It’s the same story every year – burnt for the first two days camping and then incessantly soaked for the rest, it’s like… metal is the music of the devil… or something…
Campers have been steadily pouring in since Wednesday, setting up epic tent-collectives with all manner of décor (bra-bunting is a particular favourite of mine) and it’s set to be a belter of a weekend, even though we’re probably all going home with trench foot and hypothermia. The Village, the hub of the camping area, is home to weird and wonderful acts such as The Wall of Death, The Inflatable Church, The Circus of Horrors, Zorbing and the fire-wielding Area 51. Oh and hilariously British pursuits like Bogan Bingo, a quiz and five-a-side football, if that’s more your speed. Head over there at night for after-hours bands, DJ’s and even catch a movie in the Cinema or laugh your arse off in The Side Splitter comedy tent.
It’s clear Download’s commitment to becoming a bit more of a well-rounded festival is working, the out of hours entertainment, things to do and see and the much improved food options mean a nicer festival experience for all, without taking the emphasis off the music at all. With the now extensive shopping and food outlets you’d better have cash on you this weekend, as despite last years’ ‘breakthrough’ technology claiming to take all the hassle out of on-site payments (which of course did not go to plan) Download have well and truly ditched the idea of RFID tags and have gone over to… er… all normal methods that you can do in the real world.
Friday sees a dry start and Alien Ant Farm are failing to get anyone interested in anything other than Smooth Criminal, and Babymetal (half an hour late) draw a massive crowd for their J-Pop inspired metal, which is frankly just about the oddest thing ever. They’ve stuck to their goth-loli look and eardrum piercingly high vocals for Gimme Chocolate but actually the new album tracks seem a bit more developed and musically interesting rather than gimmicky. We do wish Herman Lee could have popped up for Road of Resistance, but the two girls down the front who have made a massive effort to dress like the band seem to be loving it, alongside some very big bearded men who appear to know ALL the words.
On the Encore stage, Christian rock band Skillet are killinit (see what I did there?) but the Lemmy/Motorhead tribute video on the main stage is in all honestly a bit lame. We all know Lemmy partied hard, but is it really necessary for people to recount exactly what variety of drug he offered them? Only Brian May appears to talk about him in a painfully honest way, saying “I miss him very badly”. Apart from a stage naming and a tshirt on the merch stand, it’s weirdly unspoken for the most part… maybe it’s all a bit soon for most of the bands.
Grabbing possibly the most English food available for lunch (Duck fat roast potatoes with gravy, followed by apple crumble…) we hit up the absolutely packed Maverick stage for Geordie rockers The Wildhearts who have everyone jumping to I Wanna Go Where The People Go. Over on the main stage we’re treated to a dose of Jonathon Davis’ chicken dance (hold mic, flap arms) as Korn blast out the likes of Coming Undone and Freak On A Leash. The rain is absolutely hammering down now and it kinda fits the grungy nu-metal feel, the arena is full of swamp-people whipping their hair everywhere. Amidst the seriousness of purpose that Korn portray, it’s hard not to giggle at the Lebowski-esque rug that has been laid down to stop Davis stacking it in front of everyone.
Finally it’s on to the main event, and the bedraggled but excited masses have gathered for the ever sinister yet playful German powerhouse that is Rammstein. Running through scores of hits like Sonne, Du Hast, Ich Will and Feuer frei there’s nothing missing from this incredible set. The expected but always insane pyrotechnics just keep coming, with fire breathing face-cages, firework body suits and a giant pair of angel wings, there’s just nothing these guys won’t do for a show.
Entering the arena today it’s obvious some effort has been made in the way of soaking up the sludge, using a ton of hay and woodchips, there’s a much boggier/safer quality to the underfoot feel, but it probably won’t last.
Over in The Kennels area, a queue is already forming for new addition WWE NXT stage, live wrestling shows hosted by Triple H, whilst self-proclaimed Swedish circus freaks Avatar are bringing some life to the main stage. Wearing what I can only describe as resplendent outfits inspired by the Vatican Guard and yelling “Bang your heads English men!” they put on a rowdy first set of the day, and gain a few more followers with their tight riffs and synchronized hairwhipping.
Beartooth’s punky tones soar across the arena to a decent sized crowd for In Between and Black Peaks are totally smashing the Maverick stage. Turbowolf take the baton next yelling “For the next half an hour, this is our home” before tumbling headlong into the likes of Rabbit’s Foot and Solid Gold.
Danko Jones starts out with classic Play The Blues which actually gets kind of a cold reception from the crowd, but soon he’s telling us “…everybody at Download gets to call me… delicious” and saying “I am a whore for that sound you make with your hands” everything starts to get lively. A fan in the front row passes up a flag requesting Sex Change Shake but Danko goes on to play Cadillac instead citing “…it’s the same three chord structure anyway… so this is like, Shake Change Sex”. There is something ridiculously fun about Danko Jones, in an overwhelmingly cheesy way. They are so uncool they’re cool. They’re the Fonz of rock.
Lawmower Deth however, are exactly the kind of godawful rubbish we should (and do) love, this time with an added Brucey Bonus of being joined by… and I can’t believe I’m writing this… Kim Wilde for Kids in America. It could not be more bonkers and everyone LOVED it.
Rival Sons bluesy cali rock has the arena up and dancing with their beers, soaring vocals and a stellar set – we loved closer Keep On Swinging. On the Encore stage Juliette and the Licks hit hard with Hot Kiss and Credence Clearwater Revival cover Proud Mary, J-Lew is just as enigmatic on stage as on screen. Megadeth are joined on stage by Nikki Sixx for Anarchy in the UK before Nikki steps out with his own band Sixx: AM for a completely different sound. It’s a strong set and a hell of a lot of people have come out to watch. Despite the sea of hair and black tshirts this weekend, it’s clear the pop-punk kids have been hiding in plain sight as the hoarde heads towards the Maverick stage for rowdy Welsh band Neck Deep, but they aren’t even going to win Taffy of the day with Skindred tearing it up over on the Encore stage. Despite the now constant rain, Skindred have drawn a huge crowd for their completely-weird-but-totally-works reggae-metal and the whole crowd is getting down and dirty for Doom Riff and Pressure. With an unsolicited play of Bieber’s ‘Sorry’ mixed into Trouble, they’ve singlehandedly outlined exactly which people we should push in the mud later, but not to worry as there’s an epic and extremely wet swirling of tshirts for Warning. We love a bit of a Newport Helicopter we do.
The rain is now unashamedly heavy and regardless of the plastic ponchos, raincoats and really fucking annoying golf umbrellas, pretty much everyone is soaked through. The crowd is built right up the main stage hill and the anticipation is palpable. Fan or not, there’s no denying that seeing Black Sabbath on their last ever tour (no really, it will be the last this time… right?) is pretty special and important. Though it’s clear throughout the set that Ozzy’s voice isn’t the best (was it ever?) the songs are heavy and hit the nerve of nostalgia so hard. Snowblind, War Pigs, Iron Man and Paranoid are obvious highlights, but no less great because of it. With the downpour drastically thinning the crowd, the views are spectacular and it’s the kind of closing show you hope for – full of hits, none of the new stuff. They will be missed.
With the early morning news that GHOST have cancelled their set today and nightmarish state of the main arena (seriously, it’s the kind of goop bodies arise from in the Walking Dead) today’s bands have to compete with the drowned-rat temperament of all those who’ve camped. Luckily there’s crepes for breakfast, a champagne tent and… hold up, what? I’m down with crumble but there’s no place for Moët in Metal. Come on.
Looking about as country as you can get, Whiskey Myers ease us in gently with Early Morning Shakes on the Encore stage before Amon Amarth give us growly Viking battle tunes from their dragon longship style stage set-up and giant fire canons. It’s even more awesome than it sounds, honestly. Whiplash back to bluesy rock with an inexplicably American sound for Glasgow vocalist Phil Campbell and The Temperance Movement. It’s an unrelentingly great set with a few tracks from the new album but finishing up with Ain’t No Telling from their first, we’re glad to see them back at Download.
On the Maverick stage, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are, well, doing what they do. There’s a huge mosh pit and lots of people seem to be enjoying themselves, but lots of other people seem to be screwing their noses up and walking away. So we head on over to the main stage for the eponymous Halestorm who have grabbed a massive crowd and are belting out Amen, I Am The Fire and I Miss The Misery. There’s no doubting Lzzy Hale’s vocal prowess but there’s something very Nickelback about them, massively produced and clean, it’s hard to put your finger on it.
Shinedown have that crowd-participation approach that we Brits love to hate, like panto – they want us to jump, so at first we do it sarcastically… then again to reinforce the joke… before you know it everyone is pogoing like a complete tosspot to a band they don’t even really like. Either we’re a very very susceptible nation, or Shinedown are actually doing a good job. I’ve no idea at this point. Delain on the Encore stage have drawn all the raven haired goth girls for a good old headbang but there’s a bit of power missing behind it all. On the Maverick stage Electric Wizard are heavy in a way that makes your stomach drop but it's Gojira who really make our skin crawl, in the best kind of way.
Disturbed are actually forcing joy out of otherwise non-fans today with the likes of Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence – a stalwart of their tour repertoire. In an epic hit-to-hit continuous play we get; U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For with Lzzy Hale, The Who’s Baba O’Riley with Blaze Bayley and RATM’s Killing In The Name with Benjamin Burnley of Breaking Benjamin. Where else are you gonna see that kind of mash up? Let’s be honest though, we’re all waiting for Down With The Sickness, and Disturbed give it to us with a cry of “I think it’s apparent the entire United Kingdom has been infected with sickness…”
Nightwish are plagued from the off with the heaviest downpour of the weekend but that’s never done anything to quiet this truly epic band before. Lords of the symphonic circuit, Nightwish have been the subject of more drama than any other band, public shamings and bootings aside – they seem to have bounced back each time. In Floor Jansen they’ve found a vocalist capable of traversing Tarja Turunen’s operatic realm and the rock sound they’ve been moving steadily towards over the last few albums, and she hits the stage dressed like a Valkyrie, which I guess, is the point really. With giant bursts of fire from stage canons, Nightwish (and the now extraordinarily drenched fans) power through some of the strongest numbers of the entire weekend. Nemo’s the one everyone has been waiting for, and though it will never quite be the same without Tarja, it packs a punch and remains a fan favourite. It seems Download loves Nightwish, no matter who’s fronting. Especially that dude vogue-ing the shit out of it at the back.
Headlining the Maverick stage Saxon get more than they bargained for – the tent is bursting at its seams with the soggy and groggy, warming themselves up for Maiden with the Yorkshire boys. 747 (Strangers in the Night) is melodic-shreddingly amazing, And The Bands Played On is the perfect description of what Saxon seem to intend to do… forever… and Wheels of Steel has every single person singing along. Biff’s voice and determination is as strong as ever.
As is typical of Sunday headliners at Download, there is very little crossover of other stages, and Iron Maiden also joining us a little later than intended means the arena is absolutely COVERED in bodies. Thankfully the rain has stopped just in time for the screens to switch over to Eddie TV and Bruce Dickinson to emerge from centre stage for If Eternity Should Fail. Through a Book Of Souls heavy set we are well and truly smacked with the fact that Bruce’s throat cancer surgery has done nothing to dull his vocals or his enthusiasm, he races the stage with the same wild abandon he has always had. In the wake of Black Sabbath’s ending, it’s sort of comforting to know that Maiden have no plans to quit any time soon. Hell, they just got a new plane.
Old favorites The Trooper, Hallowed Be Thy Name and Fear Of The Dark are every bit as heart-stoppingly brilliant as we’ve come to expect, the stage sets and animatronics just can’t be rivaled. With an epic encore of The Number Of The Beast, Blood Brothers and Wasted Years, Maiden came, saw, conquered. With a long speech regarding this weekend’s tragic events in Orlando, an incredible set and more energy than any one of us can muster after three days in a field – Bruce may as well have done an actual mic drop.
So what to make of Download 2016? As always controversy over headliners is rife for this sort of festival. With a genre so diverse, with arguably warring factions – there’s always going to be something you love, and something you hate. That’s kind of the point right? If you loved the whole lineup everything would clash. If you hated the whole lineup, you wouldn’t buy a ticket. This year, Download seemed to have secured bands from a whole heap of genres without one heavily dominating the others and let’s be honest – seeing Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden on the same bill is really pretty incredible when you think about it. But who the hell is going to top this? Roll on DL2017’s announcements and the ensuing forum arguments we will inevitably be part of…
Well what can you say about the finality of one of the most prolific bands in history’s last ever show at their spiritual home of Donington Park? The band have played here time and time again, Monsters of Rock, Ozzfest, Download – Donington in all it’s incarnations. Black Sabbath are sewn into the fabric here and the arena is awash with black shirts in all shapes and sizes, from a tour history spanning decades and generations. Families making sure their kids get to experience this once in their lifetime, the younger crowd who may not be die-hard Sabbath lovers but are here nevertheless, and those original fans with a tear for the end of an era. Everyone feels the gravity of tonight’s performance, and that’s a pretty big weight to put on any band’s shoulders.
As the sky darkens ominously and the purple Black Sabbath logo lights up the big screens, there is a hush of anticipation for the Birmingham band, one city over from where they were formed – this always feels like a homecoming. With visuals depicting the birth of Satan from an Aliens-esque egg the band alight the stage to an almighty roar and thousands upon thousands of hands thrust into the air in horns.
Starting off with namesake Black Sabbath (we really enjoy it when artists sing about themselves… well, maybe not Craig David…) it’s clear that Ozzy’s voice is ahem, off. The difference between this show and their last Donington stint is pretty noticeable and there’s a lot of chatter in the crowd to that effect. It also seems like they’ve purposefully slowed down their already trademark slow heavy metal, to accommodate Ozzy’s vocals, but hey, we’ve been listening to upbeat bands all day… that must be it… right?
Yelling his standard “I can’t fuckin’ hear you” there’s a little nostalgic twinge as someone nearby retorts an unheard “That’s cause you’re fuckin’ deaf”, I think I’ve heard that every single time I’ve seen Ozzy live and this will be the last time. Fairies Wear Boots is a fan favourite and everyone is singing along but the wind and rain have notched up and the 4 speaker stacks in the middle of the arena just aren’t good enough to travel it up the hill. Every year the same argument – it’s fine for the earlier bands when the crowd is split, but for the headliners it leaves at least half the arena with shockingly poor audio.
Into The Void and Snowblind are fantastic, with Iommi shredding the hell out of his guitar in his nonplussed style, and despite the constant rain (maybe there was a market for changing the name to Rainblind…), the swishing of ponchos and smack of wet hair on cheeks says that everyone is having a headbangingly excellent time. Sabbath anthem War Pigs however is absolutely epic, due to the thousands strong crowd singing every bit of it at the maximum capacity of their lungs.
We get a traditional gratuitous drum solo and then everything we wanted to hear; N.I.B, Hand of Doom, the heart-stoppingly good Iron Man (complete with flaming pyrotechnics on the stage and sound tent) and Children Of The Grave.
With an encore of Sabbath’s biggest hit Paranoid, and a tear-jerking ‘The End’ plastered on the big screens, it’s time to say goodbye to arguably the most important band in heavy metal, the forefathers of everything you see here. Though it might not have been the best we’ve ever seen Black Sabbath, there is an overwhelming sense of importance, that we were there, the very last time the godfathers of heavy metal played the most iconic location in heavy metal. It almost makes you want to get a commemorative tattoo. Or, you could go snatch up a ticket for their final UK tour dates EVER. Whimper. Sniff. Sabbath – we will miss you, always.
Despite a day of heavy downpours over a now very boggy Donington Park (yes yes, we’ve heard the monikers… Drownload… Downpour Festival…), thousands of expectant faces are turned towards the main stage for tonight’s headliner – German heavy metal powerhouse, Rammstein. There’s nothing quite like a side of S&M or pyrotechnics alongside learning how to count to vier whilst headbanging, and Rammstein promise a whole lot more than just their stage show.
As a cinematic countdown begins, video screens send a message “Enjoy the show, please do not be preoccupied with recording it” and instantly Go-Pro’s are thrust into the air on ridiculous, view-ruining monopods. I mean come on, what the hell are you actually going to do with that footage man?
Regardless of the moronathon, Rammstein smash their way onstage as only they can – with giant showoff billowing clouds of pink smoke, which when combined with the ongoing drizzle turns quickly into a spatter of blood on anyone wearing lighter than black outfits. First up new song Ramm 4 sees giant firework laden platforms lowering guitarists Kruspe and Landers onto the stage and the always enigmatic frontman Till Lindemann emerges in a childcatcher-esque outfit and his patent white painted face.
The stage look for Rammstein has always been industrial but this time steps over into the cyborg realm with giant stage-high light bars which respond to the band’s instruments. Reise, Reise is absolutely gut churningly heavy, and Till sports a very fetching duffel coat over his flash-bang adorned waistcoat which explodes, quite obviously right in his face. How this band have not sustained more serious pyrotechnic related injuries I’ll never know.
The electronic intro bleeps for Feuer Frei raise an enormouse guttural roar from the crowd, and there is no shortage of actual fire alongside the music, their signature flamethrowing face cages are everything Batman’s Bane wishes he was. Keyboardist/freak on a leash Lorenz is hastily shoved into a box after being dragged around the floor, emerging later in an extremely spangly sequined suit to walk off his horrors on a treadmill whilst Till wields a giant flaming arc that sort of looks like a crossbow. You really couldn’t make it up. A crackly speaker on the right side of the stage threatens to dull Mein Hertz Brennt but as Till’s heart (flare) lights up, every single person in the arena is singing their lungs raw. Following up with Links 2, 3, 4 this is shaping up to be a stellar performance from Rammstein.
Guitar flamethrowers, fireballs erupting from the sound tent in the middle of the crowd and zip-wire fireworks streaking back and forth – every time you think you’ve seen it all, Rammstein amp it up a little more. Ich Will has everyone yelling back the required replies ‘Wir hören dich’ and so on, Du Hast is heavier than a heavy thing and Depeche Mode cover Stripped just couldn’t sound more seedy than in a German accent.
For the Encore, we are treated to the completely epic Sonne followed by an acoustic Ohne Dich but it’s Till’s ascension into angel-dom that is the real icing on this weird and wonderful cake. Giant metal wings loaded with white sparking fireworks lift Till into the air above the stage floor for Engel and it is motherlovin’ glorious. Leaving us with a brief “Thank you. Danke schoen, you’re amazing” the stage erupts in a backdrop of massive rocket fireworks and the arena is engulfed in smoke. There’s nothing more to say except that Rammstein are arguably one of the best metal acts of our time and here’s hoping they don’t leave it too long before returning with even more incredible shows.
Download Festival, the world’s premier rock and metal event, adds another 14 acts to an already huge bill, including All Time Low, The Temperance Movement, The Wildhearts, and Napalm Death. Download Festival takes place on 10-12 June 2016 in Donington Park. Tickets are on sale now.
Joining headliners Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden for three days of unmissable rock are All Time Low. With over 1.1 million sales and more than 100 million Youtube views, the US pop-punk rockers are riding high after the last album, Future Hearts topped the UK charts at the end of 2015.
Returning to their Midlands roots are British grindcore pioneers Napalm Death. Since forming in 1981, Napalm Death have gone on to influence a legion of hardcore fans and musicians alike, they’ll be joined by Geordie punk rockers The Wildhearts whose original member Ginger will be returning to the line up after various solo projects.
Californian skate punk legends, Pennywise, will play Download Festival for the first time in over 10 years, headlining the third stage on Saturday. Their speedy and infectiously catchy punk anthems will ensure everyone knows why they are still one of the most relevant forces in punk today.
Bringing some powerful blues-rock to the festival’s Lemmy Stage, will be critically acclaimed The Temperance Movement, whose recent UK tour was lauded as one of the highlights of rock already this year. Currently one of the rock community’s most revered underground bands Glassjaw, will be making their debut Download appearance in June. The post-punk innovators have recently debuted six brand new songs and will be bringing their unmissable east coast underground sound to Download.
Texan hard-rockers Scorpion Child will be joining the line-up to showcase their 1970s Krautrock and Psychedelia inspired metal sound as will Scandinavian garage-rock band Royal Republic. Making their Download debuts are trans-Atlantic blues, rock and soul quartet Buck & Evans. Joining them and tipping their hat to the likes of Mastodon and Avenged Sevenfold are Scattering Ashes and psych-rockers Weirds who will be bringing their trademark energetic and eclectic show to Download.
Metalcore supergroup, Devil You Know, brings together John Sankey, Francesco Artusato, Howard Jones and Logan Mader to create a blinding sound. Their latest album Stay of Execution was released at the end of last year, ready to be executed to the Download crowd this summer.
UK’s own The Raven Age will be joining the line up fresh off the back of supporting Download’s own headliners Iron Maiden on their 2016 world tour as will The Shrine who’ll be bringing their LA skater vibes to Donington.
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.