Download TV announce virtual festival lineup

Download Festival, the UK’s premier rock event, announces the massive line up for Download TV, a virtual festival available via Download Festival’s official social channels, and YouTube across 12-14 June 2020, for one weekend only!
 
Whilst Downloaders might not be on the sacred grounds of Donington Park, the weekend will not be lost as Download Festival brings hours of music, special interviews, unseen performances, exclusive footage and so much more to screens of any size. The weekend will be split into day and evening, where the day will be everything that celebrates the spirit of Download Festival, and the evening brings 2 to 3 hours of tailormade programming where Downloaders can tune in and rock out.
 
Headlining YouTube on the Friday night will be KISS, giving Downloaders a replay of standout moments from their mammoth 2015 set. On the Saturday, the mind-blowing Iron Maiden are bringing something very special to your screens, with nostalgic performances, Legacy Of The Beast snippets, and something just for Download TV. Finally, on the Sunday night, we take you through System Of A Down’s history at Download Festival with performances from 2005, 2011, and 2017, proving why they’re one of the best metal bands in history. Fans can subscribe to Download TV on YouTube here now.
 
Other performances across the weekend that will be shown exclusively via YouTube will come from KornDeftonesBabymetalFrank Carter & The RattlesnakesCreeperThe OffspringBlues PillsAlter BridgeThe Pretty RecklessFuneral For A FriendVolbeatThe DarknessBowling For Soup, and loads more, including some very special guests.
 
The day time activities are for the fans to be as interactive as they can be. From cookalongs with MasterChef Simon Wood, vegan superstars BOSH, and the hilarious Nat’s What I Reckon who comes to us from Australia, LIVE artist Q&As, lockdown performances, tutorials, mindfulness sessions, and even content that the Downloaders themselves have provided.
 
Downloaders are encouraged to put tents up in the garden, wear Download merch, dress as your favourite hero, send in photos and videos – the weekend is about the fans and celebrating the Download community.
 
Download Festival would like to remind everyone to stay safe, stay home and save lives – practice safe social distancing and follow government guidelines.
 
For updates, please visit Download Festival’s WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.
ARTISTS APPEARING IN DOWNLOAD TV
 

KISS
IRON MAIDEN
SYSTEM OF A DOWN

Alestorm
Alter Bridge
Babymetal
Baroness
Black Futures
Black Veil Brides
Bowling For Soup
Bush
Creeper
Deftones
Disturbed
Employed To Serve
Fozzy
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
Funeral For A Friend
Gojira
Holding Absence
Killswitch Engage
Korn
Lacuna Coil
Loathe
Mastodon
Motionless In White
NXT UK
Periphery
Poppy
Powerwolf
Skillet
Steel Panther
The Darkness
The Hara
The Offspring
The Pretty Reckless
The Wildhearts
Theory
Twin Temple
Volbeat
Wage War
Wayward Sons

DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL Announces Second Run Of Bands For 2020

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 announce 2020 headliners

Download Festival, the world’s premier rock event, has announced IRON MAIDENKISS and SYSTEM OF A DOWN as its 2020 headliners, plus Deftones, KornThe Offspring, Disturbed and more of the world’s most exciting bands in rock, pop punk, hardcore and metal yet to be announced. The three-day festival takes place 12 – 14 June 2020 at the spiritual home of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire. Tickets will be on sale at 2pm on Wednesday 25th September via downloadfestival.co.uk/tickets.

IRON MAIDEN will return to Donington next year to headline Download Festival on Saturday night, in what will be one of only two homecoming UK festival shows in 2020. The London band have had countless No.1 records, including their most recent studio double album, 2015’s The Book Of Souls, in over 40 countries, as well as being hailed as one of the greatest live acts of all time. They’ve spent the summer on their historic and critically acclaimed Legacy Of The Beast North American tour, based on their award winning mobile game of the same name, which has been deemed by fans and national and rock media alike as ‘Maiden’s most monumental show and best setlist ever’ so get ready Downloaders, this is one performance you won’t want to miss.

 

Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson says, “Next year we will play a number of countries and cities we have yet to visit on this incredible tour, so it is terrific to be able to accept the invitation to return to Download in 2020 and we will certainly go to town and add a few extra items to the show. This will be our seventh time headlining at Donington Park. It’s home turf and we all really enjoy playing this Festival, the vibe from the crowd is always fantastic.”

After an epic and well documented 45-year career that launched an era of rock’n roll, the legendary KISS will perform in the UK at Download Festival 2020, in a UK Exclusive. They embarked on their final ever tour earlier this year under the appropriately named END OF THE ROADand known for their trademark larger-than-life blistering performances, KISS have proven for decades why they are hands down the most iconic live show in rock’n roll, and one of the best headliners Donington has ever seen. With more than 100 million albums sold worldwide, it won’t just be KISS Army fans who will be blown away with their final Download performance next year.

“I’ve said it before, Download Festival audiences are the best. They are up for whatever is thrown at them.  KISS is going to come fully prepared to rock their world in 2020 to say Thank You for always showing up for us.” – Gene Simmons, KISS

“Download will be the culmination of 47 years of unapologetic bombast and spectacle. We will make this a fitting farewell to a country and its people whose music remains the blood in our veins.” – Paul Stanley, KISS

Also headlining Download Festival 2020 will be SYSTEM OF A DOWN in a UK Exclusive. With just 5 studio albums, the Californian/Armenian band have earned themselves a worldwide following, never failing to put on a mind-blowing performance.

Shavo Odadjian, System of A Down said: “From our appearances to many of my favorite bands’, Castle Donington has always had a special place in my heart. We’re proud and excited to continue its legacy.”

Since Deftones’ inception, the multi-platinum, Grammy-Winning alternative rock band from Sacramento have released seven albums and sold over 10 million albums worldwide which include fan-favourite tracks ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’, ‘Change (House Of Flies)’, and ‘Swerve City’.

Drummer Abe Cunningham said: “Download has been a big part of our history.  The fans and organisers have always shown us so much love and support, so when the opportunity to play arises, we answer the call!”

With the release of their 13th studio album, THE NOTHING last week, Korn will be joining the Download 2020 line up. The two-time Grammy Award winning band have toured the world countless times and have continued to push the limits of the rock, alternative and metal genres, while remaining a pillar of influence for legions of fans and generations of artists around the globe.

Korn guitarist, James ‘Munky’ Shaffer: “I’m extremely anxious and enthusiastic at the same time, but I’m looking forward to getting back out there and returning to Download!”

Punk rioters The Offspring are heading to Download Festival bringing with them punk rock anthems that include ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)’, ‘You’re Gonna Go Far Kid’, ‘Self Esteem’, and dozens more.

Also joining the line up are Gojira, the French metallers who have become famous for their sonically dense sounds and bludgeoning heavy rhythms. The hard-hitting, multi-platinum-selling Disturbed are returning to Donington with their aggressive blend of hard rock, alternative, and nu-metal. The band exploded onto the scene in 2000 with ‘Down With The Sickness’, and last year released their seventh album Evolution which reached the top 10 around the globe.

Hollywood hard rock act Black Veil Brides will make their anticipated UK return. Renowned for their explosive live shows and tenacious fans, the five-piece have worked tirelessly to create a scene of their own. Last year saw the release of their fifth studio album Vale, which landed at #1 on the US Top Hard Rock Billboard Chart.

Grammy nominated US alternative rock band Daughtry also join the line-up, following the success of last year’s album Cage To Rattle. Fronted by American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry, the band has sold over 8 million albums and 16 million singles, alongside selling out tours globally.

With a new album looming this Friday, Of Mice & Men have been dominating stages for over a decade and have had a disciple like following every step of the way that will undoubtedly follow them to Donington next year.  Everyone’s favourite pirates, Alestorm are jumping ship to the hallowed grounds of Download Festival once again, bringing with them their pirate metal and perhaps their giant inflatable duck.

Download 2016 – FULL REVIEW!

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

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.

Check out our full Rammstein review HERE

SATURDAY

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.

Check out our full Black Sabbath review HERE

SUNDAY

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.

Read our full Iron Maiden review HERE

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…

All photographs © A. Hyams, please do not use without permission.

Iron Maiden – Download 2016 Review

Well, the arena is awash with the kind of sludge you dream up monsters emerging from and everyone we pass is in varying states of ‘fuck-it’ at this point. Little has been done to calm the quagmire overnight it seems and as the rain poured steadily throughout the day (and then horrifically during Nightwish’s set) there are actual rivers becoming moats between the stages. If you were the guy throwing yourself down the hill with wild abandon after the first falling-over incident, because why the hell not – you sir, I salute you.

However, it is with sheer luck that we stand here tonight waiting for Iron Maiden and only a tiny speckle of rain is upon us… obviously the weather-gods knew that we’d need to ditch our umbrellas to properly rock out for this. As the sky begins to darken and the thousands upon thousands of bodies cram the main stage area, a Mayan temple backdrop and stage set are unveiled which look rather like a section of The Crystal Maze. Bruce materializes from the centre stage gangway for If Eternity Should Fail and below him Nikko takes to his drum nook to begin the show. Seriously – a drum nook. It sounds like something I should have at home.

Yelling “England, how the fuck are you?” was probably only going to incite sarcasm at this juncture, as the soggy crowd snark back “fucking wet”, but Bruce has probably spent his afternoon in a cushy hotel following his flight over on Ed Force One. With visuals of the plane being hurled out of jungle vines by Eddie and a raft of fire cannons going off, it’s clear Maiden are going to put on the kind of show we were hoping for and as the notes ring out for Children of the Damned it’s pretty much a given that Bruce has lost none of the power or range after his surgery for throat cancer.

Dubbing it ‘Downpour festival’ Bruce seems to be keen on interacting with the crowd more this tour, quipping “I usually have a go at people texting in the pit… and I look down and it's our fucking manager! What a cunt! He has a hotline to the weather… we said please stop the rain for Maiden”. Though we are British and used to a rain-lashing at Download, it is pretty nice to not watch through the crackle of a crap poncho.

Next up is Tears of a Clown – a song written about and dedicated to the late Robin Williams, a song Bruce says the band “never thought they’d play live”, followed by The Red and The Black. I mean, I know it’s a stop on The Book of Souls tour, but they really are going heavy on the new album songs. It seems a shame that anyone new to Maiden here won’t get to fully experience the complete rush of hearing 85 thousand people singing along to every single word of every single song. The new tracks just haven’t sunk in yet.

Not to worry too much though, as The Trooper – with Bruce in his red jacket racing around the stage with his flag, is absolutely brilliant as always, leading into heavy Powerslave. Hallowed Be Thy Name is shouted into the night by everyone in the arena and Fear Of the Dark is accompanied by the traditional ‘ooohs’ and what once were lighters held aloft is now a sea of phone screens.

Some joking about monkeys, a very unstable Eddie (on stilts) and many “Scream for me Donington”’s aside, it’s been a non-stop show, and as a flipping GIANT Eddie head emerges from the back of the stage to stare his red eyes out into the crowd, we know that we still have twenty minutes and an epic encore to go.

Joining the band on stage for Number Of The Beast is… well, the beast. Sporting a sometimes crooked set of horns and a countenance reminiscent of battle-worn teachers during ofsted, the giant bust oversees a rampage of fire from the stage and sound tent. There’s something cathartic about screaming “666” into the sky with thousands of other people, maybe it’s the teenage rebel inside.

Bruce tells us “We’ve done this six times… frankly it’s got to stop.” to a rousing ‘boooo’ from everyone in the arena, but a promise of a giant stadium show next year for 80 thousand people (it’s definitely Wembley then…) raises a roar of appreciation. Going on to talk about the fresh news of the awful mass shooting in Orlando this weekend as “Senseless and stupid” Bruce assures us that “Maiden is one big musical family…. I don’t care what gender, what colour, what creed, what religion…” which gets the biggest applause of the night from this crowd many of whom are on the margins of society in everyday life themselves. Bruce also speaks of the Bataclan attack and urges everyone to not be like that and retaliate but to spread “music and love” instead, saying “…my friends, we are all Blood Brothers” bringing them around to one of Maiden’s grandest showpiece songs. The magnitude of the meaning is not lost on anyone, after the horrific reports we have seen on the internet today.

With a starry night backdrop and a circle of stars around Eddie’s head (which could be mistaken for an EU reference if we were looking for one…) Maiden finish up with Wasted Years which also seems especially poignant. “It’s more of a heavy metal waltz this one” jokes Bruce, but it does seem odd to end on such a sombre note, without fanfare or fireworks, just a quick “We will be back next year” and the standard Monty Python Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, to usher us from the arena. Traipsing through the sticky mess of swamp and chair-graveyards towards the exits, we are leaving with a sense of elation that always comes with Maiden shows – you know you’ve just seen something extraordinary, and that is worth all the mud you could have thrown at us.

All photographs © A. Hyams, please do not use without permission.

Download Festival announces even more bands for 2016

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.

Iron Maiden to headline Download 2016

Download Festival 2016, the UK’s ultimate rock festival is back, announcing IRON MAIDEN as festival closing headliners on Sunday 12 June 2016. The 3 day rock and metal fest is set to take place on 10-12 June 2016 at the spiritual home of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire.

IRON MAIDEN will make a spectacular return to Download Festival on Sunday 12 June to headline the final day of Download Festival, their only UK show of 2016. The band will fly in to East Midlands Airport on their enormous Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet Ed Force One, piloted by Bruce Dickinson and carrying band, crew, stage production and equipment over 55,000 miles around the world, visiting 35 countries on The Book Of Souls World Tour.

Bruce comments:
 
Download is a very special place for us. Not just because it’s always great to play on home turf but because there’s a truly unique vibe there, it’s the very heart of England and of Metal, so a fitting place for Iron Maiden! The crowd is always fiercely passionate and the whole band feeds off that famous Donington energy. We aim to deliver a really memorable show for our fans to close the 2016 Festival. Although this is our sixth time headlining at Castle Donington, it’s the first time we’ve been able to land Ed Force One right on the doorstep of the Festival site!”
 
“We haven't decided on the set list as yet and won’t until we start rehearsing but we really look forward to playing a number of new songs live, especially as the recording was so much live. However, as it’s been a while since we saw you all, I am sure we will include plenty of older fan favourites too. I think the fans will be delighted by what we have in mind. We are also in the middle of creating the new show and rest assured we are working hard to bring you all something spectacular, something with a lot of heart!!! You certainly deserve it for your patience. “

Sonisphere Review 2014

Sonisphere made a triumphant return after being cancelled for the past two years, due to a mix of financial problems, getting the right line up and bad luck. So this year it was time for Sonisphere to pick back up and the people of Sonisphere to finally reunite. A weekend of The Prodigy, Iron Maiden, Metallica from fist pumping to moshing, circle pits to expensive beer, dam good burritos, disgusting toilets and pretty good weather these past few days have been incredible. 

The layout of this years main arena was a fantastic and cleaver set up with the two main stages (Apollo stage and Saturn stage) opposite each other, being such a small festival fans could easily move from one to another within a few minutes. If stood in between the two stages there were some spots which you could see both stages from a reasonable distance. I believed this helped promote the bands on the second stage (Saturn stage) more as it wasn't any effort to switch between the two stages. To walk around the whole festival aswell has having a cheeky look into some of the market stalls it would take around ten minutes. 

The market and food stalls have an excellent selection to choose from. The market stalls include festival clothes, festival gear, temporary tattoos, face paint, shoe stalls, as well as tones more. Food wise, Sonisphere went a little on the gourmet/ bohemian style food, with the desert bar, the Hippy chippy, I <3 Ostrich and Milkshake bars. However there has been an uproar on the expense of the beer. Being at £4.90 a pint and allowing no alcohol of your own into the main area this proved to be a disappointment to the people of Sonisphere

Friday
Tents up and the sun shining Defiled kicking off this years main stage, this wasn't there only slot, they also performed Nivarna covers on the Bohemia stage later on in the weekend. Next up Anti Flag, who enticed the audience by making them sing back, clap their hands, and of course start circle pits. Without a doubt Anti Flags audience participation was defiantly there. As well as getting the crowd involved witty banter from lead singer Chris Baker shouts "the mother fucking pink power ranger wasn't singing, don't you dare fuck this up for the rest of us." Their last song 'Power to the Peaceful' was performed with Chris surrounded by the crowd. HIM singing behind their signature brand image, I believe there could of been more enthusiasm from the band it's self as there was very little audience participation which let there performance down. Limp Bizkit started out by saying "Now you know what time it really fucking is? Limp Bizkit in the house, you ready for this" 'Rollin' starting their set everyone stood up and began moshing and head banging. A lot of toilet roll was thrown around the crowd, was this a sign of a bad performance or just typical festival discourse? Awkwardly saying it was Saturday when in fact it was Friday, there were a few other blips throughout the set. "You guys ready to get you're Saturday night on?" Left the crowd a little silent and confused. But this was styled out with a cover of George Michael's Faith. To finish was the first headliner of the weekend, The Prodigy. Lights and smoke filled the stage, building the suspense for the fans. The atmosphere was electrifying, hands were in the air, everyone was dancing, and when it begin to rain during the second song this was a massive relief (especially to the sunburnt people) after the insanely hot weather that whole day. Thunder was slowed down and changed to fit the crowd which was good as it was a metal festival but made Prodigy loose abit of its originality.  

Saturday 
Alestorm took the Saturn stage early this morning and with pirate metal being such a niche market the turn out was pretty big. Fans embraced the music and danced to fit the genre. Alestorms advice to the crowd was "Let's drink a lot of shit." Baby Metal blew everyone away at this years festival, if they were to receive a on award from the crowds feedback, it would defiantly be most upcoming band of the year. The three sweet Japanese young looking trio contrasted with the hard metal instrumental but it worked and was a fantastic performance that everyone couldn't stop talking about and was singing the whole weekend. The bands visuals spoke of no bullying and not hurting one another this may have been contradictory after the trio then told the crowd to do the wall of death. Ghost gave out a passionate performance and excelled on there on stage presence which the band is recognised for. Lead singer Papa Emeritus mimics the Roman Catholic Pope although the greatest difference is the anti Christ symbol on his head piece, the image representing the worship of Satan. The guitarist were also dressed mimicking Priest. Anthrax turn out was pretty much the same as an a headliner maybe this is a hint for Sonisphere in the future, but this wasn't there only set, on Friday they played their 'Playing Among the Living' on the Bohemia Stage but the tent was packed full the security had to monitor people going in and out of the tent. Their main stage performance, the crowd was really going for it. Sonisphere sure did love Anthrax. Deftones and Slayer both had similar audience engagement, everyone was moshing, circle pits were forming and head banging was taken place which concluded these two bands really pulled it off. If you weren't in an Iron Maiden top for today then you would stick out like a saw thumb because literally everyone had them on. Overhearing a lot of people talking about Bruce Dickinson and were jokes going round that every plane that flew past, it was Bruce flying it, (even if it was an easy jet plane.) To end the day of this crazy line up, Iron Maiden took the stage and completely ripped it apart. The visuals were continuously changed throughout the set, with Eddie in his few forms. "It's you that's makes it real" Bruce proposes to the crowd. Lights, fire, sparks, everything and more in a performance you could wish for, this was by far the performance that completely owned this years Sonisphere.
 
Sunday
Sadly the last day of Sonisphere, but the wait for Metallica tonight was sure to hold the crowd up from their hangovers. After Gojira noticed the crowds half hearted dancing (as this was an early set,) they soon got the crowd back up, by shouting, "Still a little sleepy, let's makes some noise," which woke the crowd up and circle pits started appearing and more fist pumping was taking place. Devin Townsend Project was all about the love at this years Sonisphere as he told the crowd, "Group hug everybody, it's all about the love." Devin pulled off a fantastic performance and even hinted he may be back next year. "Maybe see you next year, love you all, see you and have a good night." Airbourne hitting the stage next and we all know this is going to be an exciting performance after the expectations of Joel O'Keefee goings on, on stage. Airbourne completely took the stage and had everyone gripped. "Even though the toilets are leaking, you lot still having a good time…You lot look great, you are rock and roll." As of tradition Joel did start climbing the scaffolding of the main stage and began to swing his guitar about whilst up in the air. At the end of the set Joel kindly threw a few beers into the crowd. Reel Big Fish on next, the crowd did experience about a minute worth of sound missing from the main speakers but the bands humour and charm pulled this off. The song 'Fuck You', resulted in "47 fucks in a row." Everyone was soon up singing and dancing when they played a cover of Ah Ha's Take On Me. Alice in Chains on before the final headliner of Soniphere was another kickass performance. "How you doing Knebworth?" got the crowd buzzing and was a consistent performance from start to finish. Wrapping up this years Sonisphere Metallica held the fans waiting a eager 15 minutes after their scheduled time. This really built up the climax to the final big performance. Typically some great facial expressions from James Hetfield as they played fans request for the set list. The bands classics were played along with their new songs Lords of Summer which seems a little strange that this was requested, but the bands performance was truly astonishing. The visuals and props were a little disappointing at the beginning but this got better as balloons and lasers appeared later on in the set. 

This years Sonisphere was a thrilling return and a complete success. Lets hope Sonisphere lives up to its amazing weekends like this one for the future. 

Iron Maiden Review at Sonisphere 2014

Stamping his mark early today Bruce Dickinson flew his WW1 plane around the festival which hypnotized the crowd, this surly got Sonisphere ready for Iron Maiden's two hour set. Different to the spitfire flying across at last years Download although this year Bruce flew himself. Iron Maiden tops worn by every other person today proved the people of Sonisphere were very excited about this set. The bands opening started with the screens showing ice burgs which had a link to there wintery stage set visuals. "Start Moon Child" kicked off the set and kicked off the crowd as well. Backdrops were different to each song and signature Eddie appeared in his few different forms. One being with his head blow off and fire coming out to top off Iron Maiden's, Iron Maiden. A few other of their hits kept the crowd engaged from the start to finish of the set; 'Can I Play With Madness', 'Aces High', 'Seven Sun of the Seven Suns' and lastly but certainly not least, 'Sanctuary'. Fire, bright lights, sparks and fireworks fled the stage all the way though the set making it even more spectacular than it was. The bands image was interesting as they wore there own merchandise tops so they pretty much matched the crowd. Nearly everyone was singing along, even children which proves Iron Maiden's legacy to carry on this timeless, classic band to even noughties / teenies kids. This by far was he best performance seen at Sonisphere so far, can anyone else pull this off on Sunday?

Photo courtesy of Sonisphere

Sonisphere 2014 Day Splits announced plus more artists!

You can now start planning your Sonisphere itinerary as we present to you the day splits for this years summer festival which takes place at the legendary venue Knebworth Park.

We have also got a list of fourteen new bands which will join the massive lineup headlined by The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Metallica.

Announced today we have, Gary Numan, Band of Skulls, Carcass, New Model Army, The Winery Dogs, The Bronx, Gallows, 65DaysOfStatic, Sebastian Bach, Chiodos, Bam Margera's Fuckface Unstoppable, Anti Nowhere League, Little Matador & The Lounge Kittens.

See the day splits below:

Friday
 
APOLLO STAGE:
 
THE PRODIGY
LIMP BIZKIT
BAND OF SKULLS
GARY NUMAN
ANTI-FLAG
THE DEFILED
 
BOHEMIA & OTHER STAGES:
 
ELECTRIC WIZARD
65DAYSOFSTATIC
DEVIL YOU KNOW
BAM  MARGERA'S FUCKFACE UNSTOPPABLE
YASHIN   
CARNIFEX
BRUTALITY WILL PREVAIL
HOUNDS  
LITTLE MATADOR
 
Saturday
 
APOLLO STAGE:
IRON MAIDEN
DEFTONES
FRANK TURNER & THE SLEEPING SOULS
ANTHRAX
GHOST
 
SATURN STAGE:
SLAYER
CARCASS
THE WINERY DOGS
CHAS & DAVE
ALESTORM
 
BOHEMIA & OTHER STAGES:
THE SISTERS OF MERCY
NEW MODEL ARMY
DOG EAT DOG PLAYING ALL BORO KINGS
SEBASTIAN BACH   
WILKO JOHNSON
THE VIRGINMARYS    
RECKLESS LOVE  
BLITZ KIDS   
STAMPIN GROUND   
TURBOWOLF  
VOODOO SIX   
THE HELL
 
Sunday
 
APOLLO STAGE:
METALLICA
ALICE IN CHAINS
MASTODON
AIRBOURNE
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT
GOJIRA
 
SATURN STAGE:
DREAM THEATER
DROPKICK MURPHYS
REEL BIG FISH
KARNIVOOL  
PROTEST THE HERO
 
BOHEMIA & OTHER STAGES:
THE BRONX
GALLOWS
CHIODOS  
KERBDOG
BLACK SPIDERS  
TRUCKFIGHTERS
SILVERSTEIN  
THE CADILLAC THREE
ONLY CRIME
ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE
ITCH  
KROKODIL