Download Festival, the world’s premier rock event, has announced KISS, BIFFY CLYRO and SYSTEM OF A DOWN as its 2021 headliners, plus many more of the world’s most exciting bands in rock, punk, hardcore and metal including Deftones, KORN, Steel Panther and The Distillers will return for Download 2021, with even more yet to be announced. The three-day festival takes place on 4-6 June 2021 at the spiritual home of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire. Tickets will go on sale at 9am on Friday 7 August via downloadfestival.co.uk/tickets.
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 2021, in a UK Exclusive. They embarked on their final ever tour in 2019 under the appropriately named END OF THE ROAD, and 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, 2020 was due to be their final ever Download appearance, but due to COVID-19 they’ll be bringing their spellbinding show to the hallowed grounds in 2021 instead.
Also headlining Download Festival 2020 will be SYSTEM OF A DOWN, also in a UK Exclusive. With just five studio albums, the Californian/Armenian band have earned themselves a worldwide following, never failing to put on a mind-blowing performance.
System Of A Down bassist Shavo Odadjian says: “We’re disappointed we weren’t able to make it over this year, but we’re looking forward to next. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Mostly, we all just want to make sure everyone is provided with a safe and secure environment, so we were prepared to wait as long as we needed to.”
Returning to Donington after their fantastic headline set in 2017 are Scottish rock titans Biffy Clyro, who will headline the festival once again in 2021. With the band set to release their ninth studio album, A Celebration Of Endings, this month, the trio will be keen to show off new tracks as well as some of their most well-known hits, including ‘The Captain’, ‘Mountains’ and ‘Many Of Horror’.
In addition to the brilliant acts who have continued over from 2020, Download are delighted to announce several new additions to the line up, along with Biffy Clyro, including the mighty Steel Panther, pop punk kings A Day To Remember, the mysterious Creeper, who have recently returned from hiatus, punk legends Rise Against, internet sensation Poppy, and many more.
Returning to Donington in 2021 are Deftones. Since their 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’.
Biffy Clyro said: “We can’t wait to return to headline Download in 2021! It’s a highlight of the festival calendar and a big part of our history as a band. Headlining in 2017 was special and now it’s time to celebrate again! Fuck on!”
With 13 albums behind them already, KORN will be back too. 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.
Also returning are the one and only The Darkness, LA punk rockers The Distillers, Hollywood favourites Black Veil Brides, Scottish pirate metallers Alestorm, Maryland death metallers Dying Fetus, metalcore heroes Killswitch Engage, Brazilian heavy metallers Sepultura, Welsh icons Funeral For A Friend in their last ever festival appearance, and many more.
KISS Biffy Clyro System Of A Down A.A. Williams A Day To Remember Airbourne Alestorm Anchor Lane Baroness Blackout Problems Black Veil Brides Bleed From Within Blues Pills Bokassa Bush Cellar Door Moon Crow Cemetery Sun Control The Storm Creeper Daughtry Dead Label Dead Posey Deftones Dirty Honey Dying Fetus Electric Wizard Employed To Serve Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Funeral For A Friend Gender Roles Gojira Haken Hatari Higher Power Holding Absence Hot Milk Killswitch Engage Kill The Lights KORN Jamie Lenman JJ Wilde Joyous Wolf Lacuna Coil Loathe Lotus Eater Marianas Trench Mastodon Modern Error Myles Kennedy & Company Obituary Of Mice & Men Phoxjaw P.O.D. Poppy Powerwolf Press Club Rise Against Sepultura Skillet Sleep Token Spiritbox Steel Panther Stone Broken Temples On Mars Tempt Theory The Darkness The Distillers The Faim The Hara The Pretty Reckless The Wildhearts Those Damn Crows Tiny Moving Parts Twin Temple Volbeat Wage War Wargasm Wayward Sons Will Haven
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 Korn, Deftones, Babymetal, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Creeper, The Offspring, Blues Pills, Alter Bridge, The Pretty Reckless, Funeral For A Friend, Volbeat, The Darkness, Bowling 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.
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, the world’s premier rock event, has announced IRON MAIDEN, KISS and SYSTEM OF A DOWN as its 2020 headliners, plus Deftones, Korn, The 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 viadownloadfestival.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 ROAD, and 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.
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…
Download Festival announce an incredible six acts added to the line up for next years’ festival; Korn, Motörhead, Deftones, Megadeth, Nightwish and Disturbed join the already announced UK show exclusive headliners; Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Rammstein, as Download Festival returns for its 14th year to Donington park on 10,11 and 12 June 2016.
True pioneers of the whole Nu-Metal era, Korn will play Friday 10 June at Download Festival. Jonathan Davis, Munky, Head, Fieldy and Ray will bring that signature rumble to the spiritual home of rock. Their highly anticipated 12th studio album is due for release this year, ahead of what is a welcomed return to Donington. After a tumultuous few years, and fresh from the release of Bad Magic, the mighty Motörhead, the ultimate British rock ‘n’ roll institution, will play Download Festival on Friday 10 June. The pure embodiment of a rock – front man Ian Fraser 'Lemmy' Kilmister will bring swagger and attitude, and we’re certain of a few things – there will be No Sleep Till’ Donington, they are Motörhead, and they play rock'n'roll like no other.
Alternative rock mainstays, Deftones join an already mind-blowing Saturday line up. With the highly anticipated release of their eighth studio album, Deftones will bring a live show of epic proportions to the hallowed grounds of Donington next year. The Sacramento quintet have evolved since their inception, but inarguably they maintain the essential soundtrack to all hardcore fans. Deftones are Chino Moreno, Stephen Carpenter, Frank Delgado, Abe Cunningham and Sergio Vega. Metal veterans, Megadeth, release their 15th album Dystopia early next year, which will no doubt excite the fans ahead of their Saturday performance at Download Festival.
On Sunday 11 June, symphonic operatic metallers, Nightwish, come with heavy guitars, intense instrumentals and edgy duet vocals from Floor Jansen and Marco Hietala. Their hypnotising take on metal melodrama will no doubt lure the crowds to Donington next year. Returning from their hiatus, Disturbed released the epic Immortalized in August this year, a long awaited album of epic proportions proving that their live show next year will be nothing short of unmissable. Now resurrected – their dark metal craft and distinctive sound claimed the number 1 album spot in the US. Disturbed are: David Draiman, John Moyer, Dan Donegan, and Mike Wengren.
Avid weather watching and ultimate festival preparation was indeed necessary for this year’s Download Festival at the legendary Donington Racetrack, as the masses were simultaneously sunburnt and soaked, we thank the grand old British climate for a mostly acceptable atmosphere in which to rock. In it’s eleventh year, Download Festival draws in the metal hordes, clad in anything black, denim, ripped and studded, for a weekend of extraordinary music and warm beer.
Heading into the arena on Friday, the familiar sights and smells wash over us (portaloos, expensive burgers, eau de camping) with one particular very obvious addition – the zipline. Even at this time people are queuing up to spend fifteen smackers for thirty seconds of extreme wedgie, it’s baffling. I suppose the view is good from up there though. At the Zippo Encore Stage nearest the arena entrance, legendary hard-rocker heroes Uriah Heep draw an absolutely massive crowd and play a storming set that would have you think you’re at the ’82 heyday Monsters of Rock, not 2013 Download. Screaming “Where were you back in nineteen seventy seven?” frontman Mick Box smiles at the blank stares of all those who weren’t born yet, and pushes on with ‘Gypsy’ and some serious shredding. Despite the very recent and death of bassist Trevor Bolder, the band put on a great show and leave the stage with an outtro of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ just to cement their homegrown status.
Over on the main stage, Yorkshire metalcore kids Asking Alexandria spin damp fans in the rain into a frenzy, whilst London based power metal heavyweights Dragonforce are beset with shoddy sound for the first few songs. Despite this they ride rambunctiously through ‘Through the Fire and Flames’ and new track ‘Cry Thunder’ is punchy enough (and almost ironic enough, in the current conditions) to gain instant earworm status. Herman Li’s frankly beautiful hair blows in the wind as he and Sam Totman shred harmoniously in their distinctive style and the crowd joins in for the chorus. Main stage emotions are running high as Papa Roach create circle-pits and drive the hits ‘… To Be Loved’ and ‘Last Resort’, and the second stage area is awash with Swedish flags for Stockholm rockers Europe. After a hugely entertaining and musically engaging set, the inevitable party-piece ‘The Final Countdown’ is final-ly rolled out, to which the crowd goes wild. It’s more comedy than it is song now, but boy do we Brits love a good cheesy anthem.
Korn, though intensely self-aware and at times quite comical, are actually rather good and manage to draw the largest crowd of the daytime. Head honcho Jonathan Davis’ looks like he’s having a fit whilst dancing/headbanging through ‘Blind’ and ‘Falling Away From Me’, but it’s ‘Coming Undone’ that really gets the audience thrashing. An unnecessary ten minute bagpipe interval (of which Davis really only plays a few notes, it’s like… if Deep Purple went highlander…) leaves a lot of confused faces, and more than a few people groan when the dubstep part hits, however, fan favourite ‘Freak On A Leash’ brings them back.
3 Doors Down do a sterling job making the afternoon light with their particular brand of American Rock, with a fun cover of Megadeth’s ‘Symphony of Destruction’ and Gypsy Punk crazies Gogol Bordello have everyone up and skanking to their weird and wonderful accordion packed sound, also rainbow stripes don’t really make a balaclava any less menacing, but we appreciate the oddity of it.
Second stage headliners Black Stone Cherry, here on merit of a forum-wide plea from fans, play an absolutely stunning set with favourites from the first three albums, and a first ever sneak peek at brand spanking new material from their studio work (see headline review for full details). Main stage masked-bandit headliners Slipknot have ditched the red boiler suits for white (much to the dismay of die hard fans who’ve spend the whole day perfecting their costumes) but other than that, not much is different from their 2009 Download appearance, except that this year they play without late bassist Paul Grey and play ‘Duality’ in tribute to him (the 2009 Download Festival show was his last appearance). Fans are fans though, and twice during the wild night, Corey Taylor called to stop the performance due to crowd surges, yelling “No-one is getting hurt on my watch, I'm not going to let that happen to my family”. Over the two hour set, hits ‘Wait and Bleed’ and ‘Psychosocial’ make for rowdy moshpits and after an extra long pause before the encore, ‘People = Shit’ and ‘Surfacing’ complete the show.
It’s been 20 years since Korn rocketed on top of the metal world and the guys from California stayed there ever since. They already sold tens of millions of albums, won two Grammy awards and are generally considered as universal points of reference in the contemporary culture of rock/metal music. During their Sziget gig they plan to present the new LP, also considered as a dupstep-based metal craze, with the title ‘The Path of Totality’.
The Vaccines were reviewed by BBC as one of the biggest prospects of 2011 and the band lived up to expectations with their first album, ‘What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?’ The London-based indie rock guitar combo was already nominated for some of the biggest music awards of the continent and plan to start working on their new LP this March.
Dupstep heroes Artwork, Benga and Skream joined forces to create the legendary Magnetic Man formation and released their self-titled studio album in 2010, reaching instant success. 3 in 1 is always a good offer, so be prepared for another gigantic gig on Sziget.
Steve Aoki has Japanese roots, lives in California and by now he is regarded as a grand master of the electro house scene. ‘Wonderland’, his debut album was released this January, but he also made remixes for bands like Justice or Franz Ferdinand. The DJ and producer is the founder of the world famous Dim Mak Records.
For long years now it’s impossible to imagine DJ Magazine’s top DJ listings without finding Axwell’s name on them. He’s a member of the world famous Swedish House Mafia and counts as one of the most active contributors to the Scandinavian e-music scene.
Two Door Cinema Club is maybe the most lovable UK indie band these days. Easy going and guitar-centric, although not reluctant to some electronic sounds either. They’ve already played the biggest festivals and are currently working on their second studio album.
When it comes to combining fun and punk-rock, short but out-of-control kind of songs, you might wanna turn your heads towards Germany. Really!Beatsteaks has been existing for over 15 years, recorded 7 LPs and the ‘House of Fire’ track from their new album was even selected for the soundtrack of the third Transformers movie.
Antwerp-based immortal cult-rock act, dEUS is an all-time favorite for big festivals. One of the few bands who can perfectly evoke the anger and melancholy that is flooding from their studio recordings, also while playing live.
Synthesizers and machine-like guitar riffs, unbelievable pace and an industrial metal show that will simply blow your mind. That’s what you need to know about Ministry, announcing that after 3 years of silence they have recorded a new album and are ready to blitz the world once again.
Caro Emerald is the favorite singer and nr. 1. music export item of The Netherlands. The nu-jazz sensation has already won several big awards, combining groovin’ jazz with swing and tango, but doing so in a way that you will love her music even if you’re far from being a jazz fan.
Great voice, wonderful charisma and already a Grammy nomination to her name, these are the obvious words to describe Bebel Gilberto, also regarded as the ambassador of modern bossa nova. The Brazilian singer is mixing the Bahia region music with electronic patterns, while her latest LP, ‘All in One’ was nominated in ‘the best contemporary world music album’ category during the 2009 Grammys.