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 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


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


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.

Rammstein – Download 2016 Review

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 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.

Rammstein confirmed as final headliner for Download 2016

Rammstein announced as the third and final headliner for Download Festival 2016. Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden also headlining the 3 day metal fest, taking place on 10-12 June 2016 at the spiritual home of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire.
Headlining Friday 10 June at the home of rock, German visual masters,Rammstein will bring their outlandish pyrotechnics and techno theatre to Donington. Always putting on a live performance of epic proportions, the Goth industrial group will no doubt open the show in spectacular fashion. Rammstein return to Donington having headlined Download, Europe’s biggest rock and metal festival, in 2013.
Epic in scale and capable of touching all of the senses; a dark and spectacular fairy-tale laced with controversy and don’t-try-this-at-home theatrics, Rammstein are: Till Lindemann and Flake Lorenz, Christoph Schneider, Paul Landers, Richard Z. Kruspe and Oliver Riedel.
Rammstein said: “Download is a festival; it is not a moon landing"
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 Dickinson 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. '

The legendary Black Sabbath – Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler – will headline Download Festival 2016 on Saturday 11 June. Nearly five decades on from their beginnings in Birmingham, the band – who have been widely proclaimed as ‘The Greatest Metal Band of All Time’ – will be coming back to Donington Park as part of their FINAL ever tour entitled “The End”, which will see their biggest and most mesmerising production to date.
Ozzy Osbourne commented:
“Download is my absolute favourite summer festival.  It’s always like coming home. See you all there!”
Download festival promoter, Andy Copping has said:
“I cannot wait for this year- three of the biggest names in rock are heading to Donington. Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath have legacies to rival Download Festival and its rich rock heritage, it’s a match made in rock heaven. The mighty Iron Maiden back after another yet another number 1 album, the legendary Black Sabbath on their final tour and Rammstein who blow me away every time I see them – their headlining set at Download 2016 will make rock history”

Download Festival 2013 – Sunday Review

A drier Sunday sees festival goers lounging on the hillside whilst watching the writhing madness that is the mosh pits at Five Finger Death Punch, and wassailing with Swedish melodic metallers – Amon Amarth, who play aboard their on stage Viking longship, to a sea of fans’ windmilling hair and guttural yells.

Stone Sour pull off a powerful set to a packed arena with the likes of ‘Say You’ll Haunt Me’ and ‘Mission Statement’. With the words “We are in England, the home of heavy metal. This is where it all started. There’s one band that we all owe our allegiance to… Black Sabbath. This is dedicated to them” they proceed to play a very Stone Sour cover of ‘Children of the Grave’ and frontman Corey Taylor goes on to perform second cover Alice In Chains’ ‘Nutshell’ as a solo. Yelling “I’m going to go on record and say this country is my favourite in the fucking world” Corey gains a roar of respect from the crowd, however he (and countless unfortunate others) cop an eyeful of the buck-naked dude standing atop his mate’s shoulders for much of the second half of the set.

Over on the second stage something odd is occurring, my first encounter with what I can only describe as Papal-Metal, comes at the hands of Swedish eccentrics Ghost. Dressed in cardinal’s robes and misfits style skeleton paint, frontman Papa Emeritus II has a much higher/softer rock vocal than you expect, and the ‘Nameless Ghouls’ (read: rest of the band, dressed in black robes) do a decent job with ‘Year Zero’ and ‘Ritual’ to a pretty large crowd.

Following them, the second stage sees a sudden influx of bodies in preparation for the return of Aussie icons Airbourne, a band who last time they performed were put in the naughty corner for frontman Joel O'Keefe’s rock and roll, rigging-scaling action. Smoke cannons, energetic hopping around and some proper good old windmilling are the mainstay of Airbourne’s performance, and a quick “You’re a fucking sight for sore eyes Donington, it’s great to be back in the U fucking K” puts everyone immediately on side. Joel foregoes the death-defying stunts this year and instead legs it into the crowd with his guitar, meeting fans, playing, and just generally having a nice time for ‘Raise The Flag’. After getting back on stage, the crowd is treated to ‘Live it Up’ and ‘Runnin’ Wild’ with a bit of good old synchronised headbanging.

A much anticipated 30 Seconds to Mars are giving the female festival population ovarian tingles, as frontman Jared Leto (widely enjoyed for purely shallow reasons) turns his wailing on the busy arena. Four guys in coloured balaclavas are for some unknown reason, employed to bang drums steadily behind the band a la Blue Man Group, but much less interesting, and Leto’s inane comments (particularly the weird “We are forty seconds to mars”… we all heard that right?!) are getting a bit hard to swallow. Calling out “You, you in the blue hat and the Cannibal Corpse tshirt, you’re just looking at your dick… This guy is gonna lead the jump for us” Leto continues to make an ass of himself. Dear Jared Leto, despite your penchant for odd outfits and your strange ideas about fan-prizes (see “win a night in my bed” no, really) I actually don’t *hate* the way you sound, but come on… if there’s a guy at your show in a Cannibal Corpse tshirt, he’s either just securing his spot for Rammstein later or appeasing a teenage girl. Take the hint. After arrogantly announcing a forthcoming UK tour (the entire list of dates and locations… *sigh*) and pulling a load of screaming hormonal girls on stage, they close out with  ‘The Kill (Bury Me’, ‘Kings and Queens’ and ‘Up in the Air’, to the cheers of all those thoroughly annoyed at having witnessed it.

During the stage-setting break the last few brave souls hit the zipline to the terrifying sight of a crowd gearing up for their descent, with a host of bottles and other miscellaneous missiles to hurl at the unfortunate victims – it makes for interesting sport/entertainment as we wait.

Rammstein hit Donington with everything they’ve got, showcasing their heavy style amidst a plethora of flaming devices from ‘2, 3, 4, Links’ and ‘Du Hast’ to ‘Ich Will’ and ‘Sonne’. Fans are treated to a spectacular show, including flamethrowers, fireworks, bondage and S&M alongside anthemic hits, it’s the show Download Festival has been waiting years for and they certainly do it justice (see the full review for complete details). Closing the night and the festival with the comedic and fairly gross, ‘Pussy’ and a foam-spraying giant penis-cannon, flanked by ticker-tape explosions, it’s been a long time coming (excuse the pun…) but Rammstein know how to put on an epic performance, this has been one extraordinary night for Download Festival and for the history of Donington Park. Who knows what to expect next year…

Download Festival 2013 Review – Sunday – Rammstein

With a stage-wide curtain keeping the set secret, and Sunday’s sunshine dwindling into the night, the excitement in the air is almost palpable for final headliner Rammstein. The Berlin industrial metal heavyweights have been long awaited by Download-goers and tonight the arena is Ramm-packed with eager fans.

The screens turn to black, the curtain drops and Rammstein explode onto the stage, with frontman Till Lindemann being ceremoniously lowered on a firework wreathed platform from the ceiling. Whilst Lindemann’s menacing grin is enough to spark fear in the hearts of many, his pink fluffy jacket (which sort of looks like a bloody Wampa skin…) is just giggle-worthy, but the massive cobweb-like stage set and enormous drum-lights behind make for an impressive backdrop.

Without further ado the band get right down to business, ‘Keine Lust’ and ‘Sehnsucht’ get the crowd warmed up, with the enigmatic frontman maniacally wielding flaming poi, but it’s ‘Feuer Frei!’ that pushes the circle-pits into overdrive with raw firepower, quite literally as the stage lights up with fire cannons. Keyboard-jockey Christian "Flake" Lorenz, in a bejewelled suit, marches along on a rotating treadmill as he plays – which whilst mildly entertaining just doesn’t cut the mustard when you’ve seen *that* OKGO video, but the night is young…

Drawn from real-life events ‘Mein Teil’ (The Meiwes Case) and ‘Wiener Blut’ (The Fritzl case) are peppered with sadomasochistic overtones, and later ‘Buch Dich’ sees Lindemann don S&M gear to roleplay anal sex with an assless-chaps-wearing bondage Lorenze, on a rising platform. From the platform, Lindemann proceeds to spray the crowd with ‘ejaculate’ (clever/gross hose attached to inside of trousers, activated through the platform), screaming girls seen rubbing it into their hair and chests: shame on you – your mothers could see this on tv, *wink*.

A giant cauldron containing Lorenze, set alight by a bloodied-chef-costumed, flamethrower brandishing Lindemann, Bane-esque face cages which also shoot fire, guitars that shoot fire, fire cannons, flaming-spinning fire bow, a man on fire… it’s safe to say the German metallers just bloody love fire, and so do the crowd. ‘2, 3, 4 Links’ and ‘Du Hast’ are yelled simultaneously by the entire arena, with fireworks travelling along cables across the crowd to the sound tent and back to an explosive finale and the stage lighting up in a cloud of sparks. ‘Ich Will’ is the real show-stopper with every hand in the air and Lindemann’s trademark low-growl calling out “Thank you very very, very much. Danke schön, we are RAMMSTEIN” before leaving the stage.

After a brief break and a rather pretty acoustic ‘Mein Herz Brennt’ it’s back into heavy for the epic ‘Sonne’ and the band close out this extraordinary show with the comedic ‘Pussy’. As Lindemann rocks up with a giant penis-shaped foam cannon and sprays it into the crowd, completely covering the front facing security staff (who were doing a sterling job of looking like they weren’t at all bothered about being ceremoniously covered in fake spunk…) the ticker tape bombs detonate, covering the entire stage. Kneeling superman-style, the band show their appreciation for the rowdy Download crowd with a final “You are amazing, we love you, thank you very much”, and it’s over. Rammstein at Download 2013 were definitely a crowning moment in the festival’s history, and it has been more than worth the wait.


DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL: One week to go! New acts announced

With ONLY ONE WEEK TO GO, Download Festival announces a further 10 bands for the weekend as well of details of its on site activities and the return of the mighty Download FM powered by TeamRock. There’s still chance to get your ticket for the biggest weekend in the rock and metal calendar, visit now for more information.

Joining the lineup are I Am I, fronted by former Dragonforce singer ZP Theart, Welsh rockers Falling With Style, three-piece Press To Meco, Leicester locals Surrender The Coast, Essex rockers Searching Alaska, Southampton group Forever Can Wait, Blackburn band Sky Valley Mistress, Scottish rockers Semper Fi and Akord, and energetic four piece rock/punk band New Killer Shoes.

This year’s Download Village entertainment is set to be bigger and better than ever as the Doghouse returns with its club night hosted by Revolution, Liverpool’s biggest rock night.  Revolution’s Doghouse Residency is three nights of crazy, debauched and wild theme parties with a different theme each night. Revolution DJs will be slamming a mix of metal, punk and hardcore into the early hours Friday-Sunday, joined by some very special guests. Themes include Hawaiian Beach Party, Pirates of The Doghouse Party and the Download Zombie Apocalypse Party. Further information can be found at

The comedy tent also returns on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June, with the Silent Arena taking over the tent for weekend activities from Friday 14-16 June. If villagers aren’t too busy buying some vintage merch or limited edition t-shirts, they can snuggle up at the Download Cinema, located in a Village corner.

For the first time Download Festival will this year have a zip line in the arena. Festival goers can zip across the sky taking in an adrenalin filled aerial view of the Donignton site. The first 12 people in the queue each day will receive a discounted price of £10 instead of the usual £15.  

Download Festival are also excited to announce the return of the ever rocking Download Radio powered by TeamRock, broadcasting on 87.7FM across the Donington site, and online at Requests can be made via twitter @DOWNLOADFM & by email to [email protected].

TeamRock Radio will launch at Download Festival on Sunday 16 June at the unconventional time of 11.58pm, with Iron Maiden’s iconic song from the band’s fifth album, ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’ reinforcing its very different approach to broadcasting.  Once the festival ends, TeamRock Radio will be born and directly after spinning the Iron Maiden classic to open the station they will broadcast The Best Of Download 2013, a retrospective show that tells the story of their years festival from the moment the gates open until the final act play their last chord.

Vodafone VIP is once again giving all our UK customers unrivalled experiences at some of Britain’s best festivals this summer, along with other great events. The Vodafone VIP Recharge Truck will return to Download Festival in 2013, helping customers ensure their mobile phone is charged throughout the festival weekend. Customers can also enjoy an unrivalled view of all the performances on the main stage by visiting the Vodafone VIP Viewing Platform. Also, don’t forget to download the official 2013 Download Festival app – powered by Vodafone.

Pepsi Max is proud to be the Official Cola partner of Download. Follow them on Twitter @PepsiMaxUK to find out about the Pepsi MAX stage and how they’ll be Maxing your festival experience. #maxmusic

The Red Bull Studios Live stage focuses on showcasing new and emerging talent. Eight unsigned bands also join the diverse line-up having earned their spot through the Red Bull Studios Live stage at Download opportunity.

Zippo are also ready to rock Download for a 3rd year. Head over to the Zippo Encore Area for competitions like the hugely popular ‘Zippo Custom’ that allows you to design your own Zippo lighter, side-of-stage tickets up for grabs, face painting and lots more. You will also be able to purchase Zippo lighters, including the cool Download limited edition, perfect to hold up high during your favourite performances to create the ultimate Zippo Encore moment with your mates.

Jägermeister is bringing its brand new ‘Deep Freeze’ interactive bar experience to Download this summer. This unique activation is 50 square metres and boasts a 10 metre bar, maze, interactive photo wall, VIP area, free Wi-Fi and an incredible ‘Ice Bar’ which is chilled down to -10°C. The Jägermeister stage will also feature as the acoustic stage at Download.


A limited amount of tickets are still available for Download 2013. Visit now to purchase yours.

Volbeat added to Rock Werchter 2013 lineup!

It has already been announced that Blur, Depeche Mode, Editors, Green Day, Kings of Leon and Rammstein will play at Rock Werchter 2013, which takes place from Thursday 4 July to Sunday 7 July. More names are to follow.

Volbeat is Metal's hottest. The Danes – an abbreviation of Volume.Beat – are the new gods in the land of Metallica and Motörhead. They were last year's big revelation at the Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium. In 2010 and 2011 they performed to a packed Lotto Arena in Antwerp. This, their first performance at Rock Werchter, is just the logical next step. Volbeat is ready for the transition to a broader audience. And that broader audience is as good as won over. For instance: the group is just as high on Studio Brussel's 'De Zwaarste Lijst' (annual best of metal list) as it is in 'De Afrekening' (weekly charts from the listeners). And the reason is simple: the music. Volbeat think on a broader scale. The leaning is to metal, but these Danes like to digress. Toward punk. Toward rockabilly too. Heroes include Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, and they cover "I Only Want To Be With You" by the late Dusty Springfield, the "white queen of soul". Catchy, energetic and refreshingly Scandinavian!


Rock Werchter 2013 will be held from Thursday 4 July to Sunday 7 July in Werchter (Belgium). For four whole days the very best can be seen and heard on three stages in the Festivalpark. Established artists, today's and yesterday's heroes and the big sensations take to the Main Stage as usual. The Pyramid Marquee hosts all flavours of electronic dance on Thursday and Friday. And then it's the upcoming talent, the more intimate performances and dance beats into the small hours on Saturday and Sunday. In the Barn, it will be nice to see old friends, but discover tomorrow's heroes. It's a sort of in-festival concert hall. Rock Werchter books acts from every musical genre. And it goes down well. The festival is an international hit. At Eurosonic in Groningen, Rock Werchter scooped the European Festival Award for "Best European Festival Line-Up". More than 140,000 (unique) festival goers from all around the world found their way to a sold-out Rock Werchter over the four days of the festival in 2012. 

Depeche Mode set for Rock Werchter 2013

Depeche Mode is undoubtedly the most popular electronic band ever …and the first to be embraced by rock fans. But they have worked hard for it. Their first appearance at Werchter in 1985 did not pass unnoticed. Twenty years later (2006) and the band was by far the best at Werchter. ‘Violator’ (1990) was the pivotal moment. An essential album produced by Flood (U2, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey) and featuring artwork and video clips by the Dutch photographer/filmmaker Anton Corbijn. The scope of their musical fan base is uncommonly wide: from Daan through Pet Shop Boys to The Killers and Linkin Park to Rammstein. Depeche Mode, in the shape of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher, have now sold more than 100 million albums. The trio is among the most successful live acts of all time. Last year, Depeche Mode worked on their 13th album, the successor to the wicked ‘Sounds of the Universe’ (2009), which is due for release in the spring. They are planning 34 European concerts next summer. Welcome back to Werchter!

Depeche Mode

Green Day to headline Rock Werchter 2013

Already there have been previous announcements that Blur, on Friday July 5, and Rammstein, on Saturday July 6, will be performing at the festival in Werchter (Belgium). More soon!

Uno, dos, tres… Green Day are back among us after a short break, with an abundance of drive and inspiration. America’s most exciting punk band is releasing three albums in four months: ¡Uno! (September), ¡Dos! (November) and ¡Tré! (January). The trio is full of surprises. Green Day have masterfully reanimated punk twice already. ‘Dookie’ (1994), with the super singles ‘Basket Case’ and ‘When I Come Around’, is the most successful punk record of all time, with 16 million albums sold. Oddly enough, the band faded away completely after that. Ten years on, they rose again with ‘American Idiot’ (2004). This concept album about an anti-hero called Jesus Of Suburbia is even being turned into a musical. Its successor, ‘21st Century Breakdown’ (2009) also has a storyline. This album rapidly went gold and beyond in 19 countries and made the band global stars. What to expect? Perfect punk-pop and high-quality entertainment. Modern music rarely provides as complete an experience as a Green Day concert.

Rock Werchter 2013 will be held from Thursday 4 July to Sunday 7 July in Werchter (Belgium). For four whole days the very best can be seen and heard on three stages in the Festivalpark. Established artists, today's and yesterday's heroes and the big sensations take to the Main Stage as usual. The Pyramid Marquee hosts all flavours of electronic dance on Thursday and Friday. And then it's the upcoming talent, the more intimate performances and dance beats into the small hours on Saturday and Sunday. In the Barn, it will be nice to see old friends, but discover tomorrow's heroes. It's a sort of in-festival concert hall. Rock Werchter books acts from every musical genre. And it goes down well. The festival is an international hit. At Eurosonic in Groningen, Rock Werchter scooped the European Festival Award for "Best European Festival Line-Up". More than 140,000 (unique) festival goers from all around the world found their way to a sold-out Rock Werchter over the four days of the festival in 2012.
Tickets for Rock Werchter 2013 will go on sale as from Friday November 2nd. 
More information will be announced soon.