Tag Archives: Castle Donington

Download Festival Headline Trio Is Now Complete – Awesome

Download Festival have now completed their day-by-day announcements of this year headline acts and what a trio it is.  After the announcement on Monday that Iron Maiden will headline Sunday the BBC report that Black Sabbath will headline Saturday.

Friday nights main-stage headliner will be german industrial rockers Rammstein who join Black Sabbath [Saturday] and Iron Maiden [Sunday] to complete a headline trio that will treat Donington crowds to the heaviest of heavy rock across what is shaping up to be an epic weekend.

Rise Against

Rise Against

Of course moaning about festival line-ups is now a national pastime in the UK so not everyone is happy.  Admittedly I called two of the three headliners months ago.  Black Sabbath have announced that their world tour will definitely be their last and no UK dates had been announced so it seemed that that daddies of British Metal music were nailed on certainties for Download.  The only surprise is that they play Saturday and not Sunday.  Download will be the last chance for many UK metal fans to see an iconic British band live

With a superb new album just released and Bruce Dickinson recently recovered from throat cancer  Iron Maiden also seemed a surefire bet for next years Download.

All three acts have headlined at Donington on a number of occasions in the past and some people have complained that the headline line-up was predictable.  That may well be the case but it should be borne in mind that Download curator Andy Copping is keen to keep Download true to its roots.  As a result he has to draw an a dwindling supply of major name talent who have the pulling power to attract sufficient number to Donington.

Download - Black Veil Brides

Download – Black Veil Brides

Fans should bear in mind that Copping is something of a master at uncovering lesser known talent to fill the other stages and to keep everyone happy across what will be an amazing and nostalgic weekend of the best rock music has to offer.

Tickets for Download 2016 go on sale at 9 A.M. on Friday October 23.  Make sure you grab yours.  See you there.

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Iron Maiden Download

Iron Maiden announced as Download Festival headliner for 2016

Download festival at Donington Park is billed as Europe’s top rock and metal festival and in recent weeks excitement has been increasing as festival curator Andy Copping prepared to release the identity of the first headliner for the 2016 festival.

This evening it was announced that Iron Maiden will headline Sunday on Download’s main stage.  According to Metro not everyone is thrilled to see Iron Maiden return to headline Download for the fourth time.

Personally I am thrilled at the announcement.  Iron Maiden’s recently released album The Book Of Souls is a cracker and I for one can’t wait to hear the new tunes in the live arena.  To date the Download date is the only UK date the British band have announced which is disappointing to say the least.

Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson confirmed he will fly the band into East Midlands airport which is a stones throw from the venue.

According to the Guardian Dickinson and Iron Maiden are looking forward to a return to Download.  Dickinson says:

“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.”

“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.”

Download takes place at Donington park between 10 – 12 June 2016: Early bird tickets for the festival are already sold out but general admission tickets go on sale on October 23.  The next headliner announcement came at 7pm BST tomorrow evening.

I’m hoping for Black Sabbath!

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival Donington Park 12 – 15 June 2015 – review

The 13th Download Festival took place at Donington Park from 12 – 15 June 2015.  Described as Europe’s biggest and best rock and metal festival Download sets the standard for modern rock festivals.  This year I went along to see what all the fuss is about.

I love music, my taste is eclectic and I like to think that even at my age I have a decent handle on new music.  However, my first love is and always has been punk rock.  Since the heady days of the late 70’s right up to today I have loved the attitude and politics of punk music so I was intrigued to find out if a long weekend at the beating heart of rock music would convert me.

As any festival fan knows the music is only a part of any major festival, what really counts is the overall experience.  The campsites, food, beer, people and weather all have a huge impact on the experience and have a large part to play in determining how much you enjoy yourself.  Of course attending to report on the festival ease of access and press facilities are also important.

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival 2015

Lets get some of those aspects out of the way right now.  The facilities for the press were fantastic.  The team over at Borkowski Arts & Ents. (who handle the festival PR) are first rate, communications are great on the run up to the festival and the facilities they provide are excellent on site.  There are working areas, plenty of powerpoint, lockers and good wi-fi coverage.  There are even mini buses to run press and photographers to the second stage at the top of the hill and there are refreshments on hand.  The press area is right next to the main stage and close to the main stage.  One word sums it up.  Superb!

Despite the fact that I had to proceed to one of the box-office sites to collect my pass before getting onto the camper van field the process was incredibly slick.  I was able to drive the van to within a few minutes walk of the box office collect my passes and drive to the van field and get set up in well under an hour.  Very impressive.  The van field had ample toilets, chemical waste disposal and hot showers and I found them to be immaculate on every occasion I used them.

I didn’t have cause to use the toilets in the arena so I can’t comment on those but I did see far too many people, women as well as men, urinating against fences.  Whether this was through laziness or queues or whatever I don’t know, but it is distasteful.

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival 2015

As anyone in the UK will know the weather over the weekend was hideous at times.  It was beautiful when we arrived on site, glorious on Friday morning but by the time Judas priest and Slipknot played on Friday evening the rain was torrential, it poured down all night and most of Saturday and the whole site was turned into a quagmire of mud.  being able to be on site after the crowds have left at night and before they enter in the morning allows you to see how well prepared the festival is to deal with adverse weather.  The crew at Download did a fantastic job laying mats and bark chipping in the really wet areas and spreading straw across the site to stop people slipping.  They truly did everything they possibly could to make the festival safe and enjoyable.

Download was the first major UK festival to go cashless this year.  Each ticket was allocated a ‘Dog Tag’ which you topped up with spending money before arrival.  This was obviously great from a security point of view and the fact that no-one had to mess around with change etc certainly reduced queueing time, especially at the bars.  As you would expect there were some problems.  I topped up for both myself and my son a couple of days before the festival. I had a great experience, everything worked flawlessly but the money never appeared on my sons wristband.  Luckily I was able to put some more on for him at the site but if I had not been able to afford to do this he would have been without money all weekend.  I now face a doubtless lengthy process to get the cash back!

As you would expect the line-up at Download was fantastic with the main stage playing host to the likes of Slipknot, Muse, Kiss, Motley Crue, Judas Priest and Slash to name just a handful, but as any real festival fan knows the real action takes place away from the main stage.  I did of course watch at least part of each of the really big names sets, but it was on the ‘smaller’ stages that I found the real gems.

Of course Fridays headliners Slipknot were stunning as always.  Their incredible performance drew on material from all five of their studio albums and they delighted the  adoring masses with no less than five songs from their 1999 debut disc.  The power and spectacle of Slipknots performance puts them right at the head of the table in the metal world.  There were also brilliant performances from Swedish metal monsters Bombus, a stunning set from Brighton based punk outfit Gnarwolves and possibly the performance of the weekend from the brilliant Beartooth.  Add to that a surprise guest appearance from Japanese metal – J-Pop crossovers during Dragonforce‘s set and the Maverick stage was undoubtably the place to be on Friday.

Download Festival 2015

Download Festival 2015

Creditable shout outs must also go to British veterans Judas Priest who arrived onstage on a motorcycle and went back as far as 1980’s British Steel for their setlist. British newcomers AllUsOnDrugs played a superb set on the fourth stage and I suspect they will become festival favourites as the years progress.

Saturdays headliners Muse drew a massive crowd to their headline set and the vast majority seemed to enjoy being introduced to their recent release Drones.  I must confess I have never quite ‘got’ Muse so after checking out their impressive stage show for 20 minutes or so I took my pleasures elsewhere.  Chicago based punk hardcore outfit Rise Against won my prize for the pick of the Main Stage bands on the day.  I loved their energy and hey I did say I love punk.

Elsewhere Aussie metal core band In Hearts Wake were stunning and punk outfits Creeper, Love Zombies and New Years Day were all great.  The performance of the day though had to be from Black Veil Brides.  Their stage show alone was worth the price of admission.  It is no surprise that they just won the Kerrang award for best live act.

Download - Black Veil Brides

Download – Black Veil Brides

Sunday was a day for nostalgia on the main stage with Motley Crue bidding farewell to the UK festival scene with a fantastic set which included their version of the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK.  They will be sadly missed.  I didn’t get to see much of Kiss’s set but the pyrotechnics, fireworks and shooting along zip lines was certainly spectacular.  I missed most of their set because I was watching Enter Shikari, a band I now consider to be unmissable.  It was wonderful to see a young British act have the opportunity to headline the second stage and to bring their full production to a major festival.  Their performance was simply brilliant despite the fact that front man Rou Reynolds had been hospitalised on Friday as a result of an adverse reaction to hay fever medication.  As a result the band had to cancel a planned show in Bristol.

September Mourning, Evil Scarecrow and Butcher Babies were all excellent on Sunday on the smaller stages but the second stage line up of L7, In Flames, Lamb Of God and Enter Shikari was simply stunning and a fantastic way to wrap up a brilliant festival.

So, did Download turn me away from my punk roots and convert me to metal?  Well yes and no.  There was enough punk on the bill to keep me very happy.  I enjoyed every band I saw over the weekend with one exception.  Most importantly I loved the Download experience.  Both my 17-year-old son and I have decided that Download is a festival not to be missed.

I look forward to the surprises next year will bring.