It creeps round quickly, festival season, doesn’t it? Somehow a full 12 months has passed since Download 2013 closed with Rammstein setting everything on fire and now it’s all about to go utterly batshit again. Most people going will already have a good idea of who they intend on seeing, but if you’re spoilt for choice or haven’t got around to it, here are 10 bands to cast your eye over for seeing:
1. Avenged Sevenfold
It doesn’t matter whether you love them or hate them – you won’t be able to ignore them at all when the Orange County quintet make their headline debut on the Friday night. If you saw them on their UK tour in December then you’ll be fully aware they have the prescence and energy to step up to the plate, and with the promise of their full stage show for their dates this summer (yeah, you saw NOTHING at the arena shows in the winter), rest assured that this will be a spectacle of the highest order.
When?: Friday, Stephen Sutton Stage
What time?: 21:00 – 22:50
2. Linkin Park
One of the few bands to headline a festival on the back of less than three albums (they only had Hybrid Theory and Meteora when they first topped the Donington bill in 2004), Linkin Park’s career has been somewhat varied, to say the least, with each album seemingly taking them further and further away from why metal fans fell in love with them in the first place. This year, however, will be different, as the band are giving the UK a once-in-a-lifetime performance of their brilliant debut album in full, along with choice cuts from everything else in their arsenal and, hopefully, one or two new numbers from the upcoming record as well.
When?: Saturday, Stephen Sutton Stage
What time?: 21:05 – 22:50
That said, if you’re not in the mood for Linkin Park, you could always go and see…
3. Status Quo
Definitely the joker in the Download pack this year. Since when do Status Quo play festivals? And rock/metal festivals at that? They’re no strangers to Donington, having headlined Monsters of Rock back in 1982, but you can be certain that Francis, Rick and the rest will cause ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’ once more…and maybe only once. Rumours are rumbling that their confirmation at a number of festivals this year is their way of having once final blast before bowing out next year. But with their staple UK arena tour in December still going ahead, there’s always then as well.
When?: Saturday, Zippo Encore Stage
What time?: 20:50 – 22:00
Ahhh, Trivium. Exploded in the UK, rose to a co-headline tour with Machine Head and then somehow lost momentum and went a bit quiet. They won’t be on Sunday night; having been upgraded to the Zippo Encore Stage playing their set from that awesome show at Download 2005 when they opened the Main Stage, they’ll pull even harder on everyone’s strings – and martyr them in the process.
When?: Sunday, Zippo Encore Stage
5. Dying Fetus
If it weren’t for a Facebook comment suggesting that Dying Fetus headline Donwload ahead of Avenged Sevenfold, the #WhyNotDyingFetus campaign wouldn’t have started. If it weren’t for that campaign, the band themselves wouldn’t have been booked. With this in mind, expect an explosive set from the death metallers to blast away your Friday hangovers in the space of half an hour.
When?: Saturday, Stephen Sutton Stage
What time?: 11:00 – 11:30
A real left-field confirmation from Download, given that the jury is still out on the band’s most famous hit ‘Butterfly’ fifteen years after its release, but there were a number of raised eyebrows in interest when the rap-rockers reformed and were confirmed to play, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if they took the chance to prove why we all used to love them in the first place.
When?: Sunday, Pepsi Max Stage
What time?: 15:35 – 16:05
7. Lawnmower Deth
Fun, silly, stupid, sensational. Enough said.
When?: Saturday, Pepsi Max Stage
What time?: 13:10 – 13:35
When a band reforms it can swing either way, but the return of progressive metal outfit SikTh was met with huge acclaim. Their show at Download will be their first for seven years, and there will be no doubt that the atmosphere to see them will be electric.
When?: Saturday, Red Bull Studio Stage
What time?: 21:55 – 22:40
9. Bowling for Soup
This is a case of ‘catch ‘em while you can’ – last year BFS announced that they would no longer do a full tour of the UK for various reasons, so to see them back over here with their impressive style of bouncy pop-punk is most welcoming. And because we’re incredibly lucky, they’re playing twice – a full electric set during the day and an intimate acoustic performance as night falls.
When?: Saturday, Stephen Sutton Stage and Jägermeister Acoustic Stage
What time?: 15:00- 15:45 and 19:25 – 19:55
10. Joe Bonamassa
Sunday at Download has, over the years, generally been a day for more ‘classic rock’ names to grace the stages, and one of the greatest men to ever pick up a guitar will be living up to that tagline. In what is (incredibly) his debut performance at the festival, Joe will waste no time in dazzling us with his six-string wizardry and phenomenal technique.
When?: Sunday, Stephen Sutton Stage
What time?: 15:00 – 15:45