It is that time of the year when the thoughts of your average UK Metalhead drifts to the weekend festivities known as Download.
Since 2003 the festival has focused on providing a festival that caters to all tastes so no matter what type of Rock or Metal you're into you'll have someone you want to see. You have veterans rubbing shoulders with new comers spread across several different stages across the hallowed Donington site. And, if you want a bit of a change, there are several other attractions to check out including the Circus of Horrors, a cinema, motorcycle wall of death, several comedians, the UK Air Guitar Championships, NXT UK wrestling from WWE and Download's famous fairground. If things get a little too much for you then there's also a focus on self care with classes from DO.OMYOGA and RockFit to attend as well as meditation sessions from Mind The Dog.
The first full day of the festival sees the main stage show a real Classic Rock feel to it, especially with Def Leppard performing their legendary 80's 'Hysteria' album in full as main stage headliners. Slash is there with his other band The Conspirators fronted by Myles Kennedy, as well as Whitesnake. If that doesn't float your boat through you've got the choice of Rob Zombie or Me First And The Gimmie Gimmies heading up two of the other stages. Any of these will offer plenty of top tunes for anyone wanting to enjoy themselves. Add in other bands like Opeth, Clutch and rising stars The Interruptors and you've got some solid choices of where to spend your Friday.
Up and Coming Tip (Friday)
Want to have a moment when you can say "yes I was there" to your mates? Then catch Skynd on the Dogtooth stage. The band are due to release their second EP shortly with their music a dark and heavy take on Electro Pop. Their songs draw from real life serial killers with a sound that mixes early Marilyn Manson and Lana del Ray. Prepare to feel a chill.
Slipknot seem to have made Download a permanent fixture on their UK tours and this year is no different. This time the band will be here a few weeks ahead of their new album "We Are Not Your Kind" so people will be expecting new songs as well as new masks and stage show. Weighing in as support on the main stage are Die Antwoord, Trivium and festival favourites Skindred, who were born for events like this. Sprinkle some Halestorm, Stone Temple Pilots and Carcass amongst others playing the other stages and it's fair to say that Saturday has something for everyone.
Up and Coming Tip (Saturday)
Elvana could be the most fun thing you'll do at Download this year with your clothes on. The band play the songs of Nirvana while fronted by an Elvis impersonator (okay, he occasionally sounds like Nick Cage but that's not a bad thing, is it?). Yes, essentially they've a novelty cover band that shouldn't work but they SO do!
The final day at Donington sees the last UK performance of thrash legends Slayer who are winding up a four decade long career, which will certainly draw an emotional crowd. Also featuring on the final day are Anthrax (another of the original big 4 thrash bands), Lamb Of God, Enter Shakari and Grunge Goths Smashing Pumpkins. All eyes however will be focused on the main stage as headlining the Sunday will be the Prog Metal band Tool. The enigmatic group are due to release their new album a mere 13 years after their last one and will no doubt will be a big draw with their unique live presentation.
Up and Coming Tip (Sunday)
After stirring up a lot of interest and buzz opening several dates of the Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes tour earlier this year, Black Futures are set to be one of your new favourite bands. The multi-instrumental duo are augmented by a crew of white forensic suit wearing minions who wave flags, crowdsurf and generally encourage the audience to join in. Their mash up of beats, electronica and metal is infectious so prepare to be hooked.
Preview - Scott Hamilton