If rock and metal are your go-to picks on Spotify, the annual Download Festival will be one of your musical highlights of the whole year. What started as a relatively small affair at Donington Park in England in 2003 has turned into a worldwide brand, with a French version of the festival held every year since 2016, and two different annual Download festivals in Australia – one in Sydney, and the other in Melbourne. Some of the greatest names in heavy metal history have graced the stages of Download, but in 2020 those stages fell silent. Well, to be more accurate, the stages were never built in the first place. The festival, like every other festival that was due to be held in this accursed year, was canceled.
We wish we could say with any certainty that we’ll all be back together again at music festivals next year, but that’s in the hands of scientists (and perhaps the lap of the Gods, too). We certainly hope it will be the case, though, and so do the people who organize the Download Festival. We know that because, at the original site in Donington, England, at least, they’re planning to hold a spectacular three-day event that will make up for the fact that the planned 2020 festival never happened – and some of the greatest bands in the world have already confirmed that they’re playing.
Tickets are already on sale for the 2021 Download Festival, but you’ll probably want to know who’s playing before you decide whether or not you’re willing to part with your cash to see them. We don’t blame you. Luckily for you, we’re party to that information. There are several world-renowned bands on the bill, but here’s our handy guide to the headliners!
KISS, before the hands of fate and a global epidemic had other ideas, were in the middle of their farewell tour at the start of 2020. This is the third KISS farewell tour to date, but we’re pretty sure they mean it this time. They were never going to allow themselves to go out with a series of cancellations, though, and so they’ve extended their tour into 2021 – meaning they’re free to headline Download’s main stage on Friday 4th June. That should be all you need to know – KISS is a band so legendary that they’ve become everything from cartoons to movie stars to online slots website characters. They might not be the only big-name band to have shown up on the reels at online slots websites – you can throw everything from Saxon to Megadeth into the mix when it comes to that, but they are the most iconic. Playing their official slots UK might be one of the few interactive ways you can access their music at the moment, but that will all change next June when they make what will presumably be their final festival appearance.
There were some suggestions that Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro were considering calling time on their career before the events of early 2020 occurred. In February of this year, they released the single ‘Instant History,’ which was followed by their ninth album ‘A Celebration Of Endings.’ They’re not as well known outside the United Kingdom as they are within it, and their reputation may never quite have recovered from having one of their songs covered by X Factor winner Matt Cardle in 2010, but they’re still a live act who are full of energy, and they’d be sadly missed if they stopped playing now. We’re glad to see that they’ll be sticking around for the next year, at least, and they’ll headline the main stage on Saturday, June 5th.
System of a Down
You can talk about Limp Bizkit, KoRn, and Disturbed as much as you like, but the nu-metal band that’s survived the passing of the years with the most dignity is System of a Down. There are more than a few people in their mid-30s or early 40s who like to pretend that they never owned a single Limp Bizkit album. Most people are happy to admit that they enjoyed System of a Down, even if the band is still best known for the incomprehensible lyrics of ‘Chop Suey.’ We’d rather they were better known for ‘Spiders’ or ‘Sugar,’ but that’s a matter of personal choice, and probably says more about us being biased in favor of their first album than anything else! We’re sure they’ll be playing a happy blend of their pre and post 2001 work when they take the main stage to headline the third and final night of the festival on Sunday, June 6th.
There’s obviously a lot more to the festival than just its main headliners, and it’s surprising how much of the lineup has been finalized this far in advance. Aside from the ‘big three,’ those who stick to the main stage all weekend will get to see KoRn, Deftones, A Day To Remember, and Alestorm. If you’d rather wander off to the second stage, you’ll find acts like The Distillers, Killswitch Engage, Steel Panther, and the Darkness (remember them?) in prominent spots. Funeral for a Friend have been nudged to the Avalanche Stage for what might be a show-stealing spot on the Saturday night, and for reasons we may never understand, Sepultura is all the way over on the lesser-known Dogtooth Stage the same evening. For those who haven’t been keeping track of dates, that means Biffy Clyro, Killswitch Engage, Funeral for a Friend, and Sepultura will all be playing at the same time. We can’t help but feel like they could have been spread out across the festival a little better, so people didn’t have to choose between them.
Festival-goers have the choice of camping for five nights or three, with some festival attractions (and surprise sets) available to those who arrive two days early. Given that the difference between a five-day ticket and a three-day ticket is less than ten dollars, you may as well stick around for the full five-day celebration unless you have a particularly strong aversion to camping. Be warned, though – even a three-day ticket costs in excess of $250!