Festival previews 2016: Download Festival

It goes without saying that music connects generations. In my case I've loved the heavier end of the musical spectrum since I can remember, and I really can, jumping around my living room with my dad at age of five or six to classic Black Sabbath. I haven't had the greatest or closest relationship with my dad over the years but one thing has always brought us back together and that is our passion for rock music. I've been to too many concerts to name with my dad and to this day Download 2010 and Sonisphere 2014 will forever live in my memory as pure happiness. And so on to Download 2016 and the 'last' gig by our favorite father and son band.


A father and son at the spiritual home of rock

Back in my teenage years circa December 1999 we both journeyed to a wet and wild Birmingham NEC to see the 'last' concert by a reformed Black Sabbath, it was an eye opening gig for so many different reasons, namely we managed to get 3rd row seats and also that during System Of A Downset a Santa Claus dressed attendee jumped on stage and shouted 'Ho, Ho, HO!' into the mic. To this day I still don't know whether that was an in joke by SOAD or not. So onto 2016 and it's 'The End' for the mighty Black Sabbath. Below find my picks for all three days, welcome to the greatest show on earth...




Perennial nu - metal titans Korn make a welcome return to the hallowed turf on the back of a well reviewed arena tour with Slipknot. Performing at 7pm on the Main Stage for a full 60 minutes. With the pedigree and history Korn could fill the hour with anthems from minute 1 to minute 60. Korn play The Main Stage @ 19:00.



Who you ask? Well one truth I have always held close is that, as much as I love my bands (the Korns, Iron Maiden and Metallica's of this world) I also have a desire to seek out new music. I recently watched Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls in Bristol and Skinny Lister supported them. They didn't play Frank and his band off stage but they were close. They have a mix of sea shanty style vocals and The Pogues lyrical writing. Playing The 4th Stage at 17:40, look out for this crazy gang!



What can you say about Rammstein , a band that literally leave you feeling speechless every time they grace us with their presence. Not only do they have the stage presence but they also have the hits and the stage show. 'Du Hast', 'Links 2-3-4' and 'Sonne' to name but a few. I will be front centre having my eyebrows singed by Til Linderman and my ear drums blown away by the Rammstein group. Main Stage @21:10. Leave your fire extinguisher at home, yeah?




Bristol based alt-grunge band Milk Teeth have recently released their debut album Vile Child and 2016 is looking up to be a barn storming year for the group. With a DIY aesthetic to the band, Milk Teeth bring a Nirvana -esque scuzzy pop vibe that should be seen to be believed. Look out for 'Vitamins'. Check them out on The 4th Stage @ 15:10.


Architects have something to prove, with a sublime album in the shape of All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us , now is there time to step up and show the scene what they are all about. The album deserves further listening to understand everything. Architects only need 45 minutes of your undivided attention to make you into a fan. 18:05, The Encore Stage, be there.



Sound the bell, The End is near, a band 50 years in the making are coming to the end of the road. Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and the one and only Ozzy Osbourne grace the Donington for what should be the last stage (where have we heard the before). From the shows posted on YouTube, Black Sabbath live and die on Ozzy Osbourne's vocal, the band are tight with their instruments but if Ozzy is off key, the gig could be a damp squib. Recently they have been playing the lost 70's classic Hand of Doom . It was lost for a reason, Ozzy simply cannot hit those nights like before, other than that expect all the hits and more. I'll be sad to see them go out with one last hurrah. Long live the Sabbath. Main Stage 20:50.


So comes the last day of the festival, everybody is hung over, encrusted in mud, and everyone has sore throats, and you know what? no one would have it any different. Pull up your socks, drink a Monster Energy drink and get ready for Day Three of the greatest show on earth.



Blowing on to the nu - metal scene at the height of its craze in 2000, Chicago' Disturbed reformed back in 2014 to release the gigantic selling hit album Immortalized , gracing these shores on their summer tour run look out for some crazy vocalisations from outspoken frontman David Draimen. 17:00 Main Stage.



When you first see Ghost, you instantly think Death Metal, screaming vocals, pounding drums, and then Papa Emiritus opens his mouth and the silky overly smooth pop tones emanate forth and you pick your jaw from the floor and realise "god damn this band is GOOD!" I first heard them at Sonisphere 2014 and was blown away. I hate ABBA with a passion and their cover of I'm A Marionette is sublime. A sight to see, a feast for your ears, get to The Maverick Stage at 18:25. Thank me later.



So it comes down to this, all bands have finished, the rest of the stages are hushed, last band on is the mighty Iron Maiden . This will be my 5th time seeing the mighty band, after 1998, 2003, 2006 and 2014. After Bruce Dickinsons fight with cancer, this gig is a homecoming of epic proportions, no doubt about it. Doubt them for being an 'old' band, don't doubt they still can't pull off a great show. See you in the pit for 'Run To The Hills'. Main stage 20:50.

Watch out for my review of the festival after the weekend, just give me time to get a hot bath and some fresh socks and it'll be ready. Let me know who you are looking forward to in the comments below.

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