Festival Preview: Download Festival 2019

Photo credit: James Bridle
Photo credit: James Bridle

Once again it’s time to head to Donington Park for another mammoth weekend of metal, rock, punk and much more. It can only be one thing… Download Festival 2019!

As always, the line-up for this weekend does not disappoint from top to bottom. From Slipknot all the way down to Conjurer, the Download Festival bill is stacked!

We’ll be there amongst all the metalheads, rockers, punks and more this weekend, but before you load up your car and head to Donington, you might need a helping hand on who to watch. This is where we come in as we’ve compiled a list of bands to check out at Download Festival 2019.


The Iowa outfit don’t really need any introducing, having played Download a number of times, this festival is almost a home away from home for Slipknot. The Grammy-winning metal band returns to Donington with new material on the horizon but there is no doubt the maggots in attendance on Saturday night will be treated to all of the band’s big hitters.

With a loyal fanbase around the world, it may seem as though Slipknot can do no wrong, but there will want to make sure they put on a show for the Donington crowd to close out the Saturday evening on the main stage. So, expect the classics from the band’s self-titled record and ‘Iowa’ as well as more modern hits like ‘The Devil In I’ to weave together to create a colossus set. (TB)

Where & When: Main Stage – Saturday – 21:10 – 22:50


Maynard James Keenan and co, created a huge buzz around this year’s festival when Tool was announced as the band which would be closing this year’s Download Festival. For a band that has not produced a studio record since 2006, there is still a lot of loyalty and mystery which surrounds the bands epic and sometimes cinematic sound.

With the use of visual arts to help convey the bands very long and complex songs, the thousands in attendance at Donington Park will be able to take in both a music and visual experience from the band. This performance will be a rare insight into the world of Tool, who are renown for their secrecy and privacy but can deliver when they need too. (TB)

Where & When: Main Stage – Sunday – 21:25 – 22:55


For one last time, the mammoth that is Slayer will step out on to a Download stage.

The kings of thrash metal have been doing their victory lap around the world as they bow out of the music industry. And what a fitting exit to leave the UK by playing Download one last time.

Kerry King, Tom Araya, Paul Bostaph and Gary Holt will have the Donington send off that they deserve with a back catalogue spanning nearly three decades there will be a whole host of songs for the quartet to roll out.

One thing is for sure there will be thousands of people shouting the word Slayer long after they have finished on the Zippo Encore Stage. (TB)

Where & When: Zippo Encore – Sunday – 20:45 – 22:15

Smashing PumpkinsSmashing Pumpkins

Despite their numerous line-up changes, it seems the current Smashing Pumpkins is the closest we’re going to get to having the “classic” lineup. Nevertheless, Billy Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin, along with guitarist Jeff Schroeder look to warm up the masses for Tool with their brand alternative rock.

Last year’s comeback record, ‘Shiny and Oh So Bright…’, captured elements of what made them so great with Corgan’s distinctive vocals and layered musicianship. However, it’s those classic songs, ‘Zero’, ‘Bullet With Butterfly Wings’ and ‘Tonight, Tonight’ that are sure to get the biggest response on Sunday evening. (SR)

Where & When: Main Stage – Sunday – 19:10 – 20:20


Since their inception, Maryland rockers Clutch have always been pushing boundaries. Producing a blend of traditional metal mixed in with stoner rock, which has a hint of jazz thrown in for good measure, the four-piece have never been a band to follow the crowd. Having toured relentlessly since first emerging in 1991, Clutch have earnt their place on the Download main stage.

With twelve full-length records to dive into, the quartet will always have fans guessing what material they will delve into, and for a festival crowd will it be all the hits or will they produce some deep cuts. Something that Clutch are not afraid to do. (TB)

Where & When: Main Stage – Friday – 16:05 – 16:50

Fever333Fever 333

12 months ago, Fever 333 surprised many with a last-minute appearance at Download. Now they’re back to continue their rise. The Californian trio haven’t held back since last year, taking things into overdrive with the release of ‘Strength In Numb333rs’ at the start of the year.

With Jason Aalon Butler at the forefront, Fever 333 ferocious brand of politically-charged, socially-motivated rap-rock isn’t easy to ignore. Where songs such as ‘Burn It Down’ and ‘Prey For Me’ contain high-octane, explosive hooks, it is a live setting where Butler and company thrive.

Be on the look to see where Butler and guitarist Stephen Harrison end up, as Fever 333 aren’t afraid to explore their surroundings as they aim to deliver a compelling and thought-provoking set. (SR)

Where & When: The Avalanche Stage – Sunday – 19:10 – 19:50


If you’re looking for a band to leave you grinning like an idiot, then Skindred are the band for you. The Newport ragga metallers have been going strong for 20 years, forging a stellar reputation as a live force during that time.

Led by the charismatic Benji Webbe, Skindred have seven albums worth of material to pick from yet they’re sure to know what the Download masses want to hear; big, bouncing riffs and playful hooks. Trust us when we say you’ll be so enticed by Webbe and company, you’ll be whirling your shirt like no tomorrow during ‘Warning’. (SR)

Where & When: Main Stage – Saturday – 15:35 – 16:25


Legends of the extreme music scene in the UK, Carcass have been one of the key figures in the grindcore scene for years. Now bringing their brand of gore-grind to Donington, it is safe to say that the Dogtooth stage will be a much messier place come Saturday evening.

Even after an 18-year hiatus from playing music, when they spilt-up in 1996, Carcass came back to cause mayhem in the extreme music world with a degree of success. Now fully reanimated and it’s safe to say, they haven’t missed a pathological step. (TB)

Where & When: Dogtooth Stage – Saturday – 19:40 – 20:25


If you are looking for someone to kick start the party on the Friday of this year’s Download Festival, look no further than Norway’s Kvelertak. Full to the brim with riffs, and if the Donington weather holds off, watching the band in the sun with a drink in hand could arguably be one of the experiences of the weekend.

Even with Ivar Nikolaisen taking over lead vocal duties since the departure of founding member Erlend Hjelvik, the band still know how to put on one hell of a show. You will be hard pushed to find anyone watching the six-piece on the Zippo Encore Stage and not be pumping their fist along or playing air guitar along to their shredding solos. (TB)

Where & When: Zippo Encore Stage – Friday – 14:50 – 15:25

Simple CreaturesSimple Creatures

If you don’t fancy spending time with the masked men of Slipknot or hard rockers Halestorm, then Simple Creatures are a welcomed alternative. Admittedly, the prospect of a new band with just a handful of songs out there headlining the Avalanche stage could be quite intimidating. Yet for Mark Hoppus and Alex Gaskarth, they’re used to headlining big stages albeit not together.

While this “supergroup” pairing may not deliver a bucketload of infectious hooks, Simple Creatures do have a slick set of synth-pop cuts in their arsenal. Their recent debut EP, ‘Strange Love’, contains thriving songs such as ‘Adrenaline’ and ‘Drug’ that are sure to win over crowds. (SR)

Where & When: The Avalanche Stage – Saturday – 20:40 – 21:40


In the last 18 months, Conjurer have been bulldozing their way through the UK metal scene to establish themselves as one of the most exciting bands the country has to offer. Combining Opeth at their heaviest and most dynamic, Mastodon at their earliest, Gojira at their most venomous, the four-piece should be right at home in the Download setting for their first appearance at the festival.

With their debut album, ‘Mire’ gain huge critical acclaim and having already crossed the other side of the Atlantic this year, Conjurer are certainly a rising start of not just UK metal, but the genre as a whole. Led by the duelling vocals and guitars of Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose, Conjurer bring a deeper sound to just being heavy and their sound will leave everybody in your bone reverberating. (TB)

Where & When: Dogtooth Stage – Friday – 16:00 – 16:25

At The GatesAt The Gates

Innovators of their sound, Gothenburg’s At The Gates have always done things on their own terms. The death metal crew spearheaded a movement of the genre in their native Sweden in the 1990s, and now in 2019 they are still leading by example.

After some time away, when the band came back together in 2007, it seemed like the need for their brand of abrasive metal was needed then more than ever. Now, sitting comfortably at metal’s top table, At The Gates are going to set a standard on the Dogtooth stage for the rest of the weekend. (TB)

Where & When: Dogtooth Stage – Friday – 22:10 – 22:50

Cane Hill

For the best part of four years, New Orleans’ Cane Hill have routinely been tipped for big things. Having made their Download debut three years ago on the Dogtooth stage, they’re making the jump to the main stage as they’re set to close out the final day.

Over the course of two albums, the Louisiana natives executed a wiry brand of groove metal that saw them lumped with the “nu-metal revivalists” tag. However, this past January’s ‘Kill the Sun’ EP saw them rein things in, showcasing a softer, acoustic-led side to the band. But don’t be fooled into thinking they’re going to ease you into the day on Sunday. ‘Lord of Flies’, ‘Fountain of Youth’ and ‘Too Far Gone’ are made for a late morning mosh with an unrelenting delivery. (SR)

Where & When: Main Stage – Sunday – 11:00 – 11:30


Over the course of the last 27 years, Behemoth have pushed the boundaries of black metal and heresy alike. While anti-Christian sentiment might seem like stale bread where most metal bands are concerned, for Behemoth such ideas represent a very real threat to their physical freedom.

Acting as such a divisive band in their native Poland, metal fans in the UK seem to have embraced the band and all their controversy in toe. Even though presented as anti-religious, there is a feel of a spiritual – all be it an evil one – experience to the band’s performances. (TB)

Where & When: Main Stage – Saturday – 14:20 – 15:05

Die AntwoordDie Antwoord

A group which has spilt the Donington faithful with their inclusion on this year’s festival, Die Antwoord are the true wild card of this year’s Download Festival.

The group known for its unique “Zef style”, and non-conformist, punk-like attitude are more akin to the punk world than the rap world they started from. Performing with high energy and running around the stage like lunatics has gained the Afrikaans a cult-like following, and one which will surely gain more members at this year’s Download. (TB)

Where & When: Main Stage – Saturday – 18:40 – 19:50

Queen ZeeQueen Zee

Fronted by the peculiar and direct Zena Davine (aka Queen Zee) the band do not shy away from being in your face. Queen Zee embraces their oddness and wears it on its sleeve, and at a time where inclusivity is very much in the forefront of people’s minds then you can’t have a much better leader that Zena and Co.

Known for their tongue-in-cheek humour and DIY approach, Queen Zee has gained a cult fan base quickly and even though not a particularly heavy band on a metal festival, they will surely open the eyes of many in the audience on the Dogtooth Stage. Having been described as The Rocky Horror Picture Show on steroids, the five-piece will be right at home on the Download stage. (TB)

Where & When: Dogtooth Stage – Saturday – 13:45 – 14:10


Throughout the early 2000s, Underoath were on top of the pile when it came to heavy alternative music. Their records ‘They’re Only Chasing Safety’ and ‘Define the Great Line’, gained huge critical acclaim, but when the band disbanded in 2013 it left a big gap in the metalcore world. Their sound had become iconic to a generation, so when they announced they would be reforming there was a huge buzz.

Now with the addition of new material, this is a new incarnation of the six-piece. Whatever real-life problems seem to have previously plagued the band are now well and truly in the past, and Download looks set to be the second arrival of the band. (TB)

Where & When: Main Stage – Sunday – 13:10 – 13:55

Black PeaksBlack Peaks

Returning to Download for a second time, Black Peaks continue to be at the forefront of underground British rock. Last October’s ‘All That Divides’ solidified that position, serving as a triumphant second outing for the Brighton-based group.

Since the turn of the year, they’ve had stints supporting Enter Shikari and Smashing Pumpkins, presumably blowing away audiences with Will Gardner’s stunning vocal range and his bandmates stellar musicianship. If you’re looking for a mid-afternoon boost full of dynamic hard rock, then the Avalanche stage is where you need to be. (SR)

Where & When: The Avalanche Stage – Sunday – 15:00 – 15:30

The Wonder YearsThe Wonder Years

In recent years, the Avalanche stage has carved out itself a niche for offering relatively “non-metal” bands, so The Wonder Years are an ideal fit. Their ever-evolving sound has seen the Philadelphia sextet move away from their pop-punk roots, embracing a maturing brand of emo rock.

At the centre of their sound is the retrospective and sincere lyrics of Dan Campbell. His words have become a staple of The Wonder Years, leading them to build a dedicated following on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. Last year’s ‘Sister Cities’ LP was a fine example of that, and in the tours that have followed since its release that connection between Campbell and the band’s fans is in full effect.

If you’re a fan of anthemic pop-punk and heartfelt choruses, then you’ll be right at home watching The Wonder Years. (SR)

Where & When: The Avalanche Stage – Saturday – 19:25 – 20:05

Parting Gift

Parting Gift

While you might want to spend your morning relaxing and curing last night’s hangover, you’ll be missing some exceptional and emerging talent. Cue Parting Gift. Coming out of Manchester, the quartet have a sound that is atmospheric and heavy in equal measure with a hint of mystery.

This past March saw them release an EP titled ‘Ensom’. It saw Parting Gift put emphasis on heavy emotion with delicate and mournful lyrics throughout, against a backdrop haunting guitars and towering choruses. With a growing hint of experimentation, they’re an exciting prospect amongst the UK’s gloom-ridden, post-hardcore scene. So get out of your tent early and be compelled by Parting Gift. (SR)

Where & When: The Avalanche Stage – Saturday – 11:00 – 11:25

The InterruptersThe Interrupters

Ska-punk isn’t the first genre many think of when you think of Download Festival. However, the festival continues to become more varied and diverse, and on Friday on the Avalanche, ska-punk will be leaving it mark at Donington courtesy of The Interrupters.

The Los Angeles quartet of frontwoman Aimee Interrupter, guitarist Kevin Bivona, bassist Justin Bivona, and drummer Jesse Bivona have developed a following for their spirited spin on ska, that lends itself 2-tone. While songs such as ‘Title Holder’, ‘Gave You Everything’ and ‘Got Each Other’ are carried with plenty of substance and unity, it is The Interrupters‘ punk-fuelled energy that has enhanced their live reputation.

With Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and Reel Big Fish following them, The Interrupters are sure to change whatever doubts you have on ska punk by the time they finish. (SR)

Where & When: The Avalanche Stage – Friday – 18:00 – 18:45

municipal_wasteMunicipal Waste

If you thought that the Sunday of Download was going to be for nursing your Saturday hangover then Municipal Waste have other ideas. The bands devil-may-care and often outrageous attitude has endeared them to thousands of adoring fans and with a live performance which can match any of their peers, the band will not be bringing things on the Dogtooth stage to a slow close. They are the ultimate feel-good party band and Download better be ready for Municipal Waste to fuck them up!

Where & When: Dogtooth Stage – Sunday – 19:50 – 20:35

Download Festival 2019 takes place at Donington Park from 14th – 16th June.

Tickets are available here.

Download Festival links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Words by Sêan Reid (SR) and Tim Birkbeck (TB).


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