Now in its 17th year, Download Festival 2019 returns with a gargantuan of a line-up of rock and metal artists. On June 14, leather-clad, tattooed rockers, metalheads and punks will again descend on Donington Park in Leicestershire.
After last headlining the festival in 2011, classic rock powerhouse Def Leppard is making a return to headline the main stage on the opening night, and this will be their only UK appearance of 2019. After a successful world tour, which saw ticket sales of over a million, these British rock ‘n’ roll icons will be playing their 1987 masterpiece, Hysteria, in full.
They are preceded on the first night by legendary rock guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Slash, together with Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. Billed as Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, this is not just Slash and some backing band. Instead, this is Slash playing inside a great band. With each record and tour they’ve produced, this band continues to show the world that there is an audience ready and willing to accept new music, as long as it is delivered honestly and consistently.
Other acts on the opening day include British hard-rock legends Whitesnake that are still rocking after forty years and not showing signs of stopping. The band recently released a new album titled Flesh & Blood. Astro-creep Rob Zombie will also bring his unique carnival of horrors to the festival.
On the second day, the mighty Slipknot will be back for a fourth time as headliners, and there is no debating as to why. Being Grammy-nominated 10 times, having 13 Platinum and 44 Gold records, 2.5 billion YouTube views to date, the inscrutable, challenging and aggressive music force of nature is something to look forward to.
Slipknot will be on after Die Antwoord, the rap-rave crew that hails from South Africa promises to bring an electrifying experience (and probably one of the weirder experiences you’ll have.) They are playful, yet dangerous at the same time. Their sound is a combination of sweet, childlike vocals combined with electro dance beats and their strangely odd image is inspired by a South African counter-culture known as ‘Zef’.
Heavy-metal headbangers, and self-proclaimed ‘new Metallica’, Trivium has conquered the biggest festivals in the world and have toured with the behemoths of the metal world, and they’ll also be on hand at Download this year.
On Sunday night, the festival will be closed out by the progressive-metal juggernauts, TOOL. They announced this past week that their new record, the first since 2006’s 10,000 Days, will be released on August 30. This new record has been in the making for the past decade, and in anticipation of the new album, we are sure to hear a few of the new tracks.
Others to watch on the final day are alt-rock grunge legends, The Smashing Pumpkins, who will be making their first appearance at Download Festival. They’ve recently been entertaining crowds on their 30th anniversary tour and are celebrating the release of their new album, SHINY AND OH SO BRIGHT, VOL. 1 / LP: NO PAST. NO FUTURE. NO SUN. Frontman Billy Corgan will be joined by original members James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin – not to be missed!
Thrash legends, Slayer, are sure to unleash a fusillade, and following their final tour in November 2018, this will be the last opportunity to see them blow up the stage.
In addition, this year’s festival boasts acts like Opeth, At the Gates, Clutch, Last in Line, Skindred, Halestorm, Three Days Grace, Animals as Leaders, Lamb of God, Godsmack, Dream Theater, Enter Shikari and Underoath – just to name a few.
Despite its reputation for being one of the heaviest line-ups, the festival will cater for a variety of tastes and this year’s looks to be one of the most diverse and intriguing.
You’ll get all of the above music, but that’s not all, as we haven’t even mentioned the markets, late bars, funfair, and much, much more. Download Festival 2019 takes place from June 14-16 2019 – for more information and tickets, visit the Download Festival website here.
Words by Marianne Brits-Strodl // Photo Credit: Sarah Koury