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Preview: Download Festival 2023 – the best bands to see at the hottest metal event of the year

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Featured image: Matt Eachus/Press

With Download Festival just around the corner – the excitement for this year’s four-day event is highly anticipated for metalheads across the UK. Celebrating the 20-year anniversary, they have pulled some huge names out of the bag to create a monster of a line-up that suits everybody. Here are some of the bands you can expect to see at the hottest metal event of the year. 

It was highly anticipated by the Download community that we would not be disappointed by this year’s choice of headliners – so it was met with a great reaction when Slipknot, Bring Me The Horizon and two days of Metallica were announced back in November. 


The four-night special kicks off to an incredible start with Metallica kicking off the selection of headline sets; it is bound to get the party started. Joining them on the main stage are the legendary Alter Bridge, the band that features Guns’ n’ Roses guitarist Slash as well as singer Myles Kennedy. After seeing them on their recent tour, it is clear their set will be sure to go down a storm. 

State Champs return to Donington Park, providing all of the nostalgic hits that I was lucky enough to enjoy a few years ago on one of the smaller stages at Download 2017. Singer Derek Discanio’s energy is not something to miss out on! 

On the smaller stages, the line-up is still jam-packed with bands to watch. In particular, I am especially looking forward to the up-and-coming Snayx, who I have only heard great things about following recent shows, as well as Mom Jeans, providing all of the mid-western emo tunes to kickstart the weekend. 


Day one begins with a killer selection of smaller bands, including some of my personal favourites, Stand Atlantic, Hot Milk and Nottingham’s finest: As December Falls

With a line-up of this calibre, there is no question as to why the entire festival sold out in only a few months. Without fail, it promises everything that a festival-goer  would enjoy. The pop-punk legends Neck Deep, Architects and the nostalgic Evanescence were three bands who pushed me to look further into this hefty festival. 

Ending quite possibly on the best day of the weekend are the mighty Bring Me The Horizon, who have recently sparked rumours of a potential 10-year Sempiternal anniversary set at Download, which  has got fans talking. Over the next few weeks, it is clear that anticipation will build over what to expect from the set list they will perform. 


Kicking off Saturday’s moshing activity, you can find heavier bands all around the site including, some of my own favourites, Stray From The Path, Fever 333, Static Dress – and not forgetting the first band I saw at my first ever Download in 2017: Motionless in White

Returning to play their second and final set of the weekend is Metallica, promising a brand-new line-up of songs in comparison to the set played on Thursday night. It is impossible  not to look forward to every night of this festival when such great plans are promised. 


The final Sunday night headliners need no introduction, as they are known far and wide. The incredible Slipknot, fronted by Corey Taylor, are back in Derbyshire in a few weeks to perform to thousands. They are bound to draw in a huge crowd for the finale of the weekend, it will certainly be a set that sticks around in people’s minds for a long time. 

Both Ghost and Electric Callboy are two bands that have been on my list to see for years and are set to deliver very energetic sets. Ghost’s interesting character story makes their music that much more exciting to watch. 

I have all of my fingers crossed that the stage clashes on this day treat us well: with a crazy schedule of talent within the bands including Lorna Shore, Blind Channel, Palaye Royale and Touche Amore – just to name a few.

When it comes to Download 2023, there is no need to question whether to attend or not. All genres of rock are covered on this year’s huge and well thought out line-up – there is something for everybody.

Kicking off the last day of mosh activity, you’d better make sure you head over to the Dogtooth Stage where, amongst other acts you will find former Bullet For My Valentine drummer Michael “Moose” Thomas delivering face-melting metal with Kill The Lights, as well as a audacious headline slot from Slash’s good buddy, Myles Kennedy

The Avalanche Stage, sponsored by Kerrang, serves up something new and something old. Leeds hardcore upstarts Static Dress continue their rise with a slot in the big tent, which is headed up by California punk legends Descendents

The Second Stage sees prog sludge metallers Baroness treading the boards with glam rock sympathisers The Darkness and Steel Panther. Quite the mix, but variety is the spice of life right? And so onto the prestigious main stage, where melodic hardcore heroes Rise Against will be mixing it up with the likes of Danish metal warriors Volbeat and nu-metal’s first and probably best Korn, who are enjoying a return to form with their latest album Requiem. Rounding off the weekend quite nicely and left with the unenviable job of following Korn will be Scottish alt-rockers Biffy Clyro, who are old hands at this now and will have the crowd singing long into the night.

Download Festival will be taking place Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th June, 2023 at Donington park, Leicestershire. For tickets and more information visit

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Rianna Ram

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