This year’s Download Festival, held from the 10th to 12th of June at Donington Park, sees iconic rock legends such as Rammstein, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden headline the festival, which promises to be a weekend of unmissable performances of rock and metal. But missing some of the smaller acts – which boast enourmous amounts of talent even equal to the headliners – would be a crime, so here are a few of the lesser-known, or lesser-celebrated, bands (and one case of Download-royalty) you can’t afford to miss.
The Bedford-born four piece, formed in 2008, never fail to charm both fans and new audiences alike as they incorporate cheeky humour into their rock-pop performances. Don Broco’s recent release of their sophomore album Automatic, after a long three years without new material, met with mixed reviews from fans and critics alike, yet most criticisms seem to concern the structure of the album rather than the actual quality of the songs. In fact, the songs Automatic bear forward are several of their best. Anthems like ‘Fire’, ‘Money, Power, Fame’, and ‘What You Do to Me’ seem to be crafted with live performances particularly in mind and are almost guaranteed to have audiences chanting along with lead singer Rob Damiani’s vocals, distinctive from any other singer in both this genre and others.
Don Broco have played at Slamdunk Festival 2012, supported both You Me At Six and The Used on their respective UK tours, and performed on the main stage at Reading and Leeds festival in 2013. In 2015, they headlined the Kerrang! Tour, on the brink of their release of Automatic, playing alongside bands such as We Are the In Crowd and Young Guns. With an absolute command of the stage no matter where they are, Don Broco are definitely not one to be missed.
Don Broco perform on the Encore Stage on Sunday 12th June.
Having carved a name for themselves as masters of pop-punk, All Time Low are more than deserving of recognition. Although slightly out of place at Download, there’s no denying that their being the main act of Friday’s Encore Stage is well deserved. The four-piece have recently released their sixth studio album, Future Hearts, which lead singer Alex Gaskarth says is “almost an autobiographical account” of the band’s career, having been “chasing this dream for our whole lives and living with this idea that we have parts that are bound for the future.”
The album boasts a whole host of sing-along anthems and quieter, cheerful acoustics which could easily appeal to fans of all ages, particularly its first single ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ and the warm inspiration of ‘Missing You’. These, among others, show the album to be perfect for a festival like Download, without neglecting the classics like ‘Weightless’ and ‘Damned If I Do Ya (Damned if I Don’t)’ which, without a doubt, will have any audience up and on their feet.
All Time Low perform on the Encore Stage on Friday 10th June.
Well known for their punked-up cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal’ in 2001, Alien Ant Farm rose to acclaim with their debut studio album Anthology boasting hits such as ‘Movies’ and ‘Courage’ and have since performed at Vans Warped Tour and Sonisphere Festival, as well as embarking on several of their own tours. Their fourth studio album, Always and Forever, was released in 2015 and articulates their characteristically heavy, nu-metal vibes. Even if you go just for the hits, be sure not to miss AAF who will surely send you back in time to the angsty teenage years of the early noughties.
Alien Ant Farm perform on the Lemmy Stage on Friday 10th June.
One of the headliners of this year’s Download, the iconic legends of metal are currently on their Book of Souls world tour, playing a total of 35 countries, and are planning to land right on the festival’s doorstep in their custom Ed Force One 747-400 Jumbo Jet in order to end the festival in style. Their sixteenth (yes, that’s right sixteenth) studio album The Book of Souls was released near the end of last year and met with a wave of critical and commercial acclaim. As established Download royalty Iron Maiden are sure to perform a mix of long-loved hits and new, exciting tracks which can’t be missed, even if you tried.
Iron Maiden headline Download on the Lemmy Stage on Sunday 12th June.
The Hertfordshire-born boys have done well to get a place at Download. Formed in 2013, the trio have released three EPs and a mini-album, Courage, which did particularly well, peaking in the rock and metal charts at number 8. The alternative rock band have performed with many iconic and rising figures of modern rock including Frank Iero, Mallory Knox and Fearless Vampire Killers. Having played both the stages of small, suburban town clubs and the bigger areans of Slamdunk Festival and Sonisphere, Fort Hope should fit in nicely performing for the audiences of Download, and are definitely one to look out for on the smaller stages.
Fort Hope perform on the 4th Stage on Friday 10th June.
The full range of tickets for Download 2016 are available for purchase here.