Download Festival countdown. Top Ten must sees

Posted on 26 May 2011
By Tina Bass
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The gates of Download Festival will open in less than a month for the ninth time. The music forums are already ablaze with excitement and anticipation.

Andy Copping has secured a fantastic line-up that boasts a massive array of bands that span every angle of the rock music spectrum.

It is looking set to be another fantastic and memorable year for Donington, with so many brilliant acts on over the weekend it’s hard to know where to start.

After much deliberating we’ve chosen ten bands that are not to be missed.

Frank Turner

Frank played Download as the front-man for hardcore punk band Million Dead back in 2004. This year he’s back for his first Download as a solo artist with backing band The Sleeping Souls. The captivating element of his shows is that there is no pretence, it’s pure and simple acoustic folk punk rock. His music never fails to transcend the audience into a rowdy sing a long. With his new album England Keep My Bones released a week before his headline appearance, he is not one to be missed.

System Of A Down

Last graced Download back in 2005, System are back as Saturday night head-liners. Perhaps one of the most anticipated bands of this year’s festival. With massive rock anthems like Chop Suey, B.Y.O.B, Cigaro and Bounce – the atmosphere will surely be intense with a guaranteed kinetic crowd reaction.

The Darkness

Famous for their incredible live shows, they first appeared at Download at the height of their fame back in 2003. After reuniting with the full original line-up earlier this year, they return as Friday night sub-head-liners. It will surely be a show to remember with spandex jumpsuits, falsetto vocals and Justin’s newly grown, impressive moustache.


After their fantastic set on the Acoustic Jägermeister stage last year, Starseed return to a slot on the Pepsi Max Stage. People have started to take notice of these guys, especially since the success of 2009’s single, Shine. Their riff driven melodic rock makes for an incredible live performance.

Rob Zombie

On the back of his highly successful tour earlier this year, metal-head Rob Zombie headlines the Second Stage, 16 years after he last played the Donington site with White Zombie. Renowned for theatrical shows with low budget horror movie-esque mise-en-scène, his live shows are both brutal and rambunctious.


Monsters Of Rock, 1994 saw Biohazard escorted off the grounds after a two-song set as a result of encouraging the crowd to rush the stage. As a band that are all about chaos and are always up for disregarding rules and regulations, a high sense of anticipation and uncertainty will surely surround their set.


Having recently finished an extensive UK tour and with a brand new album under their belts, Skindred are a must-see. With Benji’s almost diva-esque characteristics a highly energetic and infectious set is guaranteed. (read our interview with Benji here )


One of a handful of bands that can probably class themselves as Download veterans with regular appearances over the years. Jonathan Davis always gives a strong performance and with a brand new album in the works people will be eager to hear a glimpse of the new material that they’ve been working on.


Hailing from Norway, these Download first-timers are not to be missed. All their lyrics are written in Norwegian and they have quite a distinctive and idiosyncratic sound. A firm favourite on the festival’s forums.

Skunk Anansie

Fronted by the stunning and compelling Skin, their live shows are incredible. Full of energy and with that flawless voice, their last tour got them plenty of rave reviews. With trademark songs such as Selling Jesus, Charity, Weak and Charlie Big Potato, Skunk Anansie’s massive back catalogue will enable them to deliver a prolific and diverse debut set at Download.

Watch this space for live coverage from Donington