Festivaler Live Nyheter

Download XXI Festival 2024

(c) Enda Madden

Where has the time gone since last year’s Download festival epic four day event to celebrate its 20 year anniversary? Andy Copping, the boss for Download Festival, revealed recently that the 2024 festival was “the hardest year to secure a line-up”, having had to approach 21 bands in order to secure eventual headliners. These difficulties were further compounded when a number of bands pulled out of the Download festival bill at the last moment in protest against Barclaycard being used as its official payment partner. This boycott was due to allegations made regarding Barclays providing financial services to companies supplying Israel. All of this culminated in the loss of Leeds band Pest Control, punk bands Speed, Scowl, Zulu,and metalcore band Ithica dropping off the bill.  The festival subsequently sold out however regardless of all these challenges. After the high-profile pushback, Barclays stepped back as sponsors of all Live Nation festivals. This year sees the implementation of a better traffic management system and manages to avoid the extensive traffic jams experienced at last year’s event. This year also sees the return of the massive sound and light towers introduced last year for the 20th anniversary, affording punters a better all-round experience. All welcome additions for what will hopefully be a better festival experience for all.

A mention should also be made here of those who opted to travel to Download on 2 wheels. ‘The Heavy Metal Truants’ again organized both a physical cycle to the Donington festival site from London completed over 3 days and a Virtual cycle. For the virtual cycle, riders had the option of completing challenges of between 175 miles and 1000 miles between June 01st and June 12th, 2024. Our esteemed scribe, Howard Keogh completed almost 400 miles for the charity before flying to the UK for this annual pilgrimage to Download. ‘The Heavy Metal Truants’ have been breaking a sweat to raise funds for children’s charities since 2013. The cycle raises funds for Childline, NSPCC, Nordoff & Robbins Music Therapy, Teenage Cancer Trust, and Save The Children, and since its inception has raised over £1.3 million.

On to the bands…

Day 1 Friday June 13th

Those Damn Crows who hail from Bridgend in Wales come onstage on the Apex stage. The set opens with the new single ‘Let’s Go Psycho’. Then unfortunately the weather takes a turn for the worse as the black clouds roll in and the rain starts. Shane Greenhall introduces 2023 single ‘Takedown’ as the rain belts down but the band still bang out a cracking performance. Those Damn Crows played Download festival previously in 2019 and 2023 and last year supported Hollywood Vampires. If you want to catch them live they play a number of dates in the U.K. later this year.

The Struts are a British rock band formed in Derby in 2012. The band consists of lead vocalist Luke Spiller, guitarist Adam Slack, bassist Jed Elliott, and drummer Gethin Davies. Singer-songwriter Luke Spiller was raised in Bristol in a family where his introduction to music was predominantly gospel music. In 2009, following the breakup of their respective bands, Spiller together with Derby-based guitarist/songwriter Adam Slack connected and began playing together in Derby and with the recruitment of a few friends The Struts were formed. Today’s set opens with ‘Primadonna Like Me’ and Spiller introduces ‘Body Talks’ as a Rock n roll song. There is an infectious groove to this band which gets the crowd clapping and singing along. The band have released four studio albums, ‘Everybody Wants’ (2014), ‘Young & Dangerous’ (2018), ‘Strange Days’ (2020) and the most recent ‘Pretty Vicious’ which was launched in November 2023. The band head stateside in July for a raft of dates after which they return to play UK and European dates. Today’s set includes 2014 single ‘Kiss This’ and closes to rapturous applause with ‘Could Have Been Me’.

Our first visit to the Dogtooth stage is for Urne a 3 piece outfit from London. The band’s 2023 album ‘A Feast Of Sorrow’ provides most of the material for today’s set. Urne play a number of other festivals including Full force festival and Resurrection festival in June and more dates in the U.K. and Europe later in the summer. A blistering performance is delivered with special mention to the band’s drummer who puts in a mammoth shift.

Heilung is a folk band comprising members from Denmark, Norway, and Germany. Their music is a mix of pre-Christian music originating from the north part of Europe and some other ancient musical styles. Heilung were founded in 2014 in Copenhagen by vocalist Kai Uwe Faust (a German tattoo artist) and Danish producer Christopher Juul. Juul had operated his own recording studio, Lava, in Copenhagen. A barter agreement was struck, whereby Faust offered Juul some free tattoos in exchange for help recording some poems and this was how Heilung was born. Later in 2015, Maria Franz started to work with Heilung as a session vocalist. In 2015, the band released their debut album, ‘Ofnir’, and Franz officially joined the band. Two other studio albums make up the band’s discography, ‘Futha’ (2019) and most recently ‘Drif’ in 2022, on the Season of Mist label. Heilung, which means healing in German, suggests that their music is intended to induce relaxation by bringing the audience on a magical musical journey and that is exactly what happens here. The curtain falls to reveal a forest scene as a shaman enters wafting incense from a container with some leafy branches before the drums start and the performance begins in earnest. What ensues is a truly unique and evocative recreation of rituals that mesmerize those in attendance. Instruments used by the band to achieve this other worldly ambience are all of ancient origin like drums, including one with horse skin painted with human blood, two drums with deerskin and a drum with goatskin, played with deer bones. Sometimes a human forearm bone is used by the band, but this was left at home in case there were issues with U.K. customs. Also included in the assorted array are buffalo horn and clay rattles filled with human ashes, a Hindu ritual bell, antiques from temples and a reconstructed silver cup from the Viking age. Faust’s throat singing is in the Tibetan or Mongolian style and costumes worn on stage are also replicas of the type worn by ancient Nordic and Bronze Age peoples. Later this year Heilung play Glastonbury and Roskilde festivals followed by an extensive European tour. This is truly an experience not to be missed and an intriguing exploration of our ancient heritage.

(c) Enda Madden

Queens Of The Stone Age are an American rock band founded in 1996 in Seattle, Washington by vocalist and guitarist Josh Homme following the demise of his previous band Kyuss. In 1995, Josh Homme joined Screaming Trees as a touring guitarist, before forming a new band, Gamma Ray, however after a legal challenge from the German power metal outfit of the same name they were forced to change their name. Homme has been the only constant member through a series of line-up changes. Since 2013, the line-up has consisted of Homme alongside Troy Van Leeuwen (guitar, lap steel, keyboard, percussion, backing vocals), Michael Shuman (bass guitar, keyboard, backing vocals), Dean Fertita (keyboards, guitar, percussion, backing vocals), and Jon Theodore (drums, percussion). Queens Of The Stone Age are known for their riff-oriented and rhythmic hard rock embellished with distinctive vocals and unorthodox guitar scales. In early May 2023, rumours began to surface of this imminent new album. On May 11, the album’s first single ‘Emotion Sickness’ was released, followed by further singles ‘Carnavoyeur’ and ‘Paper Machete’. The album ‘In Times New Roman’ was released last June. According to Josh Homme there was some discussion around Queens Of The Stone Age playing a Download headline set. Regardless of this, as he admits during the set he celebrated the Download festival headliner slot occasion by getting “stoned and fucked up.” Tonight’s performance includes older singles like ‘Little Sister’, ‘Burn The Witch’ alongside more recent ditties like ‘Carnavoyeur’, ‘Paper Machete’ and ‘Emotion Sickness’. The finale for tonight is the classic ‘A Song For The Dead’. The band’s itinerary in 2024 so far has seen dates in Australia, New Zealand and North America and the headline slot here at Download Festival 2024. Tonight Queens Of The Stone Age silenced the headline slot debate with a formidable set as festival headliners.

Day 2 Saturday June 14th

Ireland’s Bambi Thug opens day two on the Apex stage and may have somewhat under dressed for the inclement weather, as they are wearing a fetish type bikini, hair and makeup that includes the word witch craftily inscribed across their brow that must have taken hours to prepare. The set is playful yet risqué broaching subjects like oral sex, amongst other things. Mid set Bambi Thug takes a moment to adjust their minute wardrobe as their socks fall down before continuing. Later one of the masked dancers arrives onstage pushing a wheelie bin. The lid of the bin opens and like a Bedouin’s serpent, Bambi Thug emerges slowly from the bin. The highlight of the set however, is a poignant cover of The Cranberries ‘Zombie’. During the song flags of nations including Ukraine, Congo, Palestine, and Yemen, along with flags of the LGBTQ+ and Transgender community are paraded onto stage and Bambi Thug appeals to the audience to use their voices to influence governments in a positive way. The finale of the performance is ‘Doomsday Blue’ which is of course met with a rapturous reception. This has been a meteoric rise to fame since last year’s appearance on the Dogtooth stage and their subsequent Eurovision appearance representing Ireland. Who knows what is next, with an upcoming tour as Bambi Thug goes from strength to strength.

Karnivool have some improved weather as their set starts. Karnivool hail from Perth in Australia and have some really chilled out riffs that ooze coolness. Vocalist Ian Kenny introduces “a long song” and instructs the audience to “sit back, smoke some and enjoy.” The tour is heading to Europe next taking in Copenhell, Graspop and Hellfest festivals. The set today closes with the ‘New Day’ from the 2009 ‘Sound Awake’ album.

(c) Enda Madden

Ne Obliviscaris are delayed substantially coming onstage at the Dogtooth stage and are plagued with sound issues throughout their set. Consequently their set is limited but these progressive rockers who were formed initially as a four-piece in April 2003 are not daunted by this. Laughing in the face of adversity the band perseveres. They are forced to share a microphone at one stage when the second microphone had failed. The resilience, delivery and musical prowess of this band is obvious from the off and the crowd are enthralled with the set. Ne Obliviscaris are on the festival circuit through the summer performing at both Hellfest and Graspop if you get the opportunity to see them do not miss them.

It has been over 20 years since Pantera played together but today the Download punters are treated to a much anticipated reunion of sorts. The set is preceded by video footage of the band at the height of their success. Vocalist Phil Anselmo dedicates the third song in the set «Strength beyond strength» to Darrel and Vince whose images also adorn the drums. The deceased members of the band have been replaced with Zakk Wylde on guitar and Charlie Benante on drums. The billing on second stage again here is called into question as the area struggled to hold all those in attendance, doubtless this should have been a main stage billing. This is particularly important for the fans safety in wet conditions. The set is great though with favourites like ‘Walk’, ‘This Love’, ‘Cowboys From Hell’ and the finale ‘Fucking Hostile’ whisking the audience back in time. It is great to hear Pantera play live again. Don’t panic if you missed them though, as they play Barcelona Rock Fest before heading stateside then next year return to the U.K. and Ireland for another raft of dates.

Fallout Boy are tonight’s headliner on the Apex stage, a choice that created some waves in the Download festival fans camp. As the show starts Patrick Stump appears on the big screens in a hospital bed complete with gown accompanied by the sound of a heart monitor. However his malaise doesn’t last as he jumps out of bed as the band explode into life for ‘Disloyal Order Of Water Buffalos’. Tonight the set list delves into the archives to give us a taster from most of their back catalogue in almost chronological order. The performance is not without theatrics either with flaming bass guitars, cheerleaders, and flying sheep. Ten out of ten for effort here however the ever present question remains, is this the way forward for Download festival headliners…. let’s just say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Day 3 Sunday June 15th

After a night of rain Code Orange from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania stride onstage as if they owned it. As they launch into their set vocalist Jami Morgan smashes his own forehead with the microphone, blood begins to flow down his face as he encourages the crowd to “wake the f*** up.” Due to the inclement weather and the late start set times are being squeezed and as the Code Orange set comes to an end the defiant band try to continue playing. This results in their sound being cut. Anger issues then come to the surface as the band members throw a tantrum. Vocalist Jami Morgan hurls the microphone across the stage and guitarist Reba Meyers attempts to trash the drum riser. It may be a while before these guys are invited back to Download.


Goth rockers Creeper, who are no strangers to Download Festival, are now ramped up the bill to main stage. This band from Southampton have previously played on smaller stages and it is great to see them elevated to main stage. A talented dance troupe of five young ladies in minimalist costumes and ghoulish make up lead out before the band arrive looking like they have all just left a vampire feast. Vocalist Will Gould (aka. William von Ghould) tells us it is good to be home. Today’s set includes ‘Cry To Heaven’ and ‘Teenage Sacrifice’ both lifted off the 2023 album ‘Sanguivore’. Decked out in a wardrobe which has been tailored specially with the band logo that coincidentally looks very similar to that of Avenged Sevenfold they look the part. Creeper play OVO arena Wembly in October with The Black Veil Brides in a show billed as the devils night. Vocalist Von Ghould gets a crowd chant going before launching into the song ‘Down Below’. The finale is ‘Lovers Led Astray’ featuring a guest appearance from Dan Jacobs of Atreyu.

Kerry King returns to Download Festival with his band which include former Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph, bassist Kyle Sanders from Hellyeah Vocalist, Phil Demmel formerly of Machine Head and Mark Osegueda, of Death Angel fame. Osegueda thanks the audience for sharing the aggression before kicking off ‘Idle Hands’ As expected this is a blistering set including two Slayer tracks ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Black Magic’. The set closes with the first single released ‘From Hell I Rise’. The tour takes in a number of European festivals before heading to the U.S.
Another titan of thrash has returned in glory…..Hail to the King.

(c) Enda Madden

The rumoured secret set has materialised at the at Dogtooth stage is revealed to be Parkway Drive who headlined the main stage last year, however good this idea may have seemed at the time, it is apparent even before the set starts that it was not a good idea. The short set list today opens with ‘Glitch’ from the 2022 ‘Darker Still’ album and older material like ‘Vice Grip’ and ‘Bottom Feeder’ from 2015 album ‘Ire’. Parkway Drive tour Europe over the summer before some dates in the U.S. and Australia. Reports abound of fans being unable to get into the tent while for those inside the tent the security team had to contend with masses of fans piling over the barrier.

(c) Enda Madden

Sum 41 on the main stage have attracted a massive crowd for their last ever UK festival performance. This band have a reputation of long tours are finally considering a rest. Their most recent double album ‘Heaven :x: Hell’ has two sides the heaven side features a return to the pop-punk style of the band’s early career, while the second disc, Hell, follows the heavy metal sound the band pursued in subsequent years. The associated tour aptly named ‘Tour of the Setting Sum’ is one last hurrah and is set to finish with two shows at Scotiabank arena in Toronto in January 2025. Tonight Sum 41 are truly on fire as favourites like ‘Motivation’, ‘The Hell Song’ and ‘Walking Disaster’ are rolled out. We also hear a cover of Queen mega-hit ‘We Will Rock You’ It is truly hard to believe these guys are hanging up the boots with Download as the last U.K. festival, but as hinted by Deryck Whibley there may still be a chance to see them later this year. The show reaches a crescendo with closing songs ‘Fat Lip’ and ‘Still Waiting’.

Limp Bizkit adds to the nostalgia as Fred Durst swaggers onto stage to the strains of the Lynrd Skynrd hit ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. Hits like ‘Break Stuff’ and ‘Rollin’ are dished up. Fred Durst quips “I hope you don’t mind but I brought the sunshine from California with us.” No complaints on that front. A plethora of covers are also thrown into the mix with the likes of Oasis and The Who to name but a few. Fred invites Andy Copping onstage and they embrace, and apparently Andy later said if Limp Biskit came back they would be headlining.

Avenged Sevenfold are the final headliner and they don’t disappoint. M.Shadows arrives on stage sporting a balaclava on and kicks off proceedings with ‘Game Over’ and ‘Mattel’ from the most recent ‘Life Is But A Dream’ album. This is the second time Avenged Sevenfold have headlined Download so they know the drill. Massive favourite ‘Hail To The King’ is dedicated to all the fathers in the audience as it is Father’s Day. ‘Nightmare’ goes down a treat until again issues occur as the sound system fails after the solo forcing the crowd finish the song. Once the technicalities are resolved Avenged Sevenfold come back out fighting with ‘Unholy Confessions’ complete with drum solo. The set is a mix of old and new which holds true to M. Shadows admission “We are going to play all kinds of shit for you.”He also tells us it is possible Avenged Sevenfold will return to these shores in 2025.

And so another Download festival comes to an end. Regardless of the fact this year has been a bit of a struggle, between headliner availability, geopolitical issues, torrential rain, rivers of mud, multiple technical issues and delays, the Download fans, resilient as ever, battled through all adversities and came out the other side stronger. The Metal Gods will smile again. Here’s looking forward to news of Download 2025 and hopefully better weather.

Words: Howard Keogh
Images: Enda Madden