Download Festival 2016: My Weekend Highlights

Download Festival Main Stage. Photo credit: Kennerdeigh Scott

Download 2016 might as well be called Brownload or Drownload after the state the festival site was in following the torential downpour Friday through to Sunday. Nonetheless the “UK’s premier rock festival” delivered some of the biggest and newest names in the alternative music scene.

Personally, the lineup collectively wasn’t as strong as previous years however it did mean that I got to explore new bands. These are my highlights from the course of the weekend..


After returning to the stage after a brief hiatus, it’s no wonder why a huge crowd have amassed for Atreyu. From ”Ex’s & Oh’s”, ”Right Side of the Bed”, ”Lip Gloss and Black”, ”Doomsday” to ”Long Live”, there was something for everyone to enjoy. This included their rendition of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name”, a definite crowd pleaser. The combination of frontman’s Alex Varkatzas aggressive vocals and clean vocals from drummer/vocalist Brandon Saller is a match made in harmony. The whole band had so much energy on stage, something that makes a main stage appearance sweeter. I’m really glad Atreyu decided to make more music together.

Billy Talent

Canadian rockers Billy Talent have been around long enough to know how to entice a crowd. They certainly delivered at Download festival on the second stage, not only with their hooky riffs but also with an important message of love. Lead singer Benjamin Kowalewicz informed the crowd of the horrendous news of the Orlando shootings which happened the night before their Sunday performance. A shocked crowd cheered on Ben’s condemnation of this hate crime, which made me respect and love this band even more. With 5 records spanning 13 years, there’s no way near enough time for Billy Talent to fully satisfy a crowd. Ben announced that the band will return in the Autumn before finishing the set with ”Viking Death March”.


This German band are probably, in a good way, one of the weirdest collectives of musicians in the industry. Jazzy costumes and props along with outlandish lyrics is what differentiates majority of the lineup from Rammstein. Word of mouth told me that their shows are always incredible. Those people didn’t lie. Rammstein shows are known for their pyrotechnics and wow wow wow! The downpour of rain that lashed down on Donnington earlier in the day didn’t show any signs of stopping, but that didn’t seem to dampen Rammstein nor the crowd.


I cannot tell you have excited I was to be able to see this band live. I’ve listened to this band for nearly 10 years and it just amazes me of how talented they are. A band full of symphonic music, female operatic vocals and classic metal riffs to create a gothic atmosphere. Lets not forget a theatrical experience. Lead singer Floor Jansen really impressed me with not only her vocals, but also her head banging skills!

Post Download, my favourite thing about Nightwish’s set was this video that emerged of a fan having the best time of his life:


If going from smallest stage last year to playing on the main stage this year isn’t a sign of success, I don’t know what is! Beartooth just keep going from strength to strength and have just released their second full-length album. With crowd favourite ”In Between” having a more pop-punk base than ”Always Dead” which showcases that the band are capable of producing heavy metalcore music, there’s literally everything to like and admire how versatile Beartooth are as musicians.

Milk Teeth

A new band on my radar thanks to Download Festival. A fairly new band having been on the music circuit for 3 years, however don’t let this fool you as The Maverick Stage (the smallest stage) was full to the brim! Showcasing punk-rock and grunge, Milk Teeth were a nice break from the heavy metal of the weekend. With an EP and debut album already in the bag alongside touring with Tonight Alive, Refused, Frank Carter and an upcoming appearance at 2000 Trees coming up, what else can Milk Teeth achieve? The success this UK band have accumulated in the past year in particularly is definitely a sign that these young musicians are not slowing down anytime soon. If you’re after some new music, I suggest that Milk Teeth are a band to listen to.

Did you attend Download Festival 2016? What were your favourite acts?

The Nutty Noodle

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