How to Slay Download 2017

Unsplash/Yvette de Wit
Published on:

June might just be another summer month for anyone around the world, but for 80,000 British metalheads and rock fans, June means making a sacred pilgrimage to the hallowed grounds of Donington Park, June means several unsuccessful sacrifices to the weather Gods to quell the possibility of rain (get your wellies ready!)… June means it’s time for Download Festival! For those of you fortunate enough to go, here’s how to make sure you fucking slay it.

Watch Mastodon: Friday 4:10pm – Main Stage

Photo credit should read: Emily Assiran for Observer

It’s a well-known fact that Mastodon slay live. Hot off the heels of their brilliant seventh album Emperor of Sand (you have seen the hilarious video for Show Yourself, right?) the band are in the middle of a huge European tour which can only mean one thing: there won’t be a better oiled machine playing the entire weekend. Basically, this is a rare chance to see Mastodon deliver their epic sprawling sets in the UK. Don’t miss it cause you are at the back of the bar queue or collecting paper cups.

Watch Code Orange: Friday 3:30pm – Avalanche Stage

Family photo

Ah Code Orange. How we have been singing their praises. If you don’t know, Code Orange are one of the most brutal, caustic, hardcore, relentless bands on the scene today. They take no prisoners, instead choosing to slay absolutely everyone in sight. Anyone who saw them support Gojira in London in March will be lining up to watch them destroy Download. You’ve got no excuse to miss this one… it’s on the indoor stage!

Watch Max & Iggor Cavalera: Saturday 5pm – Zippo Encore Stage

Nice flowing hair

Roooots blooody roooots. For those who missed out on the opportunity to see former Sepultura members Max and Iggor Cavalera perform the entire fucking legendary Roots album for its 20th anniversary or you just couldn’t get enough the first time, the brothers will be bringing the show to Download. This is fucking unmissable.

Bring a Raincoat

It being England, we will not be surprised by the rain. But it will still dampen our souls leading us to question why exactly we choose to spend the last 30 years marooned on this godforsaken rock. The Pit recommends you stay warm and dry. Good options include this all black steampunk trenchcoat number. Or perhaps this 100% waterproof yellow fisherman’s jacket. That way you are sure to be easily spotted by your mates when you go crowd surfing and can’t find your way back. Or whatever that is in the picture. The website says it comes in a rainbag which sounds very promising.

Watch Creeper: Saturday 12:05pm – Main Stage

No doubt Creeper is one of the most exciting young bands around. On their debut album earlier this year ‘Eternity in Your Arms’, the band fused huge chorus’, giant riffs, Misfits, AFI and everything Halloween into a blistering theatrical grandiose record. Expect to hear every word amplified thousands of times over by their incredibly devoted ‘Creeper Cult’. Don’t miss this one because you are in the portaloo.

Watch Kvelertak: Saturday 3:50pm – Zippo Encore Stage

Photo credit: Paal Audestad

We know you like Van Halen. We know you like Judas Priest. We also know you like Black metal. And we know about your internet browsing history. Well, not the last one. Kvelertak is a band to pump fists, jump around, lose your shit and sing along (in Norwegian) to. The kind of band who make you forget the rain and the misery. Not to be missed.

Get a Tattoo

A Common Download Tattoo

What is a music festival really if not a chance to permanently alter your body in a fun and fashionable way? We suggest getting your favourite band done. Large too. Go large or go home. Other good options include the names of random besties you meet on site, new found partners and a map of this Download site.

Watch Motionless in White: Friday 2pm – Motionless In White

Motionless in White

Metalcore goths Motionless in White know how to bring a show. Expect devotion, loud riffs and even louder beats. If you want to lose your shit in a mosh pit, get in the middle of this lot.


There is something about WWE. We don’t know quite what it is. Maybe it’s the tight spandex, the ribbed bodies, the long wet hair… Not sure. It’s time to relive childhood memories of gathering around the TV and watching the drama unfold. Don’t pass on the rare opportunity to witness it all in real life, without having to fork out for an arena ticket. We can’t wait!