Earlier this summer, Download 2016 was a huge success – as it always is every year, despite the weather being less than favourable. It threw it down with rain for much of the weekend, but that didn’t stop metal and rock fans having a great time throughout the festival at Donnington Park. It may seem a world away from Jersey, but we know many fans are regular visitors to both!
Starting on Friday June 10th, one of the main performers originally slated to appear on the main stage was Motörhead. Sadly, frontman Ian “Lemmy” Kilminster passed away at the end of last year, prompting the festival’s organisers to christen the main stage “The Lemmy Stage” and a moving tribute film to be premiered during Motörhead’s original slot.
The band’s iconic legacy was brought to the Lemmy Stage by the rest of the Friday’s performers, though, particularly by bands like Killswitch Engage who paid tribute to Lemmy during their electrifying set. Later, Rammstein headlined the first night on the Lemmy stage and put on a spectacular show for the crowd including flamethrowers, pirates and, of course, a relentless heavy metal soundtrack (except for an impressive acoustic moment in the encore). At the same time, All Time Low headlined the Encore Stage with a slightly more radio-friendly but equally entertaining set.
Highlights from Saturday at Download included NOFX, who headlined the Encore Stage on the second night of the festival. Celebrating over thirty years as a band, they delivered an entertaining and authentically punk rock set, even if it wasn’t really meant to be taken seriously. Simultaneously back on the main stage, Ozzy Osbourne led Black Sabbath in one of the final concerts of their 2016 tour, which they have said will be their last. Although the ageing pioneers of hard rock didn’t deliver their most energetic set to date, this was a farewell to fans that felt very much like classic Download.
On the last day of the festival, Nightwish played in the penultimate slot on the Lemmy Stage and entertained the weary crowd with 11 haunting numbers. They left the stage before the final headliners, Iron Maiden, came out (after some delay) to deliver an amazing performance complete with ruined Mayan temple staging. Overall it did feel like many of the headliners this year were there to pull in the biggest crowds, but the real fresh talent stole the show further down the bill. Perhaps next year we’ll see some of the younger metal rockers taking more of the top slots?