With the last of the litter now removed from the fields of Donnington and the grass beginning to grow once again, now is as good a time as any to start thinking about what acts 2015 may have in store.
We’ve broken the list into 4 parts: ‘Returning Headliners’ – bands that have headlined the show since it’s re-branding in ’03. ‘New Headliners’ – bands that have never played at the event, since it’s re-branding, but who are ‘big’ enough to headline. ‘Sub & Second Stage Headliners’ – these are bands that might do an ‘Avenged Sevenfold’ and finally make the step up to the top spot. Lastly, we’ve beefed up our list with the 15 other strongest possibilities we can think of.
In the wake of the sad news of Malcolm Young’s illness the band have teased that they would “probably release an album before the end of the year” the stage could be set for a world tour next year. The biggest sticking point is the fact that AC/DC aren’t a regular at Donnington like the likes of Iron Maiden or Metallica so if they do tour there is no guarantee that they would be stopping at this festival. They are just as likely to play arenas or hold their own one-day special event, like they did back in ’01 with Stiff Upper Lip tour at Milton Keynes bowl.
Last seen headlining Download ’06, Tool are more than overdue a return to the midlands. The band is currently working on new material, however, recent reports have stated that a new album looks doubtful for the immediate future due to an outstanding lawsuit.
3. Faith No More
2009 was the last time the band appeared at Castle Donnington so like a lot of other bands they are due for a return. A Friday headline slot could be truly epic and is at the top of many fans’ wish lists.
4. Guns N’ Roses
In what was a very explosive and controversial headlining slot at the ’06 show, some fans may not want to see Axl and friends back for a while yet but nobody can deny the pulling power their act has. There are strong rumours arising however that the original Guns N’ Roses lineup are begin tapped to play the 2016 event, presumable in celebration of 30 years of the debut album Appetite for Destruction. If this is true we may see them play the masterpiece in full.
Shock rocking veterans Kiss played a hell of a show back in 2008 and were easily the standout headliner of that weekend. Currently celebrating their 40th anniversary with a huge tour alongside other Download alumni Def Leppard, in aid of several military charities, the demon and the star child may return next year with more venom and make up than your mother would wear.
Too soon? Perhaps. Of all the bands in this section these Lords of Summer will be one of the most recent of performers, having belted out the black album in its entirety as recently as 2012. But hey, would anyone complain? Linkin Park had the same 3 year turn around between ’07, ’11 and ’14 so it isn’t an uncommon expectancy for bands.
Corey Taylor recently described the bands highly anticipated 5th album as “very dark”, so we can only imagine how deep the new record will go when it comes to heaviness. It’s been a turbulent road for the nu-metal titans following Paul Gray’s death in 2008 and Joey Jordison’s departure last year. However, the band has begun to tease their upcoming new record so a follow up to 2013’s impressive performance could be on the cards. As many Download festival goers know, Taylor is a regular at the show and his a fondness for performing here either with Slipknot, Stone Sour or on a solo project increases the chances of an appearance in 2015.
8. Foo Fighters
The more you think about it the weirder it is that the Foos haven’t topped the Download bill in the last 10 years. With appearances at almost every other festival in the UK over the same period it’s either the next on their hit list or they have actively avoided playing the event. At 2012’s Reading festival the band announced that it was their ‘last show for a long time’, however, the band recently announced new tour dates in South Africa this year so perhaps the wait will be over.
9. Green Day
Similarly to the Foo Fighters, Green Day’s lack of appearance at Castle Donnington is quite staggering. The success of ‘American Idiot’ reignited the bands success and propelled them to the top spot on most festival circuits, 2013 saw the band headline Leeds/Reading topping even the mighty System of a Down on the bill. 2014 has been a quite year for the veteran punk rockers so a new album could be on the cards or maybe it’s a year out before touring again in the new year.
Once again this is another great band like the previous two entries that’ve played their fair share of festivals around the country. Muse are currently in the process of recording their seventh studio album so an early 2015 release looks likely. A summer tour showcasing the new tracks seems logical so Download is surely a contender unless the group decide to play on their own tour or at an alternative event.
The Canadian rockers recently announced the release of their upcoming single ‘Revolution’ is set for August this year with an eighth studio album also out before the end of 2014. Like a lot of other bands on this list, a new album will be supported by a new tour so the timing would be right for a debut appearance at Download.
12. Van Halen
These are no doubt Andy Copping’s unicorn, its public knowledge that they are his favourite band and it seems such an anomaly that he’s never been able to sign them. Nonetheless, no list of potential headliners could be complete without the hard rockers, especially as they have begun playing shows outside North America once again with recent concerts in Australia and Japan.
13. Blink 182
2010 & 2014 saw the pioneers of pop punk headline the bill at Leeds/Reading with notable performances at both years’ events. There’s no doubt they’d be a good fit for Download, the main sticking point will be whether the band tour next year after the production of their 7th album was put on the backburner whilst the trio work on other projects.
14. Nine Inch Nails
It’s hard to believe Trent Reznor has led the NIN project for over 25 years and has yet to deliver a performance at the biggest metal event in the UK. The outfit has made a few appearances at Leeds/Reading over the years but this has usually been in a sub-headlining slot, given the more mainstream appeal that these events have.
Current Sub/Second Stage Headliners
15. Judas Priest
With new album Redeemer of Souls out this summer and a US tour planned for the Autumn, it’s easily conceivable that these legends of British steel could return to the fields of Donnington with the headlining slot that they truly deserve.
16. Biffy Clyro
Since the success of 2006’s ‘Puzzle’, Biffy have been on a rising tied in the rock world. This success has proven to be a double edge sword in some respects as many fans have criticized the popularity in the mainstream for having an influence on their recent work. Whatever your opinion, there’s no doubting the force of the Scottish trio and the pulling power they have – headline performances at Leeds/Reading 2013 were clear evidence of this so topping the Download 2015 bill is easily doable.
17. Bullet For My Valentine
Another strong contender to reach the top spot at Download, Bullet For My Valentine have been working hard for the past 10 years on their metalcore sound. Back in January, Matt Tuck announced via Twitter that the band were entering the studio to record their fifth studio and follow up to 2013’s ‘Temper Temper’. The BFMV fanbase remains strong so it’s very likely that they could headline the festival, possibly on it’s opening day.
18. Machine Head
Machine Head’s 8th studio album, ‘Killers & Kings’, is near completion and now that a lawsuit involving former bassist Adam Duce has been settled, the road ahead looks clear for Rob Flynn’s outfit. Next year could be a big one for the Californians, if the new record equals the success of ‘Unto The Locust’ then there’s no reason why they can’t make that final step up just like A7X did this year.
19. 30 Seconds to Mars
Jared Leto’s trio are just about to embark on a double headlining tour with Linkin Park, so it doesn’t seem like any new records are in the works to follow up 2013’s ‘Love, Lust, Faith & Dreams’ album just yet. That could mean that they plan to take time off next year, begin recording new material or continue on the road. If it’s the third option a headline appearance at Download may be possible, although they are outside bets when compared to other acts in this section.
20. Slash ft Myles Kennedy
Alter Bridge would have been a contender for this list, had they not graced the infamous Donnington stage earlier on this year. That said, Myles Kennedy has another card to play when it comes to his work with Slash. The former GnR & Velvet Revolver guitarist is in the process of finishing up his third solo album ‘World On Fire’, which once again features the huge vocal range of the AB front man. If the album is well received by fans then this could be enough to push the pair into the top spot on the bill.
…and 15 Other Possibilities
System of a Down
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Rage Against The Machine
Pantera (with Zakk Wylde)
What are your thoughts on our list? Who would you like to see at Download festival 2015?