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The Ultimate Download Festival Review

Photograph of the blog post author, Will Hammond

Will Hammond


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Download Festival

The pulsating energy of thousands of music enthusiasts, the rhythmic beats reverberating through the air, and the collective anticipation hanging in the atmosphere. Welcome to the ultimate Download Festival experience. 

As the 2023 iteration of everyone’s favourite rock and metal event quickly approaches, it’s time for our ultimate guide to Download Festival! Download has a reputation for delivering unforgettable performances, fostering a vibrant community, and creating cherished memories for attendees. So, let’s have a gander!

Download is definitely my favourite festival. It was one of my first festival experiences when I was 16, and it continues to be an anticipated yearly event. So hopefully, I’ll see you all there!

Every year, people from all walks of life converge upon the historic grounds that host Download Festival. All are eager to jump into a three-day performance of live music, camaraderie, and pure rock ‘n’ roll spirit. 

With its humble beginnings in 2003, the festival has become synonymous with showcasing the best in rock, metal, punk, and alternative genres. The festival is a mecca for fans seeking an unadulterated celebration of their favourite music.

Download Festival 2023: Let’s Get Ready for Rock

The time is upon us again! Mark your calendars and prepare for rock and metal mayhem as Download Festival returns to Donington Park from Wednesday, June 7th to Sunday, June 11th, 2023. 

Download Festival Lineup

With a lineup that promises to rock your socks off like never before and the weather forecast looking mostly bright, here’s what you can expect from Download Festival 2023.


Brace yourself for electrifying performances from the iconic Metallica, the masked and intense Slipknot, and the genre-defying powerhouse Bring Me The Horizon

I’ve seen all three before, and they have yet to disappoint. They’ll grab your attention with their larger-than-life presence and deliver mind-blowing sets that leave you aching from jumping, thumping, and headbanging.


The supporting lineup features a diverse mix of equally established bands and rising stars that could headline themselves one day. 

There will be performances from Alter Bridge, Skindred, Halestorm, Jinjer, Puscifer, State Champs, Perturbator, Architects,  Evanescence, Within Temptation, Pendulum, Neck Deep, VV, Carpenter Brut, Disturbed, Placebo, Alexisonfire, Simple Plan, Clutch, Coheed and Cambria, Ice Nine Kills, Parkway Drive, Ghost, Bad Religion, I Prevail, Electric Callboy, Behemoth, Hatebreed and many, many more!

Festival Info

As well as this amazing set of bands, Download Festival 2023 has a range of other activities. The camping grounds allow you to connect with fellow music lovers and forge new friendships. You can enjoy food from a variety of vendors, peruse merchandise stalls, and partake in interactive experiences, workshops, and art installations that celebrate the spirit of rock and metal culture.

For those seeking the full festival experience, general camping options are available for four or five nights. This allows you to fully immerse yourself in the festival community, with tickets starting from £300. 

If you prefer a more flexible arrangement, weekend arena-only tickets are also available, granting you access to the performances without the camping experience. Whichever ticket option you choose, be sure to secure your spot early. Download Festival is a highly anticipated event that draws rock enthusiasts from all corners of the globe.

Car parking is available on-site for a separate fee to make your festival experience as smooth as possible. This allows you to conveniently bring your vehicle and easily access the festival grounds throughout the festival, costing £26.


Download Festival 2023 takes place at the iconic Donington Park in Castle Donington, Derby. This legendary venue has a rich history of hosting rock and metal events and offers a picturesque backdrop for the festival’s electrifying performances.

The address and postcode are: Donington Park, Castle Donington, Derby DE74 2RP.

Past Highlights from Download Festival

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The highlights from Download Festival have always captivated me with their stage presence, expert musicianship, and, let’s face it, their catalogue of hits.

From the blistering guitar solos of iconic bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica to the soul-stirring vocals of rock legends like Foo Fighters and Guns N’ Roses, the main stage becomes a truly awe-inspiring experience.

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Beyond the headliners, the smaller stages at Download Festival provide a platform for rising stars and underground acts to leave a mark on the audience. Here, future generations of rock and metal heroes showcase their talent.

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But it’s not just about the headliners or the rising stars. It’s the collective energy of the crowd that truly makes the performances at Download Festival unforgettable. The sea of hands raised and the collective voices singing along to every word create a sense of unity. 

Download Festival Venue and Facilities

As you prepare for a wicked experience at Download Festival, you should familiarise yourself with the festival’s layout to make the most of your time. With an extensive landscape and lots of stages, amenities, and camping areas, having a good understanding of the festival layout will ensure an enjoyable festival experience. 

Download Festival Map

You can also find a link to the map here:


Main Stages: The festival’s main stages are where the headlining acts and highly anticipated performances take place. Familiarise yourself with the locations of the main stages to ensure you don’t miss out on your favourite artists. These stages often have large screens and impressive production setups, providing a fantastic visual and auditory experience.

Smaller Stages: Download Festival also features several smaller stages that showcase emerging talent and provide a more intimate atmosphere. These stages are scattered throughout the festival grounds. They offer a chance to discover new artists and enjoy performances in a more up-close and personal setting. Check the festival schedule to see which acts are performing at these stages, and plan your itinerary accordingly.


Camping Areas: Download Festival offers various camping options, including general camping areas. These areas are for campers to set up their tents and create a temporary home for the festival’s duration. Familiarise yourself with the layout of the camping areas, including the location of amenities such as water stations, shower facilities, and charging stations.

Food, Drink & Shopping: You will find many amenities and facilities to enhance your experience throughout the festival grounds. Food stalls and vendors offer a variety of culinary options, ensuring there’s something to satisfy every craving. Merchandise booths allow you to purchase band merchandise and festival memorabilia. Restroom facilities, including portable toilets and permanent restroom buildings, are strategically placed throughout the grounds for convenience.

Safety and Medical Services: Your safety is a priority at Download Festival. The festival provides medical services on-site to address any health concerns or emergencies. Note the locations of medical tents and the festival’s emergency protocols to ensure you can seek assistance if needed. 

By familiarising yourself with the layout of the festival grounds, the locations of stages, amenities, and camping areas, you’ll be able to maximise your enjoyment and, more importantly, minimise the time spent trying to find your way. Download Festival’s well-organised venue and facilities ensure a brilliant experience, allowing you to focus on the incredible performances and the vibrant atmosphere that makes the festival so special.

The Organisation and Logistics of Download Festival

Now, behind the performances and the atmosphere, there is a web of organisation and logistics that makes Download Festival the event it is. From the initial planning stages to the final breakdown, the festival’s promoters and organisers work hard to ensure the perfect experience.


At the heart of Download Festival’s success lies the dedicated team of promoters who work to bring the event to life. These individuals possess an understanding of the music industry, a passion for live performances, and a knack for collecting a diverse and compelling lineup. They negotiate with agents and artists, carefully selecting the acts that will grace the stages and create the magical moments we, the festival goers, want.

The promoters also play a crucial role in securing the festival’s venue, ensuring it provides the necessary infrastructure and space to accommodate the vast number of attendees and stages. Selecting the right location is paramount, considering factors such as accessibility, facilities, and environmental concerns. Download Festival often takes place in expansive outdoor settings that allow for the creation of multiple stages, camping areas, food stalls, and other amenities necessary for a multi-day event.


Ticketing is probably the most crucial aspect of the festival’s organisation. The promoters work closely with ticketing agencies and vendors to facilitate the sale and distribution of tickets to eager fans around the world. They implement various ticket tiers and packages, providing attendees with options that suit their preferences and budgets. Additionally, they implement measures to ensure ticketing fairness and prevent scalping, prioritising genuine music lovers who wish to experience the festival.

The logistics of Download Festival extend beyond ticketing and venue selection. Transportation and accommodation arrangements ensure attendees can access the festival grounds and have a comfortable stay. The organisers collaborate with local authorities and transportation providers to establish efficient transportation routes, shuttle services, and parking facilities. They also work closely with nearby hotels, campsites, and other accommodation options to provide attendees with a range of choices that suit their needs.

The Diverse Lineup of Download Festival

We’ve touched a little bit on Download Festival’s 2023 lineup, but the festival itself is renowned for its ability to create a lineup that genuinely represents rock, metal, punk, and alternative music. With its commitment to showcasing a diverse range of genres and artists, the festival provides a platform for both established acts and emerging talent to captivate audiences.


Download’s lineup definitely caters to different musical tastes. From the heavy-hitting riffs of metal and the adrenaline-fueled energy of punk to the melodic hooks of alternative rock and the experimental sounds of progressive metal, the festival offers something for everyone.

Contrary to popular belief, Download Festival is not solely about the brute force of metal. It also embraces punk’s infectious energy and rebellious spirit, along with bands incorporating modern, urban beats and electronics, for example. 

The Fan Experience at Download Festival

Download Festival is not just about the music. It’s a celebration of the community that comes together to share a passion for rock and metal. The festival creates an atmosphere where festival goers can make new friends and memories and engage in wicked experiences. 

Festival goers often dress in an array of creative outfits, bringing out their individuality and love for the music. From band t-shirts and leather jackets to elaborate costumes and face paint, the festival grounds become a colourful environment of personal style and rock-inspired fashion. 

The festival’s community spirit is infectious. Strangers become friends as they bond over their favourite bands, sharing stories and recommendations. Conversations happen in the queues for food, at campgrounds, and even during breaks between performances. There is a genuine sense of camaraderie as people exchange high-fives, hugs, and enthusiastic cheers throughout the festival.

Food and Drink at Download Festival

As attendees gather to celebrate their shared love for rock and metal, there’s more than enough food to satiate their appetite.

One of the highlights of the festival is the selection of vibrant and bustling food stalls that line the grounds. The stalls showcase a diverse range of food, catering to various dietary preferences and tastes. There is something for everyone, from burgers, barbecues, and loaded fries to vegan options, fresh salads, and gluten-free options.

Download Festival embraces the concept of “food for the soul” by offering meals perfect for fueling a full day of rocking out. These festival favourites are complemented by a plethora of toppings, sauces, and seasonings, allowing festival goers to customise their meals.

Download Festival Accommodation

Here’s a helpful Airbnb link for listings near Donington Park Circuit.

As thousands flock to Download Festival, suitable accommodation becomes a key consideration. The festival offers various options to make sure that all visitors have a place to rest before the next day of breaking your neck to Slipknot. 


Camping is the most popular and iconic accommodation option at Download Festival and the most authentic experience for any long-haul festival stay. 

The festival grounds provide dedicated camping areas where festival goers can pitch their tents and create temporary homes. Camping offers a unique opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the experience. There’s a sense of camaraderie, and attendees have a chance to connect with fellow music lovers. Facilities such as showers, toilets, and water points are available to ensure basic necessities are met. Be mindful, however – these won’t be for the faint of heart towards the end of the day!

Download Festival offers various glamping packages for those seeking a more comfortable and convenient option. Glamping combines the thrill of camping with the luxuries of a hotel experience. These pre-pitched tents and accommodations include comfy bedding and sometimes even power outlets and private toilets. Glamping provides a hassle-free experience. Attendees can enjoy the event while having a cosy and comfortable retreat to return to after a day of festivities.

Offsite Accommodation

For those who prefer a bit more comfort and privacy, nearby hotels and B&Bs offer a range of accommodation options. These establishments provide respite from the festival atmosphere, allowing festival goers to unwind in comfortable surroundings. Staying in a hotel or B&B offers the convenience of private bathrooms. It also provides the opportunity to explore the surrounding area and discover local attractions during the festival downtime. 


It’s also essential to consider travel in advance. Shuttle services and public transportation options are often available to facilitate travel between the festival site and nearby accommodation locations. It is advisable to check the festival’s official website or contact the accommodation provider for specific transportation details and recommendations.

Final Thoughts on Download Festival

The stage is set for Download Festival 2023 to be an extraordinary gathering of rock and metal enthusiasts. Music lovers from all walks of life will unite to celebrate the power of live performances. 

With headliners like Metallica, Slipknot, and Bring Me The Horizon, along with a solid and eclectic supporting lineup, attendees can expect diverse sounds and an electrifying atmosphere that will resonate long after the festival ends.

Whether you camp on-site or opt for an arena-only ticket, the festival offers a chance to connect with like-minded individuals, explore interactive experiences, and indulge in the vibrant spirit of rock and metal culture. 

From the legendary Donington Park venue to the carefully curated lineup and array of amenities, Download Festival 2023 promises an unforgettable experience for music lovers. So, mark your calendars, secure your tickets, and immerse yourself in the magic of Download Festival, where music comes alive, and memories are made.

See you all there!


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