Last weekend, over 100,000 fans took to Donington Park for a special four-day Download Festival to celebrate its 20th Anniversary and biggest year ever.
With not one but two incredible headline sets from Metallica, a debut headline show from Bring Me The Horizon and a closing performance from Donington favourites, Slipknot, it’s no wonder fans are already rushing to purchase their 2024 ticket in the festival’s early bird sale.
A main stage double whammy for ACC alumni
Friday saw two knockout performances from former ACC students, Amy Love (Nova Twins) and Sam Bowden (Neck Deep) as they took over the main stage at the festival, known as The Apex stage.
On the back of two BRIT nominations, a Mercury nomination and a Kerrang! Album Of The Year win, Nova Twins secured a prime afternoon slot. With their name in neon lights and an electric energy throughout, their frenetic 35 minute performance proved that they deserve their place on the main stage.
Fans were ecstatic to see another appearance from the Twins during Bring Me The Horizon’s headline set, performing their collaboration ‘1×1’.
‘We love festival season, playing Download main-stage was such a dream and felt like a turning point in Alt and Rock music! To see more women on main-stages and newer acts on these festival bills will help ensure the evolution and survival of the scene.’ – Amy Love, Nova Twins
Later in the day, Neck Deep (featuring ACC alumni Sam Bowden on guitar) took to the Apex Stage. Front man Ben Barlow kept the packed out crowd’s energies high throughout Neck Deep’s quintessentially pop-punk set, despite the baking heat (unusual for a typical Download Festival weekend), performing anthems old and new.
A celebration of diversity and a new generation of alternative music
Paying tribute to the diverse Download community, the Humans of Download launched their live photography docuseries on social channels and across the festival site, celebrating Download attendees and their eclectic outfits and costumes.
Docuseries Creative Director Danny North, said: “This location and the beautiful people that inhabit this space fills my soul. I wanted to create a photo series that holds a mirror up to the people that make this festival what it is.”
It’s no secret that festival lineups have been under scrutiny over the past few years due to a lack of diversity. This year, Andy Copping and his team set out to curate a more representative selection of the industry’s best artists, inclusive of people of colour, female and genderqueer musicians.
It was amazing to clearly see a new generation of alternative musicians shine through what can often be an ‘old boys club’ roster. Download knows its audience well and we can’t wait to see who will be climbing the lineup in years to come.
Some names to keep an eye on from this year’s edition include Bambie Thug, Kid Bookie, Lake Malice, Fever 333 and Witch Fever.
Read a snapshot from our catch up with Witch Fever guitarist Alisha and drummer Annabelle below:
You’ve just played The Dogtooth stage at Download’s 20th Anniversary! How did it feel to perform to that many people?
‘We actually find it less nerve wracking than playing to a small amount of people! If there’s more people who get to listen to what we have to say, it’s so much better for us!
And what do you have to say?!
‘We stand for empowerment, being who you are and being able to play music.’
We’ll be sharing our full video interview with Witch Fever and a load of incredible shots our photographer took over the weekend, so watch this space!
And if you were at Download, we want to hear your best Download ‘23 experiences. Share them with us via DM or by tagging @accesscreativecollege!
Download Festival returns to Donington from Friday 14 June – Sunday 16 June 2024. Limited Early Bird tickets are on sale 12 noon on Monday 12 June 2023 from www.downloadfestival.co.uk.