Festival season is just around the corner, and one of the first to unleash a wave of awesome music upon us this June is Download festival.
We thought all you music lovers out there might want to know what’s going on down at Donnington this year, so we spoke to Andy Copping, the festival’s co-founder and booker, responsible for bringing us some of the best bands in the world to the festival again and again.
Q. How excited is everyone involved at Download about this year’s big headliners?
One thing about the download team is that we’re all music lovers – it’s our main passion! So we’re working on something that’s dear to our hearts and also commercially viable to do, which is what we’ve done with the headliners this year.
I wanted to make a point and move a band up the bill, as we’ve done in previous years like with Slipknot in 2004, and we’ve certainly done that with Avenged Sevenfold. They’re a band that definitely deserved that with a no.1 album here and in America. We knew they were capable of being a headline act, especially after they played second to System Of A Down in 2011 where, for me, they were better. They really stepped up and I’m glad we got them.
Aerosmith are also such a classic band with a huge repertoire that they can change their set every night of the week and it will still be full of hits. So yeah, we’re excited!
Q. Which band do you think will provide the most excitement at Download 2014?
Avenged is going to be super exciting, so will Steel Panther. Bring Me The Horizon playing third on the main stage on Saturday will be great because we’ve seen them grow and develop over the last few years. There are three or four must see acts people should check out. Established bands who roll their sleeves up and put on a solid set for the fans.
Q. What has Download got planned to make sure it’s the biggest metal and rock festival in the UK?
I’ve always tried to put on a varied list of bands on the bill. I mean, this year we have acts like Status Quo, Joe Bonamassa and The Offspring. Once again we’ve built a good, strong and eclectic mix of bands and styles that all come under the rock umbrella. We want to make the experience for the download ticket buyer really fresh every year, and we have a few surprises to please people too.
In terms of standing out from other festivals, I think our history speaks for itself. People love coming to Donnington and they treat it like a yearly pilgrimage.
Q. Which bands on the smaller stages do you expect to be a surprise package?
There are a few actually. People should watch out for Royal Blood, a really new, exciting band. Nothing More, a band from the US that I think in the next year or 18 months we’ll see really move into people’s psyche. I see them as a big band for the future. Baby Godzilla, another band that’s started making some noise and have recently done the Kerrang! tour and got great reviews. A band called Kid Karate from Ireland, another great two piece act people should keep their eye out for. King 810 – I think there’s going to be a lot of controversy surrounding that act when they play.
Q. What other exciting non-music related things are planned for Download that people might want to check out?
We do a lot of after hours stuff on the campsite. There’s a good place called the Dog House with various things going on there and entertainment. There’s a lot of new stuff going on. I don’t want to give too much away, but when people walk around they’re gonna see how much we’ve invested in other activities round the festival that aren’t music driven.
Q. Does Download feel honoured that Linkin Park will be exclusively playing Hybrid Theory in full, an album that many rock fans grew up with as teenagers?
Definitely! When Linkin Park said they were available to play I said, “If you’re going to do this it’s got to have a point of difference. I don’t want it to just be a standard LP show.”. I was aware that 14 years ago that album made a huge impact on people’s lives. It was an album that got people into rock music and nu metal. I know the album is going to excite fans, me as well. It resonated with a lot of people and I think the set will draw a lot of older Linkin Park fans. People that have only just got into rock music want to see the band perform that set too, so it’s definitely a really special thing they’re doing.
Q. Are there any bands on the bill people might consider a “guilty pleasure” that they should definitely go see?
There are two or three in particular for me. Dan Reed Network on the Friday, they’re just great musicians with great songs that get a good vibe going with the audience. I think Status Quo, headlining the second stage on Sunday as well. They’re gonna be doing a greatest hits set which should have a real impact. And Steel Panther, they’re such a fantastic live band, great entertainment. They were one of the bands of the weekend in 2012 and it’s great to have them back.
Q. Which new bands are you most looking forward to introducing to the Download crowd?
The ones that I mentioned earlier, King 810, Kid Karate, Royal Blood, Nothing More. If you’ve heard of them, definitely go and watch them. Even if you haven’t, go check them out. Lonely The Brave are another band I think people should check out, they’re gonna have a big year, so watch out for them!
Q. What useful tips or advice do you have for festival newcomers?
I would say, take off the blinkers, go and discover new acts, make sure you drink plenty of water and bring clothes for all weathers. Bring sun lotion as well as warm, waterproof clothing – just in case. Keep an open mind as well.
Q. Why should Blue Banana fans try their hardest to get tickets for this year’s (or even 2015’s) Download festival?
I think people should get a ticket because it’s an experience that they’ll never forget. It’s a great way of meeting up with new like-minded people. Obviously you’re hanging out with your own friends but its a great way of making new friends. We’ve found that over the years these people meet up again the following year. It’s a real community spirit which not a lot of festivals offer!
Download festival runs from Friday, June 13 to Sunday, June 15 and tickets are still available but selling quick, so hurry! If you’re camping at Download or any other festival this summer, don’t forget to check Blue Banana’s festival essentials and show support to your favourite bands with a t shirt!
Are you excited for Download? Please leave a comment and tell us which band you’re most looking forward to seeing!