Horns out, it's Download time. Either you're 15 and bunking your final exams to arrive three days early for a festival just to get plastered with your pals in a field, which will ultimately end in you getting your nose broken in the pit, are slightly older wishing you had that careless energy still, or you have rediscovered it through the delights of Buckfast.
Either way, you're going to want to see great music, and to save you time getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of bands in the programme we've picked out the very best. And as this simple guide gives you the direction to where it'll be most popping without being too voluminous it's not achievable to fit them all in giving you some hours left to see where the wind takes you. Here's to a mega Download 2017.
System of a Down
To treat them as just a nostalgia act would be a disservice to Armenian-American metal wrecking crew System of a Down. Their songs of political justice have just as much relevance in today’s upside down society as it did when they were in a battle against the Bush Era. If there was ever a day to sing-along to songs as powerful as Toxicity and BYOB, it will be on Election Day. Serj Tankian will also no doubt have something to say about President Trump and it will be a joy to watch his and Daron Malakian’s off-the-wall chemistry together.
Make Sure You: VOTE THE DAY BEFORE!
Find Them: Friday, Main Stage, 21:15
The spooky Southampton group of goths are one of the quickest rising bands on the rock circuit today. Having just released their critically acclaimed debut album Eternity, In Your Arms, the Download Main Stage is going to be their big moment to prove that they’re ready to conquer the next level. If their massive choruses and Will Gould’s stage presence are anything to go by, this shouldn’t be missed. They’re going to smash it! Look for the sea of Creeper backpatches in the crowd too.
Make Sure You: Wear all black!
Find Them: Saturday, Main Stage, 12:05
Pop punk isn’t something that just died out in the mid noughties when Blink 182 called it a day the first time round, in fact, it’s currently thriving. This year’s lineup is packed full of pop punk bands old and new, from both sides of the continent. But if there’s one that cannot be missed, it’s State Champs. With big hooks, massive chorus and a party vibe, the New Yorkers will make the (probable) mudpit of a tent at Download feel like you’re at a sunny Warped Tour circa 2002!
Make Sure You: Grab a slice of pizza and learn all the words to 'Elevated'
Find Them: Friday, The Avalanche Stage, 18:30
Some people can’t wait and some people don’t think they’re worthy to headline such a prestigious rock festival. If there’s one thing that you can count Biffy Clyro on, it’s that they are always up for a challenge. They may decide to cater to the festival’s heavier tastes and throw out some of their rarer tracks from the early days, or they might do what only Biffy can do best and perform their weird, quirky and outrageously impressive rock music to a world class standard with an unparralled stage show to go with it, that will inevitably prove any doubters wrong. Mountains, The Captain, Machines, the bangers are endless.
Make Sure You: Grow a beard
Find Them: Saturday, Main Stage, 20:50
Heavy metal isn’t always about Satan worshiping and ‘Five finger Death Punches’, most of these bands actually know how to have a laugh. Nobody does this better than pirate metal band (yes that’s a thing) Alestorm. With tales about quests for gold, skipwrecks, being cursed at sea and the local tavern wench, Alestorm will have you belly laughing when you’re not banging your head to their epic tracks fused with some typical Scottish banter. Expecting to see swords, a keytar and lots of rum drinking.
Make Sure You: Practice your best Jack Sparrow impression!
Find Them: Saturday, Zippo Encore Stage, 13:30
This is supposedly going to be Steven Tyler and crew’s last ever UK show so you know they are going to go all out for it as festival closers. You can looking forward to singing your hungover heart out to all of their biggest classic rock mega hits from 'Walk This Way' to 'I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing', not to mention the singer’s slick showmanship, timeless voice and flamboyant charisma. As Joe Perry’s guitar licks will take you back to the 70s, Aerosmith’s headline slot will be a slice of nostalgia that you can’t afford to miss.
Make Sure You: Get some tissues ready for an emotional fairwell!
Find Them: Sunday, Main Stage, 20:50
One of the pioneers of thrash metal, Slayer are possibly the must see band of Download if you want a true taste of what the whole culture is all about. Experience the headbanging, the riffs, the circle pits and the true sense of community as Kerry King and co blast through ferocious metal anthems like Raining Blood and Angel of Death. By the end you’ll no doubt be screaming at the top of your lungs ‘SLAYYYYYEEERRRRRR!’
Make Sure You: Get your metal horns in the air!
Find Them: Sunday, Zippo Encore Stage, 19.30