Our Guide to Download Festival 2014

By Tom Aylott

letlive. play the Pepsi Max Stage on Friday

Ah, the smell of summer. We’ve hit June and that can only mean one thing. Download Festival. We’ve seen some spectacular sets at Download over the past few years, and there’s some giants of Punk Rock at Donington Castle this year. Let us guide you through Download’s best punk rock and hardcore as we stretch our festival muscles.

Friday June 13

When the bass isn’t bumpin’ in their trunk, The Offspring have been making a habit of playing ‘Smash’ in full this year, and after laying it down at Groezrock for us, they bring the show to Download. They head up the Zippo Encore stage on the Friday before Rob Zombie takes it home and we’re hoping to be in full swing by 21:25.

Bad Religion are on the Zippo Encore stage before them, and being one of our all-time-favourites, we’re hoping for another excellent set. Tracks from ‘True North’ should sound excellent from Donington’s second field, and we expect a stack of classics from 20:10

Quicksand have been gracing stages ever-increasingly in recent months, and this particular Walter Schreifels outfit will be out to impress on their first Download appearance in a long time on the Pepsi Max stage at 17:05.

We love it when a great UK punk band gets the chance to play a big festival, and Drones will be representing in fine style on the Red Bull Stage on the Friday at 17:10. If you haven’t heard of them, are heading to Download and are reading this site, then you need to get involved over in that field.

We’re strong believers here that if you don’t like Turbowolf then you have something wrong with you, so get yourself over to the Pepsi Max stage at 14:35 for a solid dose of trip rock. Expect tracks from the band’s debut as well as their forthcoming second record.

Best of the rest:
Radkey (15:25 Pepsi Max Stage)
letlive (18:50 Pepsi Max Stage)
Baby Godzilla (19:40 Red Bull Studio Stage)
Jamie Lenman (19:15 Jagermeister Acoustic Stage)

Saturday 14 June

Sub headlining the Saturday this year at Download are Fall Out Boy, who have been running rings around all other pop punk bands since their return. They’re one slot away from headlining a major festival so they’ve everything to prove at Download this year. If Reading/Leeds last year and their arena tour are anything to go by, their set at 19:10 will be unmissable.

Following them are Linkin Park, another band performing a full album at Download 2014. Their ‘Hybrid Theory’ album was the foundations of the listening habits of many people going to Download, and believe us when we say it’s going to go off.

The rise and rise of Arcane Roots continues at Download this year, and with a single out and their math rock sounding fantastic, their afternoon set at 16:25 on the Pepsi Max stage should be a career highlight.

Talking of career highlights, the unstoppable Marmozets have had quite a few this year. With a Roadrunner Records debut album on the way later this year, they look set to wake up all still drowsy at 14:45 on the Pepsi Max Stage. Do not miss.

If you’re in need of a little acoustic tunage to sooth your ears after a long day of rocking on Friday, Dan Allen AKA Ducking Punches will bring his unique brand of of folk to the Jagermeister Acoustic Stage at 15:10.

Best of the rest:
Coldrain (15:35 Red Bull Studio Stage)
Colt 45 (13:10 Red Bull Studio Stage)
Lonely The Brave (15:35 Pepsi Max Stage)
Cytota (11:40 Red Bull Studio Stage)
Press To Meco (11:00 Zippo Encore Stage)

Sunday 15 June

Our #1 weekend highlight is lined up to be the UK return of Against Me! They’re one of our all-time-favourite bands too, and we’re super excited to see tracks from ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ in the full-band-flesh. If we don’t get to hear ‘Black Me Out’ we’re going home in a grump though.

Later on in the day, if you don’t fancy Aerosmith that much, then a very, very fantastic alternative is the one and only Dillinger Escape Plan. Seeing them in the sweaty Pepsi Encore stage will be an absolute treat, and they’ve got a real knack for unforgettable festival appearances. Catch them from 21:10. Bring earplugs.

Feed The Rhino are also a standout UK band getting a bigger break at Download this year, and we can’t wait to see Lee and the boys turn the Pepsi Max stage into a massive pit at 14:00. With a new album on the way, they’re armed with just as many new songs as at Slam Dunk, and they’re preaching to the choir at Download this year. Expect carnage.

Another acoustic treat over on the acoustic stage, Oxygen Thief will be belting out some shouty punk at 18:40 in case you need some calm-before-the-last-night-storm. The Xtra Mile artist is in full swing at the moment, and we’ll be there with beer in hand and smiles on our faces.

Crazy Town at 15:35 on the Pepsi Max because, frankly, Crazy Town.

Best Of The Rest:
Milk Teeth (17:40 Jagermeister Acoustic Stage)
Monuments (20:55 Red Bull Studio Stage)
Heart In Hand (18:55 Red Bull Studio Stage)
We Came As Romans (13:30 Zippo Encore Stage)
Polar (19:55 Red Bull Studio Stage)

So, there’s thirty bands you shouldn’t go to Download without seeing. We’ll see you bright and early on Friday for some all-singing-all-dancing-and-live-blogging fun. Keep you eyes on #PTDL, and join in if the mood takes you!