Download Festival Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Download Festival Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Download Festival is the UK’s premier rock festival. Taking place across four stages over four days from 8th-11th June, 2023, at Donington Park motorsport circuit, near the East Midlands Airport, it attracts thousands of music fans from all over the world.

The festival has a reputation for showcasing some of the most exciting acts in rock, metal and alternative music. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, this year’s line-up is set to include some of the biggest names in the industry, with headliners such as Bring Me The Horizon, Slipknot, and Metallica.

Download Festival is a celebration of rock and metal culture, with a diverse range of acts, food, and drink, and various options for fans to camp on site, creating a unique community atmosphere and an unforgettable experience. So, if you're looking for an event that will blow your mind and ears, Download Festival is a must-attend event.

Who is playing at Download Festival this year?

Bring Me The Horizon

Sheffield's own Bring Me The Horizon have been shaking up the heavy music scene for a good while now, infusing their pummeling deathcore with electronic and hip-hop elements as frontman Oli Sykes continues to take the band to new and interesting places. Their latest release, ‘Post Human: Survival Horror’, showcases the band's growth and maturity, solidifying them as a creative force to be reckoned with in the industry, as well as an unmissable live act.


This iconic metal band needs no introduction, having absolutely crushed it with their unannnounced ‘secret slot’ performance at the inaugural Download Festival in ‘03. With over 40 years of experience and countless hit songs, Metallica continue to dominate the metal scene and inspire new generations of rockers (just look at the huge renewal in popularity that ‘Master of Puppets’ enjoyed in 2022 thanks to a certain scene in the Netflix show ‘Stranger Things’) - and this year, they’re playing not one, but two sets, with a ‘no songs repeated’ guarantee. Their upcoming album ‘72 Seasons’, led by single ‘Lux Æterna’, is shaping up to be a testament to their enduring legacy and enduring influence on the genre.


Iowa's Slipknot have been pushing the boundaries of heavy music for over two decades, and if latest album ‘The End, So Far’ is anything to go by, they’re showing no signs of slowing down. Returning to Download for their fifth time as headliners - and their seventh overall - the nonet’s distinct image and intense live performances have enabled them to outgrow their nu-metal roots to become one of the biggest bands in the world - literally.


Punk, emo, spoken word - Canadian band Alexisonfire have been doing it all since ‘01. Promising an engaging and cathartic performance as ever, Alexisonfire continue to live up to their legacy as ‘the’ post-hardcore band of the 2000s, knocking it out of the park yet again on 2022’s ‘Otherness’.


Architects have been leading the charge in the UK metalcore scene for well over a decade, adding intricate layers of technical and progressive metal on top of a furious hardcore-influenced foundation. Building on the success of their chart-topping album ‘For Those That Wish to Exist’ with 2022’s ‘The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Spirit’, Architects invite you to join them on their powerful and emotional journey.

The Distillers

Los Angeles punk band, the Distillers, are back on the scene, led once again by tough-as-nails Australian singer-songwriter, Brody Dalle. After a 12-year hiatus during which she enjoyed a successful side project, Spinnerette, followed by a solo project featuring members of Garbage and Queens of the Stone Age, Dalle has reformed the classic ‘Coral Fang’-era line-up to show you that the Distillers still mean business.


American heavy metallers, Disturbed, are making a stop at Donington as part of their 2023 European tour. One of the most reconisable and successful acts to emerge from the genre - having sold over 17 million records worldwide - singer David Draiman continues to excite and impress audiences with his versatile vocal abilities, allowing the band to add their signature hard edge to songs by artists ranging Tears For Fears and Genesis to Faith No More and Simon & Garfunkel.


Taking the world by storm with their debut album ‘Fallen’ in 2003, Evanescence have been a vital presence in metal and hard rock circles for as long as the Download Festival - so it’s fitting they can celebrate a 20th anniversary together in style. The Grammy Award-winning band’s ambitious, cinematic sound, which spans gothic rock, symphonic metal, classical music, and electronica, is unified by angel-voiced singer, songwriter, and pianist, Amy Lee, and sounds as strong as ever on their most recent album, ‘The Bitter Truth’.


Ghost, one of the most enigmatic and ecentric bands of recent years, are a live act that everyone needs to experience at least once in their mortal lives. Hailing from Sweden, the band of Nameless Ghouls are led by mysterious singer, Tobias Forge (usually in character as an incarnation of Papa Emeritus), on an unholy crusade to spread doom and devil worship, bridging the considerable gap between death metal ritual and pop music theater.

I Prevail

I Prevail are a band from Southfield, Michigan who have been shaking up the heavy music scene since their formation in 2013. Fronted simultaneously by clean vocalist Brian Burkheiser and unclean vocalist Eric Vanlerberghe, every I Prevail performance feels like a furious tug-of-war, veering from detuned metalcore verses to uplifting pop-punk choruses, as showcased by the excellent production of their latest offering, ‘True Power’.

Parkway Drive

Heavy metal Australians, Parkway Drive, are back and bigger than ever, following frontman Winston McCall headfirst into an arena-sized battle. They’ve come a long, long way since they started out as a metalcore band from Byron Bay, incorporating orchestral arrangements, choirs, and some fine whistling into their sound on latest album ‘Darker Still’ - but the intensity is as epic as ever.


After what seems like an eternity, things are starting to stir in the Pendulum camp once again. The Australian-British electronic rock band, who dominated the early 2010s under the tutelage of multi-instrumentalist and singer, Rob Swire, have always gone down an absolute storm at Download, and the release and remix of latest EP ‘Elemental’ have got fans hungry for more genre-bending drum and bass.


Often cited as the perfect antidote to the lad culture the UK threatened to descend into under Britpop’s reign, Placebo continue to meld grunge and glam with clever, provocative subject matter. Several critically-acclaimed albums after the success of the inescapable ‘Nancy Boy’, singer and guitarist Brian Molko shows that his songwriting skills have lost none of their androgynous edge on their latest album, ‘Never Let Me Go’.

Simple Plan

Canadian punk band, Simple Plan, truly returned to their pop punk roots on 2022’s ‘Harder Than It Looks’. After featuring Deryck Whibley, the singer of fellow Canadian pop punk band, Sum 41, as a guest vocalist, the two bands embarked on the ‘Blame Canada’ tour together last year - and, judging by the rave reviews, Download is in for an absolute treat courtesy of Pierre Bouvier and co.

VV (Ville Valo)

Ville Valo, former frontman of Finnish love metal pioneers, HIM, has ventured out alone, releasing his debut solo album in 2023 to critical acclaim. Fans of his smooth, sultry voice and themes of love and death need not worry; as its title suggests, Valo’s album ‘Neon Noir’ contains all the darkness and light that HIM devotees have been craving since the band parted ways in 2017.

Within Temptation

Dutch symphonic metal band, Within Temptation, are led by the powerful and emotive mezzo-soprano vocalist, Sharon den Adel. The band have continued to evolved with every album, with their latest release being praised by critics for introducing newer elements from genres such as industrial and electronic music, and, following on from the success of their co-headlining ‘Worlds Collide Tour’, Within Temptation will reunite with Evanescence at Donington Park.

How do I buy tickets for Download Festival?

Tickets to enter the Download Festival Arena can be purchased via an approved ticket agent, such as Ticketmaster.

‘No Camping’ tickets are available for the full four-day event, and ‘Camping’ tickets are available for either four or five days. Payment plans are available for all ticket types.

What are the camping options at Download Festival?

Download offers festival-goers a range of camping options, with five-night and four-night camping packages all including entry to the full four days of the festival. All camping areas are open 24 hours a day and have access to the Village, which offers food and drink stalls, essential services, and non-stop entertainment.

This year, different campsite options include:

  • The Main Camping area
  • The Quiet Camping area, which offers a noise curfew at midnight
  • The Mini-Moshers Campsite, which is reserved for guests with children aged under 5
  • The Eco-Camp, where like-minded guests must follow eco-friendly regulations and ensure that everything that is brought into the camp is taken away at the end
  • The Pre-Pitched Circular Camping area, located within the Eco-Camp, where pre-pitched tents can be hired in advance from a service who refurbish camping equipment salvaged from previous festivals
  • The Rock Retreat campsite at Melbourne Hall, where camper vans and caravans are welcome, which offers luxury facilities and dining options

For more details, visit: Download Festival - Camping Info.

Download camping

Are there any restrictions on what I can bring to Download Festival?

Consumable items such as food, drink, and alcohol can be brought onto the campsite, but not into the arena. Likewise, camping equipment can be brought onto the campsite only.

Please do not bring fireworks, flares, or smoke bombs onto the site - it is now illegal to be in possession of these items at a music festival.

For a full list of what you can and can’t bring to either the Arena or the Camp Site, visit: Download Festival - Info.

Are there any shuttle buses or public transportation options to Download Festival?

Download Festival’s travel partner, Big Green Coach, is the UK’s largest events travel company, and has exclusive access to the official Download Festival coach station. All Big Green Coach services are carbon-neutral.

Big Green Coach can transport weekend guests from one of over 60 pick-up locations across the UK on the Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday and return them on the Monday, and can return day guests to a limited number of locations on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

For more information about the Big Green Coach service to Download Festival, visit: Big Green Coach - Download Festival Tickets - Coach Travel.

What kind of food and drink options will be available at Download Festival?

A range of food and drink can be purchased both inside the Arena and from the Village.

Official sponsors for Download Festival 2023 include:

  • Co-op
  • Pepsi MAx
  • Red Bull

Be sure to check out District X - new for 2023 - which offers street food, bars, secret shows, and more to be announced.

For more Download Festival news and updates, visit: Download Festival - News Features.

Are there any age restrictions for Download Festival?

Music lovers of all ages are welcome to attend the Download Festival. Parents are advised, however, that some of the acts may be unsuitable for young children.

All guests aged under 16 must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult. Other regulations by age group include:

  • 0-4 year olds can enter for free and are do not need a child ticket
  • 5-12 year olds need a child ticket
  • 13-15 year olds need an adult ticket

For more information on age restrictions at Download Festival, visit: Download Festival - Info.

Is there any merchandise available for Download Festival?

A wide range of official Downalod Festival merchandise can be purchased online, or from the Download Megastore, located in the festival’s District X. Clothing such as t-shirts and hoodies, accessories such as patch and games, and homeware such as fridge magnets and wireless speakers are currently on sale, many items of which feature the festival’s official mascot, the Download Dog.

For a full range of available merchandise, visit: Shop - Download Festival - Collections.