Some of the biggest names in heavy metal have appeared at the Download Festival since its inception in 2003. From AC/DC to Korn, Motorhead, Kiss, Guns ‘n Roses, and more, the Download Festival has become one of the largest live music festivals in Great Britain. Held annually at Donington Park in Leicestershire, England, the Download Festival has expanded to create summer festivals in France and Australia in the past few years.
The origin of the name came from the rebellious nature of downloading music from internet sources which was a popular, if illegal activity at the time. But perhaps a stronger reason is that the creators of the festival wanted to emulate the success of the Monsters of Rock while having a strong 21st century presence. In other words, the name reflects being in the here and now and not something from the past.
The festival was initially formed to be a follow-up to the popular Monsters of Rock festivals that were held in the 1980s and 1990s at the Donington Park circuit. Stuart Galbraith, along with Andy Copping and Tom Pyke set up the Download Music Festival in the same location in 2003. Initially a two-day event, the festival expanded to cover three days in 2005.
In the early days, ticket buyers could download tracks from bands that had performed at the festival, although this has been discontinued. What has grown is the Download Festival Forums which allow fans to speak out, raise concerns, and add new ideas to the event. The forums allow for feedback that organizers have used to improve the festival over the years.
Until 2008, the festival took place at the circuit infield of Donington Park, but new developments meant a move initially to the west side of the circuit, but that was changed a year later to the sound side where it has remained since.
The Rise of Download
The Download Music Festival was a big hit when it first arrived in 2003 and has been growing ever since. Becoming a three-day event that features the most popular performers in heavy metal. Through the years, the only major hiccup was in 2012 when bad weather forced the postponement and cancellation of some acts, but the festival managed to soldier on.
Since 2012, the festival has only become stronger and more popular thanks to the addition of new acts along with established stars in heavy metal. The 2019 festival was considered a remarkable success, but heavy downpours did dampen the turnout. Groups such as Def Leppard, At the Gates, Slipknot, Stone Temple Pilots, and Tool were a few of the many that performed at the event.
Today, the Download Music Festival is stronger than ever, drawing in more people every year. It remains one of the premiere live music events in Europe. Plus, it has created popular heavy metal summer music festivals in Paris, France, Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. The festival itself shows no signs of slowing down thanks to how efficiently it is run and the popularity of heavy metal.
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