Ten Bands You Should Check Out At The Download Pilot Event!

This weekend, if you can believe it, 10,000 rock/metal/alternative music fans will be descending on the hallowed grounds of Donnington Park. For the first time since 2019 and after the 2021 event was postponed to 2022 following the continued COVID-19 issues.

It’s Download but not Download as you know it.

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The Download Pilot Event is part of the second phase of the Government’s Event Research Programme. Hence the limited numbers and the many requirements needed to be met which we urge you to read here.

We’re not here to talk about that though. We’re here to offer up our suggestions of who you should be checking out over the three days. Bear in mind that there are no clashes and the line-up is much smaller than you might be used too. So there really is no excuse to not see as much live music as you possible can this weekend.


Sleep Token

An intriguing band shrouded in mystery, Sleep Token are a masked, anonymous collective of musicians said to be united in their worship of an ancient deity identified as ‘Sleep’, who appeared to the band’s lead singer, ‘Vessel’, in a dream.

Their music can be best described as mad mash of alternative, post-metal, ambient, progressive metal and electronica. Their latest album was Sundowning, released in 2019 and it really helped put them on the map.

This show promises to one of those ‘where you there?’ ones. They are playing the second stage and are on at 2050.


There is no doubt that Malevolence are going to tear Download a new one. At the worst of times, the hardcore/punk unit are a destructive force so imagine what kind of show they’re going to bring after having been cooped up for so long?

Their latest release was the EP ‘The Other Side’ and they play the second stage at 1800.


Enter Shikari

There’s a strong argument that the headliners of this Pilot event don’t exactly have the ‘star’ power you might normally expect from the festival. Of course, this event is like no other Download and has thrown down the gauntlet to several bands to prove they belong.

There’s no denying of the three bands in the headline slots, it’s Enter Shikari that feels like they belong. It’s now up to electronica/rock crossover unit to prove it.

Their latest release was the 2020 album, Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible and they take to the skies on the main stage at 2135.

Lotus Eater

A new look Lotus Eater will be looking to cause some serious gloomy hardcore noise here. Emerging from the ash and rubble, their new beginning kicked off with the single Vermin In March of this year

Never afraid to say what they think, expect some explosive early morning energy as they hit the second stage at 1130.


The Download Pilot Event needs some filth and Conjurer are doing to deliver it. A band whose momentum wasn’t as much halted as it was derailed by the pandemic. Looking to get back on the rails. The sludge/post-metal band have a new album to come soon (following 2018’s incredible Mire), this is one of the sets to watch on the Saturday.

Conjurer will be spreading the gloom at midday on the main stage.

Bleed from Within

Did you hear Fracture? If so then you know just how hot the metalcore unit that is Bleed from Within are right now. That they’re finally able to capitalise on the new album’s success is all the more exciting and this could be the sleeper show of the entire weekend.

Get out of bed and make sure you’re at the main stage at 1300 to catch them.

While She Sleeps

A huge show for While She Sleeps coming off the back of their excellent new album, Sleeps Society. The metalcore unit are no strangers to taking these opportunities and exceling, so this promises to be a blistering set. The perfect precursor to the headliner, save some energy for While She Sleeps, they deserve it.

They’re on the main stage at 1905.


Static Dress

Only on the scene since 2019, Static Dress really didn’t have a lot of time to make an impact before the pandemic hit but they sure managed it. The blend of emo and post-hardcore has struck a chord with a hungry audience and will surely help blow away those Sunday morning hangovers.

Their latest single, sweet. was released earlier this year and they will be on the second stage at 1130.


Such a dangerously exciting band, Loathe have been killing it both on record and live since 2014. Everybody who has heard their incredible combination of mood-altering experimental metalcore knows that Loathe are ones to watch. They’re also ones to surprise as their third studio album the ‘Things They Believe’ showed (made up entirely of ambient tracks).

Expect the unexpected with Loathe on the mainstage at 1400.

Trash Boat

The hard-working punk-rock band always seemed to be out and about pre-pandemic so you can imagine that the downtime has only made them hungrier to get back on the stage.

Always capable of delivering a stellar show, they are sure to cap off the weekend nicely when they hit the second stage at 1815.

Are you going? Who are you looking forward to seeing?


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!