2022,  Download Festival,  LD Communications,  Live Music,  Review

Download 2022 – The Beast is Back!

Pictures by Enda Madden and review by Howard Keogh

It has been a long hard road, but we have finally made it out the other side.
Legions of fans have waited for this moment as the world lurched and lunged through the roller
coaster ride of the last two years. We had a hiatus where we had to survive on virtual Download
in 2020 as a global pandemic swept through populations across the globe. We then had the false
dawn of Download 2021 until time was called on it in March. Hopes were raised once more in
May when it was announced that a reduced capacity event was to be held as a government sponsored NHS pilot. 10,000 lucky punters got to experience an intimate event that showcased
UK talent including Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes, Creeper, and Cassyette, all of
whom make a welcome return this year.
Finally, 2022 brings the full-capacity crowds back to Donington’s hallowed turf under Andy
Copping’s expert stewardship. Tents dusted off, sleeping bags resurrected, and slabs of beer
packed, it is once again that special time of year when we get together to enjoy the best that rock
and metal has to offer. Download 2022 is about to blow our minds! Let the madness begin!

DAY 1 – Friday 10th June 2022

The Donington weather seems to know that after 2 years we deserve a break. As usual, the
atmosphere is jovial around the site, and you never know who you might meet next. Friends both
old and new get together for a massive party. Some have been coming for years while others are
mere debutants. Some go to extreme lengths with costumes especially prepared for the occasion.

Bury Tomorrow by Enda Madden ARPS

The first band we catch are Bury tomorrow on the main stage. This 6-piece, who formed in
Southampton in 2006 has 6 albums under their belt and their “Black flame” album released in
2018 brought them to the forefront of the metalcore scene. Their most recent Album “Cannibal’
was released in 2020. Vocalist Daniel Winter-Bates tells the crowd how the band has waited 2
years for this moment and watches as the crowd to meld into a circle pit to kick the day off to the
thunderous but beautiful noise

Black Veil Brides by Enda Madden ARPS

Next up is the Black Veil Brides on the main stage. No strangers to Download, these rockers
from Hollywood, California treat us to a set that includes new release “Crimson Skies” and
“Scarlett Cross” both from 2021 album “The Phantom Tomorrow”. Older favourites, like “Rebel
Love Song” are also in the mix. The band last performed at Download Festival in 2018 and it is
obvious that the crowd has certainly missed them.

The Opus stage crowd welcomes Lacuna Coil from Milan, Italy next. They are visually exciting
with some elaborate face painting, perhaps not wanting to be outdone by Kiss later in the
evening. The intricate vocal interaction between Andrea Ferro and Cristina Scabbia delights the
welcoming crowd as the sun beats down. The gothic rockers are playing a string of festivals this
summer moving on to Hellfest in Clisson, France next.

As a warmup for Saturday Steve Harris plays the Dogtooth stage with his band, British Lion.
Guitarist Grahame Leslie is out in the pit chatting to the crowd before the set. Steve Harris looks
fit and healthy with his West Ham colours fitted to his guitar strap. Most would consider touring
one band a commitment, but Steve has lined up 9 European dates and some festival dates that fit
in with the schedule for Iron Maiden’s Legacy of the Beast tour. I’m tired just thinking about it!
The set doesn’t disappoint and soon the Dogtooth tent is rocking.

Frank Carter by Enda Madden ARPS

Our next stop is the Opus stage where the assembled crowd is thrilled by Frank Carter and The
who launch into their set with an explosion of red ribbons into the crowd in the
middle of the first song. Not to be outdone Frank decides to try a spot of crowd surfing and takes
a walkabout on the shoulders of the front few rows. The crowd is at fever pitch, and it is easy to
see why this band headlined last year’s pilot. Later, Frank dedicates a moment of silence to all
the bands they just murdered. Classic! The setlist includes songs like “Take it to The Brink” and
“Bang Bang”, before closing with a rousing rendition of “Crowbar”.

Kiss by Enda Madden ARPS

Kiss is tonight’s headliner and they have pulled out all the stops for this triumphant final show.
We are treated to a pyrotechnics extravaganza and a set that spans their career with old favourites
like “Rock City”, “Cold Gin” and “Deuce”. Recent material like “War Machine” also gets an
airing. Kiss has played Donington 5 times over the years, and despite telling the crowd that this
is the last time, it doesn’t spoil tonight’s party…and one hell of a party it is, complete with
confetti guns and fireworks but tinged with a little sadness as we bid a fond farewell to these
Monsters of Rock.

DAY 2 – Saturday 11th June 2022

Cassyette by Enda Madden ARPS

Saturday starts with a trip to the Opus stage for Cassyette. Today lead vocalist Cassy Brooking
struts the stage like a demented Rapunzel with plaits flying. Observing that Goths do not do well
in the sun, she rocks her way through “Dear Goth” and delivers a rousing set that includes
“Mayhem”, “Behind Closed Doors” and “Dead Roses”. The second stage billing confirms that
the Download team was on the money inviting Cassyette to play the pilot last year.

Dead Label by Enda Madden ARPS

The next stop is the Dogtooth stage for Dead Label, an Irish band that is making a real name for
themselves. The crowd has a healthy Irish contingent, with the Irish flag being waved from the
front row. The band hails from Celbridge in Co. Kildare and was founded in 2008. Dead Label
released an EP in 2010 and 2 albums “Sense of Slaughter” in 2012 and “Throne of Bones” in 2016. Their most recent EP “Anthology” released in April 2020 was set to be a breakthrough
year for the band with festival slots at Wacken, Download, and Irish festival Sunstroke until
Covid intervened. Now the band is catching up in earnest and having toured with Machine Head
and Fear Factory, Download poses no problems for this hard-working band.

Dana Dentana by Enda Madden ARPS

Canada’s Dana Dentata has adorned her microphone stand with the tangled remains of her
Barbie doll collection. The lights go down and the bass sends a wall of noise through the crowd
as a malevolent clown enters the stage before Dana removes the mask to reveal herself. She
proceeds to remove clothing to reveal even more over the course of the show. The stage show is
provocative and intensely sexually empowered. Having a former career in stripping Dana knows
how to work a crowd including getting in their faces. Dana gets off stage and gets down to the
barrier all the while screaming at the front few rows. We get to hear “Spit” from the 2021 album
Pantychrist. Influenced by artists as diverse as Britney Spears, Eminem and Marilyn Manson,
Dana vents her anger on her unsuspecting Barbie collection in a theatre macabre. Strange stuff
indeed but nonetheless a captivating show.

Black Label Society by Enda Madden ARPS

Black Label Society bring their own brand of rock to the main stage on another perfect day for
festivals. Zakk Wylde bedecked in a waistcoat and kilt storms through a set that includes
“Destroy & Conquer” and “Set You Free” from November 2021 release “Doom Crew”. Later in
the set the twin guitars are played behind the heads of the players while circle pits open up in the
crowd. Black Label Society is touring extensively across Europe in June and July before
continuing in the US. The set closes with firm favourite “Stillborn” from “The Blessed Hellride”.

Shinedown are guests on the main stage today and we get to hear gems like “Get up”,
“Monsters” and “Creatures” from 2018 album “Attention”, with piano backing and motivational
speech included for good measure. Shinedown are set to release their latest album “Planet Zero”
on July 1st which was pushed out from a previous release date in April.

Daughtry a band formed by Chris Daughtry from North Carolina play the Opus stage. Chris
Daughtry, band founder was a runner-up in season 5 of American idol. Opening with the song
“Desperation”, the band who formed in 2006 rocks through the set with songs like “Heavy is the
Crown” and “World on Fire”. Chris tells us this is the band’s first Download festival and judging
by the crowd’s reaction it won’t be the last.

Mastodon is the next band on the Opus stage. These metallers from Atlanta Georgia are no
strangers to the Download stages. With 8 albums in their repertoire including the groundbreaking “Leviathan” and “Crack the Skye” and the more recently “Hushed and Grim” released
in 2021. The set opens with “Pain with an Anchor” and includes favourites like “Black Tongue”
and “Blood and Thunder”. This tour takes in European dates including the prestigious Hellfest
and Graspop festivals before returning to tour in the US.

Creeper by Enda Madden ARPS

We make a visit to the Avalanche stage to take in Creeper who manage to energetically blend
elements of multiple genres into their own unique gothic rock style. Today’s crowd knows every
word of every song and is in fine voice. Vocalist Will Gould is a real live wire and excels in
getting the crowd jumping on classics like the infectious, “Anabelle”. Hannah Greenwood too
shines on “Midnight” with perfect interplay between the two vocalists. The band are in fine form
today. The set closes with the beautifully sombre “Misery” and the bewitched crowd sings every
line perfectly. What an atmosphere!

Megadeth by Enda Madden ARPS

On the Opus stage Megadeth’s intro rolls into “Hangar 18”, swiftly followed by “The Threat is
Real, and “Dread & the Fugitive Mind”, Dave Mustaine explains how “Angry Again” was
written when someone knocked over his guitar. Today’s set includes a few oldies like “The
Conjuring” and “Peace Sells” and closes with the magnificent “Holy Wars… The Punishment

Sepultura storm the stage in the Dogtooth tent launching into their set following a tribal drum
intro. This band, which formed in 1984 by Max and Igor Cavalera is still full of angst and energy
with vocalist Derrick Greene leading the charge. The classic “Refuse Resist” and the incendiary
“Roots” all get an airing. Incidentally, Derrick’s energy is totally plant-fuelled. He co-hosts a TV
program called Highway to Health which detail a vegan guide to survival while on tour with
Irish virtuoso bassist Tanya O’Callaghan. Tanya currently takes care of bass guitar duties with

Iron Maiden by Enda Madden ARPS

As the sun sets the familiar strains of “Doctor Doctor” ring out as an intro to the arrival of Iron
onstage. The crowd anticipation is palpable, and the Japanese-inspired backdrop is all in
place for this stage of the Legacy of the Beast tour. The band arrives on stage as the smoke
clears, and Bruce Dickinson is in character sporting a samurai-style man-bun. Midway through
the opener Senjutsu a huge Samurai Eddie enters the stage complete with a sword threatening to
behead band members. Bruce greets the crowd before “Writing on the Wall”. It’s a quick set
change for the journey back in time to “Revelations”. Bruce announces that “after 3 years of shit
it all ends here…” – leading nicely into “Blood Brothers”, The set is extravagant with lots of
props, as we have come to expect from Maiden, and during “Flight of Icarus” Bruce waves a
pyrotechnics gas gun while Icarus floats in the backdrop. Other highlights are “Fear of the Dark”,
“Number of the Beast “and “The Trooper”. For the encore, the full-size Spitfire makes an
appearance for “Aces High”.

And so, day 2 comes to an end. It’s time for some beers and a discussion on the day’s events.
On our way out of the arena, we meet a dinosaur! Funnily enough, it doesn’t seem strange at all
and in fact it almost feels normal!

DAY 3 – Sunday 12th June 2022

Wargasm by Enda Madden ARPS

London-based Wargasm is the first band out of bed on Sunday morning for their opening set on
the main stage with vocalist Steve Matlock sporting a vintage 1990 Monsters of Rock T-shirt.
The band was founded in 2019 and their debut full-length release, “Explicit: The Mixxxtape” is
planned for summer 2022. The set today includes “Backyard Bastards”, “Rage All Over”, latest
track “D.R.I.L.D.O”, and 2021 single “Salma Hayek”, which is dedicated to Milkie Way’s wife.
The high-octane set went down a storm with the early morning revellers and viscerally woke the
site for the great day ahead.

Bimini by Enda Madden ARPS

London is also home to our next artist Bimini, on the Dogtooth stage. The first song “God Save
This Queen” is a catchy groove, The band is introduced as a queer band and “Don’t F**k with
my Groove” is the next song. This crowd enjoys the first festival performance by the flamboyant
drag queen, model and author. The set also includes a tribute medley for Keith Flint from The
Prodigy mingled with some Britney Spears. Funnily enough…it works perfectly.

Tremonti by Enda Madden ARPS

Mark Tremonti who is rated as one of the top 20 guitarists of the decade, plays the Opus stage
today. Bass player Tanner Keegan beats his instrument into submission in a style that shines.
Today’s set includes “My Last Mistake” and “Dying Machine”. It’s been over 2 years since their
last UK performance and since then Tremonti have released the new album “Marching in
Time”. Today we get to hear the title track from the album. Another project close to Mark’s heart
is “Take a Chance for Charity” where he sings Sinatra in support of the National Down
Syndrome Society. The charity project came about following the diagnosis of his daughter Stella
with Down Syndrome. It is a collaboration with surviving members of Frank Sinatra’s orchestra.
The finale is dedicated to a kid in the audience who is on his dad’s shoulders.

At the Dogtooth stage Modern Error open their set for a crowd that quickly swells. Twin
brothers, Zak and Kel Pinchin released their debut album “Lost in Noise” in 2019, and their most
recent offering “Victim of a Modern Age” in January “. The band’s sound melds genres with a
strong electronic influence. They are set to play at Torquay’s Burn it Down festival in September.

Volbeat by Enda Madden ARPS

Volbeat is on the festival circuit with Download followed by Graspop and Hellfest. After a
prelude “The Devil’s Bleeding Crown” opens a set that includes favourites like ” Lola Montez”
and “Sad Man’s Tongue”. The set also contains some new material like “Temple of Ekur” and
“Wait a Minute my Girl” both from the 2021 album “Servant of the Mind” which was written
and recorded during the Covid 19 lockdown. As always, Volbeat are tight and punishing.

Skillet by Enda Madden ARPS

Skillet opens their set on the Opus stage with “Whispers in the Dark” and before launching into
“Tonight We Rise” vocalist John Cooper greets the crowd and requests they give depression a
great big NO. The crowd quickly gets involved in the anthemic vibes of a fantastic set that
includes “Legendary” from the 2019 album “Victorious”. Skillet introduces an ailing young
fighter, Aiden, who has been specially invited to the show by the band and dedicated the song
“Hero” to him. Skillet is also on the European festival circuit and should not be missed with their
feel-good songs and intensely positive attitude.

The Darkness by Enda Madden ARPS

The Darkness is another feel-good band and they add to the good vibes already created by
Skillet. Justin Hawkins is resplendent in his pink outfit as we are treated to classics like “Oneway Ticket to Hell and Back” and the self-professed greatest riff of the band’s career “Givin’
Up”. After some festivals later this summer the band head south for a trek around Australia and
New Zealand.

Twin Temple enters the Dogtooth stage carrying a skull and blesses the audience in the name of
Satan completing the ritual with swords. Then they launch into their 50s and 60s-inspired blend
of satanic feel-good music. With songs like “Let’s Have a Satanic Orgy” one can’t help but be
reminded of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. The band refers to their style as satanic Do-wop.
The musical prowess is evident with standout performances from both the band saxophonist and
female vocalist Alexandra James. The band is clad in clothes emblazoned with inverted Cross
emblems and the finale involves a light spot of bloodletting and satanic communion, before
Alexandra and Zachary kiss to share the bloodfest. They are the perfect love-child of Amy
Winehouse and Anton Le Vey.

Biffy Clyro by Enda Madden

The intro rolls for Biffy Clyro, the final headliner of 2022 and we get a full white-out backdrop
before the screens come to life in a mélange of colour. Biffy Clyro first headlined Download
festival in 2017 and makes a welcome return this year. The set tonight is a glittering array of the
Ayrshire bands’ gems. Tunes like “Mountains”, “Bubbles” and “Black Chandelier” are all there
before we are treated to a rip-roaring encore that includes “The Captain” and “Many of Horror “.

Everything however must come to an end…

Enda Madden

Georgia, Enda, Howard and Seamus having a few beers in Guest Area

Danny, Georgia, Seamus, Enda, & Howard in Donnington Park – Press Camping Area

The weekend is finally brought to a close with an amazing fireworks display and another
Download is consigned to history. We have successfully navigated our way back to full capacity
and it feels, well, normal! Oh, and did I mention it didn’t rain? What an amazing weekend and a fitting return to festival life as it should be. Well done to Andy Copping and the team.

Roll-on Download 2023!