If you’re one of the lucky ten thousand fans to grab yourself a ticket for this weekend’s Download Pilot then, like us, you’re going to be buzzing for the return of live music into your lives again. Giving you the chance to party, mosh and just hang out with your mates again, after the last sixteen or so months, we’re sure you will agree that Friday evening can’t come around fast enough.

Headlined by Bullet For My Valentine, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Enter Shikari, and featuring a blistering line-up of Brit rock including The Wildhearts, Skindred, Bleed From Within, A, and stacks more, we’re not the only ones stoked for the return of both live music and Download Festival, as we found out when we spoke to some of the bands who plan to rock the shit out of your weekend.

The Wildhearts
When: Main Stage, Sunday 20th June, 17:30

CJ Wildheart: “Donington, I mean it’s just unbelievable, it’s like the heavy-metal centre of the universe and The Wildhearts are going to be there… this is big league!”

Ginger Wildheart: “Back in the days of Donington Monsters Of Rock I loved that there were fewer bands playing and, therefore, more chance to see them all. It was from this modest setting that the headline bands of tomorrow were often smaller bands much lower on the bill. Bands that had crafted their performance skills through hard graft, in the pubs and smaller venues on the rock circuit.
I saw Metallica play an early afternoon slot, in bright sunshine. In fact, it was this unassuming slot on the bill that made their huge sound even more unexpected and amazing. Everyone was buzzing, knowing they were witnessing something very special. I hope the smaller scale of this Download pilot throws up similar wonderment. And if so, I will pray that Download stays smaller and bands with headline quality get the attention they deserve. This very special Download Festival pilot offers hope, and has there ever been a greater need? This is where dreams are made. Big, loud, heavy fucking dreams.”

Holding Absence
When: Second Stage, Friday 18th June, 19:20

Lucas Woodland: “We are so ecstatic to be playing the 2021 Download Pilot festival! Of course, it’s an honour to be able to help in any way we can to move things forward in regards to local lockdowns, and the world opening back up as soon as possible… But on a very selfish level, we’re itching to get back in that beautiful field and play music for the people of Download festival once more. Since the moment we heard about it, we’ve been counting down the days!”

Stone Broken
When: Second Stage, Saturday 19th June, 18:15

Rich Moss: “For us, playing the Download Pilot feels like it’s the beginning of the end of these crazy 18 months we have had. Not being able to get out on the road has been tough, playing and meeting amazing people, visiting cities, towns and different countries has been a part of us for years, and for it to suddenly stop was quite strange. We can’t wait to feel ‘normal’ again, and this Pilot will bring all of those feelings back, seeing people in the crowd that we haven’t seen for over a year, to feel the atmosphere, the rush, the feeling of live music is like no other feeling in the world and we get to share that again…it’s going to be incredible.”

Conjurer
When: Main Stage, Saturday 19th June, 12:00

Brad Deeprose: “We could not be more excited to be the heaviest band on the lineup of an event that will, fingers crossed, pave the way to reopening the U.K. music industry.”

Saint Agnes
When: Main Stage, Sunday 20th June, 12:00

Kitty A. Austen: “Download is end game! The ultimate! The festival you dream of playing when you’re a greasy little metalhead growing up in Devon. And for it to be our first gig back after this absolute fucking horror show of a year is unreal. We’re going to put our blood, sweat and tears into it. In a COVID safe way obvs.”

The Hara
When: Second Stage, Saturday 19th June, 13:30

“We’re absolutely buzzing to finally hit the stage at Download. It’s been a long time coming but we’re so ready to bring the thunder down… so get your horns out and let’s ’ave it.”

Lotus Eater
When: Second Stage, Saturday 19th June, 11:30

“Being chosen to perform at this historic event is something we’ll forever be thankful for. With our last show being in October 2019, Gloom is well and truly ready to take over the famous Donington grounds.”

Massive Wagons
When: Second Stage, Sunday 20th June, 16:50

Barry Mills: “I honestly thought, as do a lot of bands I imagine, for so many years that Download was way way out of the stratosphere for us, it’s like the ultimate level up for bands, there are many goals we set ourselves over the years but getting to play Download festival was a true moment for Massive Wagons and all our fans, getting to play in 2022 on a bigger stage too will just be epic, and we will be coming prepared. The Pilot will be a real part of history and it’s an honour to be asked to play, and as it’s all British bands it just shows what a strong place British rock and metal is in, the lineup is sick! Well done to the Download crew, mega job.”

Death Blooms
When: Second Stage, Friday 18th June, 17:00

Paul Barrow: “It means absolutely everything. I think the tension and the build-up over the last year, for everyone, is at breaking point; so being able to have an actual release for that, in such an iconic environment, really is a shining light on what’s been a dark time for all of us.”

As Everything Unfolds
When: Second Stage, Saturday 19th June, 12:30

Adam : “We’re so ecstatic to play Download Pilot! Not only is this a festival we couldn’t have even dreamed of playing when we first started out. It’s also important to be working with the UK Government, to help find a way to make festivals happen again in a COVID secure way. We’ve all been through so much to get to this point, and we’re so excited to get back to seeing the shows and artists we love!”

For stage times and all the important information you will need to know about the Download Festival Pilot, visit the Official Download Pilot Website and look out for our full coverage coming next week.

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.