Special Feature: Download Festival 2017 Main Stage Preview – Ten To Watch

Download Festival 2017 Header Image

Words by Jamie Giberti, Ali Cooper and Simon Crampton.

So, with Download 2017 virtually upon us, we come to the final part of our stage-by-stage Download Festival 2017 preview. If you’ve missed the other parts of our preview and would like to catch up, you can read the previews of The Dogtooth Stage, The Avalanche Stage and The Zippo Encore Stage on the respective links. And now, to our ten picks for the main stage for Download 2017….


The only place we can start this Download 2017 preview is with Boston’s finest. The Aero-ver-derci tour was supposed to be Aerosmith’s last trek on European soil. But, like so many great rock and metal bands before them (Sabbath anyone?), recent noises coming out of the Aerosmith camp from Messrs Tyler and Perry would suggest they might keep things going until their 50th anniversary in a couple of years time. Whatever their future, Aerosmith look set to close Download 2017 in spectacular fashion as they have done twice before. They will have to go some to top their incredible 2014 performance, but we reckon they’ve got it in them to do so.

Alter Bridge

There were many among the Download Festival fandom who thought that Alter Bridge might be next in line for a promotion to festival headliners at Donington. This year that nod was given to Biffy Clyro, but with their third UK arena tour successfully completed at the end of 2016 it is surely just a matter of time before Alter Bridge top the Download Festival line up. With an hour plus this time out, they should have ample room to showcase some of their great new tracks from The Last Hero, plus all the old favourites. An almost guaranteed success awaits.

Five Finger Death Punch

You are never far away from controversy in the world of the death punch. Frontman Ivan Moody sparked a major upset in a recent radio interview by suggesting that he might be parting company from FFDP after this year was over (something that was later retracted). Even still, it’s added an edge to their performance at this year’s Download that makes you wonder – will their next trip here see them become headliners, or will we never see them (at least with Ivan) again on the hallowed Donington turf?


The welcome return of the “huge rock stars” to Donington, Fozzy are on a high at the moment with their hit single Judas among their best work to date. With Fozzy once again becoming Chris Jericho’s primary concern following his most recent WWE stint (one of the best of his career), and a new album in the works, Fozzy seem a highly appropriate choice to kick off the main stage on Sunday. A set worthy of battling the hangover for.

System of a Down

Brush your hair and put a little makeup, Download 2017’s Friday headline slot belongs to deserving metal royalty System of a Down, making a bold return after 6 years away from Donington and two years from UK soil. Taking to the European festival circuit like Californian ducks to water, their third Download performance is sure to assuage any concerns about the weekend’s weather. Whether this return to touring heralds a new album this year remains to be seen, but this jam-packed headline set will likely make any waiting time fly by. B.Y.O.B. and prepare for some Toxicity, Friday night will close with a Serj Tankian-esque punch.

A Day to Remember

Continuing their one-year-on, one-year-off tradition at Download, Ocala’s finest A Day to Remember are Right Back at It Again. Fresh from their storming Bad Vibes world tour which saw them grace UK shores earlier this year, they’ve come a long way since their first Download appearance back in 2008. Taking Saturday’s sub-headline slot, there’ll be no Bad Vibrations out in the field even if they are a little Homesick. Armed with Jeremy McKinnon’s unforgettable tones, Saturday night draws to a fitting close for all present who hate their towns half as much as ADTR do.

Steel Panther

Pack your leopard print leggings, super strength hairspray and your filthy sense of humour, Download mainstays Steel Panther swipe Sunday’s main stage to have their wicked way before Donington closes its legs for another year. If you’ve somehow evaded their contagion and their five previous Download appearances until now, these glam metal legends preach Death to All but Metal, worship at the Gloryhole and, unsurprisingly, Anything Goes. With new album Lower the Bar tucked indiscreetly under their belts, Sunday guarantees an electric performance of fresh favourite Poontang Boomerang beside the classics Community Property and 17 Girls in a Row. Just Like Tiger Woods, Download 2017 will certainly go down with a… bang.

Motionless In White

Three is the magic number for Motionless In White. This will be their third appearance at Download, and their first on the main stage. Armed with a new album ‘Graveyard Shift’ you can expect them to bring the ghoulish festivities to the masses with big songs and a production that will make most bands blush, For 45 minutes Download will be the epitome of darkness personified, every time Motionless in White raises the stakes (no pun intended) and this should be no different. Sabaton are bringing a tank? No problem, Motionless in White are bringing an undead army and are looking to raise hell.


Creeper are having a stellar 2017, having already released one of the years’ best albums with their debut ‘Eternity in Your Arms’ This is their second time at Download and their first time on the main stage. It’s time for the world to see what Creeper are made of. Coming off the back of a sold out UK tour and with a lot of people wanting to see them succeed, they will be looking to take no prisoners and leave a lasting impression. This feels like a big deal and it will be interesting to hear the choruses of ‘Suzanne’, ‘lie Awake’ and ‘Black Rain’ reverberating around the hallowed grounds of Donington Park. Creeper are coming… are you ready for them?


AFI are a legendary band who have been around for a quarter of a century, so chances are everything that could have been said about them already has been. But this is their first time ever playing Download, which is something of a feat in itself. Drawing from ten albums worth of material, it’ll be very interesting to see what they choose for an audience that has waited a long time to see them. This has the potential to be one of the best sets of the day if not the entire weekend. AFI have been on fire recently and armed with the songs of their newest album ‘The Blood Album’ now in their back pocket, this is one set you will not want to miss.

Download 2017 Poster

All of these bands join the rest of the line up and the superstars of the WWE’s NXT on the lineup for the 2017 Download Festival at Donington Park, with bands playing this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (9th – 11th June). Final tickets are available via the festival website for collection from the festival box office.

Rock Sins will have an extensive team on the ground at Download this year so stay tuned for loads of updates during the festival, reviews of the action and interviews with the bands who make it all happen!

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