Zippo lighters have long been the best friend of metal fans. Undeniably cool as well as practical, these awesome dudes also bring us the second stage at Download Festival that we all know and love – The Zippo Encore Stage. 2018 saw bands including Babymetal, Parkway Drive, Rise Against, Meshuggah, Bury Tomorrow and Thrice grace this stage, and it was INCREDIBLE…..but we’re not here to talk about that. For 2018, Zippo brought something more to Download…..something secret….so come along with us and discover Zippo Sessions.
Nestled bang in the centre of the arena is the Zippo stand. Here members of the Download family can grab a limited edition lighter, chill out on a comfy chair, or play one of many cool games. It is from here also that we lucky few are presented with laminates (which were normally obtained by purchasing a lighter), these passes will take us behind the scenes, to private performances from some of the biggest and best bands appearing at Donington over the course of the weekend.
When the time comes, we are summoned by a friendly Zippo rep, and we make our way through the crowd, behind the main stage and some barriers, past security and in to a hidden tent with a small stage. There can’t be more than 100 of us there, and oh are we about to be treated to something special.
A lady who we recognise as the wonderful Eleanor Goodman (of Metal Hammer fame) takes to the stage, smiling. She explains, nonplussed, that this first act is perhaps not what you might expect Metal Hammer to be presenting, but she hopes we enjoy them anyway….it’s You Me At Six.
We may only have a short set of three songs to enjoy, but every second feels special. The performance is so intimate we can almost reach out and touch the young rockers as they give us their all. Josh Franceschi’s vocals are on point, and for those fortunate enough to see it, this is a set they will never forget.
Our next Zippo Session comes courtesy of Nothing More who have not long finished an earlier set on the Zippo Encore stage. This stripped back set is the perfect juxtaposition to their earlier performance, and we particularly appreciate the time Jonny Hawkins takes to tell us the stories behind ‘Just Say When’ and ‘Go To War’, before giving standout renditions of each track. Stunning – as you can see from the fan filmed video clip below:
Over the course of the weekend Zippo Sessions treat us to further special appearances from Asking Alexandria, Baroness and Less Than Jake, which each band giving their all. All we can say is thank you Zippo Sessions, you were a big part of making this Download one of the most memorable yet.