2023 Download Festival Lineup Seeks to Solve Rock’s Biggest Problem

‘Who are the next rock and heavy metal festival headliners?’ With the announcement of the lineup for Download Festival 2023, it looks like festival organizers are finally able to answer that long-standing question, at least partially. Although the festival has booked Metallica and Slipknot for 3 of their 4 headliners, which is fitting given that 2023 marks the festival’s 20th anniversary, the famous rock festival is finally gearing up for a new era of festival headliners.

Presenting his first-ever headlining night at Download 2023, Britain’s Bring Me The Horizon will be the festival’s Friday night attraction. With the exponential growth the band has seen over the past decade, it’s been clear that they’ve been more than ready for a headliner for quite some time now. The band have already headlined arenas around the world and their monthly Spotify listener count has grown astronomically thanks to their latest smash record, recent feature films with Machine Gun Kelly and Ed Sheeran, and not to mention their viral success on Tiktok among others.

With the exception of Biffy Clyro and now BMTH, Download has regularly booked legacy bands for their headliners, or veteran headliners like Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold who are about to be considered legacy acts. . While it would be nice to see more young rock and metal artists given the opportunity to headline Download, BMTH is definitely a step in the right direction for the festival and the industry all together.

However, backing headliners Metallica, Bring Me The Horizon and Slipknot, next year’s Download festival has a number of amazing rock/metal acts booked by Parkway Drive, Architects, Simple Plan, I Prevail, Evanescence and Disturbed among several others. As far as metal goes, Parkway Drive and Architects stand out, provided their new sonic directions have taken them to arena-sized stages headlining across Europe, and rightly so. In fact, now that Download is open to booking a band like BMTH as a headliner, I’d bet Architects and Parkway Drive are worthy future contenders for a headlining spot as well.

Parkway Drive, for its part, was the main headliner of Wacken Festival 2019, considered one of the most renowned metal festivals in the world. Architects’ monthly listener count also exploded with the release of their latest record, Classic symptoms of a broken spirit. Interestingly, while the band is currently touring in support of Biffy Clyro, Architects’ monthly listener count has actually doubled Clyro’s with over 2 million listeners.

All in all, it’s a big step in the right direction for Download to start booking new, younger headliners for its annual festivities. Routine headliners like Slipknot, Metallica and Iron Maiden are of course exceptional artists, however, there is no doubt that each of these bands is approaching the final stages of their careers.

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