Over 100,000 Fans Celebrate Download Festival's 20th Anniversary

Published 6 months ago on June 16, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine





Sunday 11 June – Download Festival 20th anniversary welcomed a record breaking 100,000 attendees to the hallowed grounds of Donington Park becoming its most successful year everThe fastest selling Download in its 20-year history, 2023’s edition showcased world-class rock and metal across four days and six stages from all over the world.

The atmosphere was electric as fans once again lived up to their reputation of what is widely regarded as the UK’s friendliest audience, celebrating inclusivity, self-expression, and a lot of headbanging.  With artists from Metallica to Alter Bridge to Halestorm, plus live podcasts, exclusive DJ sets, comeback sets and a whole village dedicated to the fan experience (District X), this was not a weekend to miss.

Download Festival 20th Anniversary
Donington Park, over 100,000 fans celebrate Download Festival’s four-day 20th Anniversary celebration for its biggest year ever.

The first ever Thursday headline slot saw Metallica dominate the Apex Stage with their legendary showmanship and guitar prowess. Sheffield genre-bending rockers Bring Me The Horizon owned the stage on Friday night, delivering a masterclass in thrilling a crowd with their unique and Download-exclusive production, bringing out a host of special guests including Amy Lee from Evanescence and alt-rock duo Nova TwinsMetallica followed up their Thursday night set with a spellbinding performance on Saturday evening, cementing their place in history as one of the greatest metal bands on the planet. On Sunday, Slipknot closed the Apex stage with a spectacular display of energy and power. Across the Apex, Opus, Dogtooth and Avalanche stages, festivalgoers were spoilt for choice as the sun shone over the greatest long weekend.

With an unbelievable line-up, featuring the likes of Halestorm, Skindred, Evanescence, Pendulum, Simon Neil (Biffy Clyro)’s new project Empire State Bastard, The Blackout’s reunion, Creeper, Coheed and Cambria, Ice Nine Kills (who stabbed the Download Dog to death), Ghost, Parkway Drive, Electric Callboy, and supporting young British talent like Nova Twins, Kid Bookie, Kid Kapichi and many more, there really were too many musical highlights to mention.

Brand new for 2023, the Download Megastore sold a huge range of Download merch onsite, commemorating the 20th anniversary and the event broke the U.K. record for most festival merchandise sales of all time. Elsewhere, the Mini Moshers campsite saw its maiden voyage, giving the younger generation of metal fans the opportunity to embrace the legendary festival in comfort.

To pay tribute to the diversity of the Download crowd, the Humans of Download live photography docuseries launched, sharing the diversity of Download attendees, with their eclectic outfits and costumes being celebrated on all social channels and sites across the festival. Danny North, the creative director collaborating with Download on the project, shared: “This location and the beautiful people that inhabit this space fills my soul. I wanted to create a photo series that holds a mirror up to the people that make this festival what it is.”

In 2024, Download Festival will return to Donington from Friday 14 June – Sunday 16 June. Limited Early Bird tickets are on sale at 12 noon Monday 12 June from


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