Download Festival 2022 | WG Reviews
Metal heads came together and rejoiced as Download Festival 2022 took place over the second weekend of June, featuring headliners Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro, along with an array of rock legends from all around the world.
Dubbed ‘Drownload’ by regular attendees due to extreme weather conditions that the festival has seen over the years, the biggest surprise of the weekend was the non-stop sunshine, a nice change from the sea of mud that Download Festival 2019 saw.
We chose to stay by the ‘Apex Stage’, commonly known as the main stage for the first day of live music. Bury Tomorrow, despite their early set time, threw themselves into their set, pyros all around them as they led the crowd into a frenzy of circle pits and angsty emotion.
Later on reggae, metal band Skindred took to the stage, walking onto the Star Wars theme music, a perfect way to introduce what was to come. Charisma and positive energy flowed from the band, their energy enlighting the crowd who revelled in the upbeat atmosphere.
“This is for all my metalheads out there!” A Day To Remember vocalist, Jeremy McKinnon yelled, as the band blasted through hit after hit, ending on The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle, one of their earliest hits. There was also a surprise appearance from the infamous Download Dog, who was eagerly greeted by excited fans, hoping to catch one of the t-shirts that were being thrown out.
And then came Kiss, performing what they have claimed is their ‘last ever UK show’. And if this statement is true, then there is no denying that they went out with a bang. From Gene Simmons fire-eating to Paul Simon ziplining over the audience to a pop-up stage on the sound tower, Tommy’s endless guitar rifts and Eric’s drum solos on a moving platform, the band went above and beyond with this performance, the crazy hijinks not at all taking away from the incredible musical talent Kiss demonstrated. Easily our favourite performance from the weekend.
Day two at Download Festival once again saw the sun shining down, with punters gathering to see hardcore, horror-themed band Ice Nine Kills. A skeleton hung from the mic stand, “Welcome To Horrorwood” from an ominous doomed voice-over, and the theatrics didn’t stop throughout the entire set. The band came out in suits, wearing spooky masks, little nods to classic horror films going alongside their rambunctious songs, for example, lead singer Spencer at one point donned a rain mac and picked up a chainsaw in full American Psycho style.
Over on the Avalanche Stage, grandson took to the stage, igniting a revolution throughout his crowd, his unique mix of electronic, grunge, singer-songwriter music and angry, brutally honest lyrics speaking straight to the young audience, who took it all in and gave it back just as hard. Encouraging mosh pits and crowd surfing throughout, in a humorous moment, grandson lead the whole audience to say hi to the security guards who were tasked with looking after the crowd. Ending with blood//water, arguably his biggest track, grandson repeatedly thanked the crowd, seemingly blown away by his incredibly popular reception.
Iron Maiden were the big headliners for Saturday night, their fifth time in this prestigious position. The groundbreaking icons, who arguably changed the face of heavy metal are exactly what Download Festival is about. Easily the biggest crowd of the weekend gathered to watch the set, Download Festival regulars were thriving on the music. Featuring many costume changes, (which in all honesty we could’ve gone without), a constantly changing stage, and Bruce Davidson bearing a flame thrower on each arm, his rich, distinctive vocals echoing around the arena, it was certainly an impressive performance and one that showed why Iron Maiden are still so successful after however many years together.
Day 3 and the last day at Download Festival did see a significant drop in the crowds, with it appearing that many people came only for Kiss or Iron Maiden and then skipped out the Sunday.
Nevertheless, the mosh pits, confetti, pyros and screaming fans carried on. “It’s been 5 years since we’ve been able to play for y’all, I’m so happy to be back” lead vocalist of Korn, Jonathan Davies told the audience. Halfway through the set he momentarily disappeared and return much to the fan’s delight with a set of bagpipes. This could only mean one thing, it was time for ‘Shoots and Ladders’, another one for the dream setlist Korn were treating their fans to.
Sunday night closers were Scottish trio Biffy Clyro. Known for their stunning live shows that somehow show off their musical talents even better than on record, Simon’s undeniable charm warmed the hearts of worn-out audience members, who were still able to give their last bit of energy to this incredible rock show. Powerful and rememberable, Biffy Clyro were the perfect closer to an incredible few days at Download Festival 2022.
Nice one Download, same again next year?
Cross The Tracks Festival is a day festival about music community, culture, family, flavour, and history.