Download Festival 2023 – Ones to Watch

Download Festival 2023 is less than a month away and we at AltCorner are extremely excited! Here we give you 20 bands below the main stage headliners who we think you should not miss out on at the 20th anniversary celebrations!


Ville Valo is returning to Download Festival in 2023 for the first time in a decade, however, he will be performing under the VV moniker used to release solo album Neon Noir earlier this year.

He previously played Download five times – including the first festival in 2003 – with HIM and during his 2023 set, you can expect a number of HIM songs.

VV will be in the Avalanche tent which will mean that his incredible light show used on his Neon Noir tour will not be hampered too much by the natural light from the sun.

VV is definitely one to watch for his stunning light show and mix of Neon Noir and HIM classics, all with his signature, sultry vocals.

State Champs

State Champs are ones to watch purely for their energetic performance of classic pop punk tracks. They are a band that has developed their sound a lot over the last few years but still retain elements of their pop punk beginnings.

They’ll be bringing some upbeat classics such as Secrets, Dead and Gone and All You Are Is History to the Avalanche tent on Thursday and will be a set full of catchy tracks.

Set It Off

Alternative group Set It Off will be bringing another energetic set to Download Festival. They’ll be on the Avalanche stage on Sunday for their debut Download performance.

Like State Champs, they have refined their sound over the years with their radio-friendly pop rock tunes guaranteed to have even the hardest to please rock/metal fan dancing around (or at least bobbing their heads). Cody’s soaring vocal melodies are a highlight.

You can hopefully expect upbeat hits such as Life Afraid, Killer in the Mirror, Why Worry and hopefully classic The Haunting, alongside tracks from latest album Elsewhere. But whatever songs from their extensive back catalogue make the set, it’s going to be a great time.

Ice Nine Kills

Credit: Jason Walton

Ice Nine Kills will be on the main stage on Saturday, bringing their horror themed metal to Download for the second time in two years.

With songs dedicated to films like Jaws, Carrie, The Crow and Friday the 13th, it’s a set for horror and metal fans alike.

The dual vocals work well together and the instrumentation mixes well with the lyrics to tell the stories – particularly Rocking the Boat.

Ice Nine Kills are known for putting on electric live shows, with their headline sets featuring many costumes and on-stage antics.

Alter Bridge

Credit: Chuck Brueckmann

Alter Bridge are one of the greatest rock bands in my opinion. With the musical talents of each member of the band, but particularly Myles Kennedy’s incredible vocals, they are a stand out to see.

Latest album Pawns & Kings is a masterpiece and it can be expected that some of these songs will be performed during their set.

Punk Rock Factory

Punk Rock Factory have been on the rise over the last year, with their covers of everything from Disney to pop delighting all ears. They were at Download Festival last year entertaining the Village but will be taking to the Avalanche stage on Thursday to bring their fun punk rock covers to the arena.


Architects will be bringing their A game to the main stage on Friday. The metallers don’t really need an introduction, but they will pull a range of top tracks from their back catalogue (and there’s plenty to choose from) for a set to delight Architects fans of all ages and eras.

Their energetic performance is something to behold.


Credit: Reelz

The masked nu-metallers in BlackGold will be bringing an air of mystery to Download’s Avalanche stage on Saturday.

The vocals in Way Out are akin to Bring Me The Horizon’s Ollie Sykes and Villain is a great tune. They are a band I’ve been looking forward to seeing live for a while.

Parkway Drive

Credit: Dave LePage

Last time I saw Parkway Drive at Download was in 2018 and they were incredible both sonically and performance wise, complete with a rotating drummer and lots of fire. It was a great spectacle.

Whether they will bring this to their Sunday main stage slot is yet to be seen but you can expect a fantastic performance as the metallers grace the stage.

Fever 333

Each time I’ve seen Fever 333, I’ve been blown away by the band’s set. From their power entrance in 2018 with the white sheet and a number of participants right through to Jason’s rapid performance and vocal delivery, there is always a great show to watch.

And on a musical level, the songs talk about racism, death by police and power to the people, showcasing Jason’s angst at the world through a blistering series of punk songs.

The Amity Affliction

Australian metallers The Amity Affliction will be performing on the second stage on Sunday. The band will be bringing their emotionally charged metalcore to Donington, hitting the crowd with emotional lyrics, catchy hooks and brilliant breakdowns. Expect a range of songs from their extensive back catalogue such as Pittsburgh, I Bring the Weather With Me and tracks from latest album Not Without My Ghosts.


Credit: Martyna Bannister

Welsh rockers Casey graced the Download stage in 2017 before eventually going on hiatus, but now, they’re back, better than ever and returning to Donington.

Expect an in-your-face performance which will include tracks from 2016’s Love is Not Enough, 2018’s Where I Go When I Am Sleeping and 2023 double-single Great Grief/Atone.

The post hardcore band will be on the Avalanche stage on Saturday, bringing their fantastic sound to the crowds. Expect soaring melodic hooks, great guitar lines and guttural growl vocals.


The legendary post hardcore band will be on the main stage on Saturday. The band has been around for years providing the soundtrack to many over the years with their extensive back catalogue, including latest album Otherness.

Expect a selection of hits from the last two decades at their set, making it a classic festival set. Although what songs are likely to feature, we couldn’t possibly guess!


For those who like something heavier and in your face, Hatebreed are ones to watch. The band has been around since the 1990s, producing hardcore punk/metal tracks, full of great riffs, rapid angsty vocals and a consistent pounding drumbeat.

Expect breakdowns galore and a range of classic and more recent tracks on the Dogtooth stage on Sunday.


If you fancy something a bit different then head to main stage on Friday to see Pendulum. The Australian dance quintet fuse their dance sound with metal and hard rock to create a sound perfect for main stage.


Credit: Joeseth Carter

Monuments will be bringing their progressive metal to Download’s Dogtooth stage on Saturday.

The band’s decade of dj-ent style riffs, complex melodies and overall great sound makes for awesome listening. I’ve not seen Monuments live yet but can expect their headline set will be one of the top ones of the weekend.

Static Dress

Static Dress are relative newcomers to the music scene but have already played Download Festival once, last year on the Avalanche stage.

They will return to jump up to the second stage on the Saturday. They are a fun band to see live and will be bringing their A game again this year with singles such as Sweet and Fleahouse.

Three Days Grace

Three Days Grace are ones to watch purely based on their name alone! The band has been a mainstay in rock fans’ lives for almost 30 years.

With a back catalogue featuring singles such as I Hate Everything About You, Pain, Never Too Late and Riot, it is set to be a nostalgic set of one of the mainstays of the post-hardcore/alternative metal scene on the second stage on Saturday.


British rockers Placebo will be celebrating three decades as a band next year, kicking off celebrations by joining the 20th Download Festival lineup!

It will be the first time they have graced the stage at Donington by headlining the second stage on Saturday. Fans of a more grungey sound will love the set which is expected to feature hits such as Nancy Boy, The Bitter End, This Picture and many more.

Motionless In White

Credit: Rock Candy

Motionless In White will be returning to Download Festival with a slot on the second stage on Saturday.

The metal band will be performing a selection of their biggest hits from across the last 18 years potentially including the likes of Reincarnate, Eternally Yours, America, 570 and tracks from latest album Scoring the End of the World. The show will be entertaining.

Download Festival takes place at Donington Racecourse between June 8-11. The festival is officially sold out.

Elizabeth Birt

May 16, 2023

Band management assistant. Goth princess and lover of all things music and sport.


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