For one weekend in June, each year metallers and rockers descend on Donnington park for DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL.

Since its inception in 2003 it has played host to a who’s who of rock bands. With the likes of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Metallica headlining the festival.

This year the festival sees heavy hitters such as System of a Down, Aerosmith, Rob Zombie and Slayer among many other big names playing across the weekend of June 9, 10 and 11.

However, each year there are some hidden gems amongst the big names, and here at Vulture Hound we want to shine a light on seven bands we think festival goers should check out.


Having just said that Download is the home of the heavy hitters in the rock world, then it may be strange to be starting off with a pop-punk band. However, in the case of Welsh trio Junior 2017 has been a year that has put them on many people’s radars.

Lead by Pro Wrestler Mark Andrews, Junior are much more than a gimmick. Their catchy hooks and upbeat riffs will have the Dogtooth Stage bouncing from the moment they step foot on stage.

The bands album Juniorland is one I would highly recommend checking out before heading to Donnignton so you can really embrace the high energy live experience the three-piece put across.

Junior will be playing the Dogtooth stage on Saturday, June 10.

Grove Street Families

When Grove Street Families burst on to the scene, there were many people  who were very sceptical and didn’t think a Grand Theft Auto themed hardcore band would have any legs in it.

Combining a mix of thrash influenced hardcore with an aura of 90s Hip Hop, GSF bring a golden era of hardcore back into the modern era.

Having shared the stage with the likes of Sick of it All and since the release of The Las Venturas EP the band has been featured in Rock Sound and Metal Hammer proving GSF are no stranger to big stage exposure.

Playing the Avalanche stage is set to be the next stepping stone for the band as their real estate value continues to rise.

Grove Street Families will be play the Avalanche stage on Sunday, June 11.


One of current favourites here at Vulture Hound HQ.  The Bristol quintet have been making all the right noises since the release of their debut album Brutalism.

IDLES began things in with their own club night Batcave, creating visceral and sometimes unlistenable post-punk.

That being said there is a real British charm to the band, who have no qualms in being terrifying and entertaining in the very same breath.

Their rough around the edges approach will certainly be a band to for fans to let loose or knock back a few drinks and scream along to the very poignant lyrics coming from vocalist Joe Talbot.

IDLES will be playing the Dogtooth stage on Saturday, June 10.

Tax the Heat

The second Bristol band to feature on this list.

Tax the Heat bring the sound of old blues-rock bands playing sweaty venues to the big stage. The four-piece have all the tools to potentially steal the show at this year’s festival.

Their live performances are tight, ferocious, crowd-pleasing, guitar-wielding with solo-humping velocity.

Tax the Heat may be no strangers to playing on some of the bigger stages, but for many this may be their first impression of the enigmatic quartet. And if they are one of the bands which revellers decide to check out, then they will certainly leave a lasting impression.

Tax the Heat will be playing the Zippo Encore stage on Saturday, June 10.

Venom Prison

With a raucous mix of death and doom metal, Venom Prison look set to be right at home at Download festival.

Since the release of their record Animus, the five-piece has been relentless in touring and playing shows in general.

With members having played other big festivals in their previous musical ventures, playing the famous Donnington Park will not be something to push the band out of their comfort zone. In fact it would be right at home.

With face melting riffs and blasting drums, Venom Prison may win over several new fans at this year’s Download festival.

Venom Prison will be playing the Dogtooth stage on Friday, June 9.

The Lounge Kittens

If you fancy a break from all the circle pits and headbanging then The Lounge Kittens will provide the perfect rest bite.

The colourful trio provide a throw back to a simpler time with their whimsical covers of some of rock’n’rolls most recognisable songs, like Alice Cooper’s “Poison”, the trios super catchy pop-punk melody, which features hits from Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco and this writers personal favourite Andrew W.K’s “Party Hard.”

Think Richard Cheese but three talented women singing in the 1950s style.

They have done anything from private parties, charity events, cabarets, boozy pub shows, weddings, and support slots in sweaty rock clubs for sweaty rock bands.

With a run of headline shows ahead of the festival it seems that there is no stopping the rampage of the Kitten.

The Lounge Kittens will be playing the Dogtooth stage on Saturday, June 10.


No festival would be complete without a good sing along and a few drinks flowing.

Enter Alestorm. The swashbuckling five-piece are easily one of the most fun loving entertaining bands on this year’s line up, and the audience will walking away from their set singing sea shanties long into the night, do who knows there may be a few sword fights breaking out.

With catchy songs, an abundance of parrots and eye patches, Alestorm showcase what life is like sailing the seven seas and sending Donnington Park into a rum fuelled treasure hunt when the band take to the stage.

So with a yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum Download Festival better be prepared to fly the skull and cross bones flag or they may be forced to walk the blank.

Alestorm will be playing the Zippo Encore stage on Saturday, June 10.

For more details and tickets about this year’s Download Festival visit