Download Festival 2023 Headliners: Opinion

With Download 2022 in the history books and a resounding success (our review here), the rumour mill and requests from noticeboards and forums will be hot with who could top the bill next year. We have a look at some of the bands that could be in contention for being pushed up the bill.

There are bound to be some big acts headlining the four day festival next year. Rammstein could return and Slipknot and/or Metallica could make another appearance. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Guns’N’Roses or AC/DC either. Green Day have also been mooted.

More recently, Biffy Clyro have had their opportunity to headline and have done so twice. Here are seven bands outside of the ‘huge bands’ bracket we think might be in with a shout and worth a try.


With 2022’s Impera and the Impera Tour, Ghost have taken the next step up in their continual evolution. The masked group led by Tobias Forge have got an arsenal of huge songs. They have paid their dues over the years and have played Download on several occasions on a variety of stages. It is clear that the band have the show and the prescence to hang with the best of the best; they can offer the grandiosity that the big hitters like KISS and Iron Maiden offer. It would be great to see them get the chance to see what they can do on top.


Having delivered a truly triumphant turn at Download Festival 2022, it would not be a surprise to see the Welsh reggae metal mob at the top of posters in the near future. Their songs might not be as universally well known as some bands, but the Download Festival regulars will know what they would be in for. They had a huge crowd at Download 2022 and nigh on everyone in attendance was fully invested in the fun times that the band brings. Whether or not promotors would take a punt is another matter, but they have strong case to put forward.


Halestorm just released their fifth studio album in Back From The Dead and the band are in imperious form on the record. It has garnered plenty of praise for its energy and bombast. One thing that Halestorm produce is an incendiary live show. Lzzy Hale has one of the finest and most versatile voices in modern rock and the bands high octane nature would be a real prospect atop the bill.


For two decades, Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry have grafted and perfected their brand of Southern rock. They have played to gradually bigger crowds across the UK and have recently announced a joint headline tour with The Darkness taking in many of the UK’s arenas. Their latest live release shows the passion and power that they posses; they could certainly bring this to Download’s top slot. In addition, Blame In The Boom Boom, one of the bands biggest songs, was filmed at Download Festival around a decade ago. They have history with the festival and deserve their shot.

Nightwish / epica

Could a symphonic metal double header work? It would be a real showcase of top class musicianship and vocal quality with fire, brimstone and emotion in spades. Their theatrical nouse would be something to see and both bands are seasoned veterans on the circuit with huge followings worldwide. It would certainly appeal to a large amount of people and both bands would surely give it everything they have. Both bands assembling a huge show together would be a mouth watering prospect.

avenged sevenfold

Avenged Sevenfold have done this before. In 2014 they were part of a trio of headliners that included Linkin Park and Aerosmith. In some ways, that year could be seen as being the promoters taking a punt on some fresher headliners in A7X and Linkin Park. The band haven’t released a record since 2016’s The Stage. Should they decide to make a return, Download’s top spot might be on the horizon. They certainly have the tunes and the show to compete with the best; they’ve already proved that.


A real outside shot would be Sabaton. They’ve headlined Bloodstock and have grown immeasurably over their time together. They have a swathe of chest beating, hard rocking albums that can unite the masses, and they certainly have the charisma to own the main stage. Their theatrics take from the bombast of Iron Maiden and the fire of Rammstein; they meld everything together superbly. Again, they have a devout and large following that would support the hell out of them.

So, there are a few thoughts and, more importantly, OPINIONS! Everyone will have their own; feel free to share yours in the comments here. Who do you want to see on top of the bill for the four day festival next year? What would your dream headline slots look like?

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8 replies »

  1. Please it has got to be Metallica! I am a member of The Metallica Club . I went to see Metallica at the front of the stage in Nottingham. I went to see Metallica near the front of the stage in London. I went to see Iron Maiden at Download Festival this year at the front of the stage. I would love to see Iron Maiden again, but if you can’t get both please make it Metallica. They are amazing, talented, nice guys and no one deserves it more.

  2. Obviously now pantera are coming back (what’s left of them) that’s a no brainer. They changed the game for metal forever!

  3. Ive heard that my chemical romance (which im really hyped) and metallica (also with that) are gonna headline for download 23!

  4. Behemoth – maybe not a headliner of a big stage but either a smaller stage or 2nd or 3rd from the top on a big stage.
    Motley Cure for sure.

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