The Download Festival 2019 line up has garnered a significant number of thumbs up from music fans. It already looks set to become one of the best and biggest Donington Park events ever. So what about that line up? Most know that Andy Copping is the booker but not many know he isn’t the only one making phone calls to bands. Devolution spoke to Andy along with fellow bookers Kamran Haq and Stephanie Van Spronsen about who they’re excited for and how far ahead they have to plan. Also in the frame for a chat was Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn who spoke about working with Donington Park’s new owner Jonathan Palmer.
Responsible for bringing a great many emerging artists to Download Kamran Haq spoke about which bands he was particularly keen on.
“One of the most exciting new bands is Conjurer. I’ve known those guys for a while but their new album is one of my recent favourites. Anyone who is a fan of Mastodon or Gojira should check those guys out. Also Alien Weaponry, I saw them recently and they blew my mind. I saw them at Download Australia and you couldn’t get near the stage. The crowd reaction was unreal. They still tour with their mums and dads because they’re so young, it’s crazy.”
Stephanie Van Spronsen chatted about who she was excited to bring to Donington Park this year, who her ‘babies’ were.
“My babies are Sumo Cyco from Canada, I’ve worked with them before I moved to Live Nation. I love their music and I know Download fans love their music and they’ve always wanted to play. There’s a lot of great bands from Canada, not just on this line up but in general. There are bands coming through from there that will put Canada very much on the map. I also look after the NXT UK wrestling. So this year I came to the compromise with the WWE that we would do NXT UK and that we would do live tapings. So almost everything that happens in the ring will be a live taping and that will go onto their weekly show.”
Andy Copping is the man in the hot seat as the person with whom the buck stops. He spoke about potential future headliners, booking Tool, just why Die Antwoord are subbing to Slipknot and whether he has anything already in place for 2020.
“Festival promoters have got to get behind these acts and start building them up because we want to have headliners lined up for the future. The headliners that are around at the moment aren’t going to be around forever. So being able to bump bands up the bill is really important. Halestorm are definitely an act that could be a festival headliner of the future. Obviously Slash has headlined with Guns N Roses before and having Miles in the band as well. Also looking at a band like Alter Bridge, they could be a headliner of the future, Ghost, Five Finger Death Punch, Fall Out Boy, maybe even Skindred. The one thing about Skindred is that they are a good solid festival band.
With Tool we’ve been chasing them for about the last five years when they have been active and we never managed to pull it off. Two years ago we were super close and then they decided not to come to Europe. When we booked them the response online was incredible.
The reason Die Antwoord are on the bill is not just the fact that I’ve been trying to get them for a few years, it was that Slipknot wanted them. I talk to headline acts about who they would like to see play underneath them, they don’t have right of veto but it’s always good to get their input. They said if I could get Die Antwoord please get them. Nobody thought that when Slipknot came out nine guys in boiler suits making a creative racket was going to be as successful as it has become. Now they’re the staple diet of a festival.
We have two bands virtually confirmed for next year headlining and then we’re just talking about the third act at the moment. Anything can happen even though I’m saying yes. I’m also talking about a headliner for 2021. When we first started and the festival finished in June we wouldn’t stat talking about the following year until October, nowadays you can’t be like that. You’ve got to be way ahead of it.”
Melvin Benn is the guy most people don’t really know but ought to. He is responsible for all the unglamorous stuff that makes a festival happen. He is also a passionate supporter of sustainability and the physical and mental well being of, well pretty much everyone. He along with new Donington Park owner Jonathan Palmer are the people Download fans need to thank when it comes to the many improvements happening around the site. The future it seems is a bright one. Melvin had this to say
“Things are off the scale more stable now. We could never really talk about it but before Jonathan Palmer came we were never really welcome. We were tolerated because we paid our rent but that was as good as it got. He and I have become friends, we got on straight away. The great thing about Jonathan is that whatever he owns he wants to make better. And we both want to make Download better every single year. You can do that with the music but you can do it in other ways as well such as having better facilities for people with physical disabilities, having better toilets, having better access. All that is stuff that I’m obsessed by. For pretty much the first time it’s allowed us to plan for more than one year ahead. “