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Download Festival - Castle Donington
Graham Clark, Features Writer
Every year on the second weekend in June 80,000 rock fans converge at Donington for the Download Festival.

If you listen to the singles chart in the UK you could be forgiven for thinking that rock music was unpopular. The fact is, it is still a huge draw and as popular as ever.

It is well over 40 years since Black Sabbath came on to the rock scene and heavy rock has changed so much over the intervening period. Over the 3 days the festival headliners ranged from relatively new kids on the block (Biffy Clyro) to "America's Greatest Rock Band" (Aerosmith).

Sum 41
Good Charlotte have never played the festival before and were welcomed like long lost friends.

Sum 41 showed that they have lost none of their power and delivered a storming set Friday night on the Zippo Encore stage.

Wednesday 13
Wednesday 13 might have only been allocated a 45 minute set, but he used the time effectively with girls on stage flame throwing alongside his Alice Cooper inspired music, as well as delivering one of the best performances of the day on Saturday.

Airbourne
A Day To Remember had the audience in the palm of their hands with tracks such as Have Faith in Me and End of Me, whilst Rob Zombie decided to wear a silver suit as he opened his set on the Zippo Encore stage with his epic track, Radio. He said he had been abducted by a UFO; with rock music anything is possible.

Leeds band Fizzy Blood may be new to Download but they drew a sizeable crowd to see their early afternoon performance on Sunday.

Airbourne might owe a lot to AC/DC but their Sunday performance on the main stage was nothing short of brilliant.

Also by Graham Clark...
Beauty And The Beast, Theatre Royal, Nottingham
Roy Wood Rock N Roll Band, Royal Hall, Harrogate
Slade To Visit Hull And Manchester
Brand New Heavies, Manchester Academy
The Charlatans, O2 Academy, Leeds
With Airbourne coming from Australia it took the band and audience by surprise as a fan jumps on the stage dressed as a kangaroo!

Lead guitarist Joel O'Keeffe jumps on the kangaroo's shoulders to play Girls in Black. It was good to see him addressing the crowd as Donington and not Download as to most rock fans it is known as Donington.

Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics gave a powerful stage show. The former Heaven's Basement vocalist is stronger than ever with tracks such as Welcome Home and All The Things You've Said and Done. He has a commanding stage presence.

Steel Panther
Steel Panther arrived on the main stage with their tongues firmly in their cheeks. As usual it was a send up of the 80's rock acts, but they shone on Eyes of a Panther and Death to all but Metal. In their 5th appearance at the festival they were one of the highlights of the day.

Aerosmith
Giving their final UK show, Aerosmith were the rightful headliners on Sunday night. Love In an Elevator and I Don't Want To Miss A Thing had the audience on their side from start to finish.

A great end to what had been a great weekend that proved rock is still in good shape.

Download Festival - Castle Donington, 16th June 2017, 21:30 PM