Download Festival 2017: the rumour round up

Possible Download Festival 2017 headliners Guns N’ Roses, System Of A Down and Metallica
Guns N\u2019 Roses, System Of A Down and Metallica: possible Download 2017 headliners? (Image credit: Getty Images)

The first official Download 2017 line-up announcement is just around the corner, and the rumour mill is cranking into overdrive. Everyone from Guns N’ Roses and Metallica to System Of A Down and Aerosmith have been named as possible headliners, with Axl and co the bookies’ favourites. But who will top the bill next June? We’ve peered into our crystal ball to find out…


Three things are guaranteed in this world – taxes, death and that Metallica will be strongly rumoured for Download every year. The tips that ‘Tallica will top the 2017 bill have been greatly strengthened by the recent activity in the camp and with a new album around the corner don’t be surprised if they’re unveiled later this week.

Likelihood: High.

Guns N’ Roses

GN’R were rumoured to be headlining the Download bill almost as soon as they announced they were reuniting at the end of last year – and those rumours have only increased in strength. Understandably, festival boss Andy Copping has said that he’d love to book the band – and 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Appetite For Destruction as well. Perfect timing or what?

Likelihood: High.

System Of A Down

System of a Down are back on the reunion trail this summer, and that includes an appearance at Download’s Paris leg on the same weekend as the UK fest. Many are putting two and two together and suggesting that Donington and Paris will share at least one headliner. It just remains to be seen how eager Download would be to mix and match between the UK and France shows.

Likelihood: Very high.

Blink confirmed themselves for the French leg of Download, and given that drummer Travis Barker only travels by boat, it is a near certainty that they will slay multiple birds with a single stone by heading around Europe before he sails home – though will Blink without original co-frontman Tom DeLonge be a big enough draw to top the Download bill?

Likelihood: High, though not necessarily as a main stage headliner.


Suggestions that Aerosmith could return to Donington came up when Steven Tyler stated that 2017 would see the band embarking on a farewell tour. Joe Perry may have quickly put a question mark against Tyler’s assertion, but if the Toxic Twins do call it a day you can bet that Andy Copping will look to book them in for one last Download.

Likelihood: High.

Bring Me The Horizon

A ‘leaked line-up poster’ recently circulated on Facebook with BMTH heading up Download’s opening night. While the poster’s authenticity is sketchy, the band certainly has the profile to pull it off. Whether the Sheffield metallers would prefer a lofty place on the more media-friendly Reading and Leeds bill is another question entirely.

Likelihood: A great shout if DL want to blood a new headliner.

Biffy Clyro

The Scottish trio are proven festival headliners, having topped the bill at Sonisphere and Reading/Leeds, they’re an outside bet to make it a hat-trick at Download 2017. They went down well when they appeared on the main stage in 2014, and – as with Bring Me The Horizon – they’re one of only a few younger bands who have the clout to pull off a headlining slot.

Likelihood: We wouldn’t bet against it.

Linkin Park

Another Download Paris headliner, Linkin Park are also Donington vets, having last headlined Download in 2014. They were also confirmed in that pesky Blink-182 tweet earlier this week. So, unless that was a genuine error from the pop punk trio’s people, then you can expect to see these nu metal heroes confirmed.

Likelihood: Pretty damn high, if you believe Blink-182, at least.

Def Leppard

The durable Sheffield band have headlined Download twice so far – and Andy Copping hinted they could potentially make it a hat trick in 2017. And it is the 30th anniversary of the mega-million selling Hysteria this year, so they’d provide a welcome shot of nostalgia.

Likelihood: Not beyond the realms of possibility

Avenged Sevenfold

They’ve just thrown the mother of all surprises by sneak releasing a storming new record, and so of course Avenged Sevenfold have immediately been linked with a stop off at Download. They would undoubtedly be a huge draw, but with a European tour taking up the first three months of 2017, schedules may not quite align this time.

Likelihood: Another one that might be more likely for 2018.


Like Metallica, Tool have seemingly been hatching a new album since the dawn of time. The last time they headlined was 2006, alongside – wait for it – Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. Could Maynard James Keenan and co make their own triumphant comeback with a new album under their arm?

Likelihood: it’s Tool. Your guess is as good as ours.

Van Halen

Okay, we’re venturing into Leicester City to win the Premier League-for-the-second-year-on-the-bounce world of rank outsiders here, but Andy Copping has previously stated that he puts feelers out for VH every year. But, with no UK shows since 1993 and the band’s future very much up in the air, we wouldn’t go holding out any hopes for this one. Sigh.

Likelihood: Sadly, just about zilch.

Download 2016: the TeamRock archive

Rich Chamberlain

Rich Chamberlain has written for Classic Rock,, Total Guitar, Nuts, FourFourTwo, Billboard, Classic Rock Presents The Blues and Classic Rock Presents Country.