Guns N' Roses not playing Download 2017 isn't about money

A picture of Guns N' Roses
Guns N' Roses (Image credit: Getty)

The decision by Guns N’ Roses to play London’s Olympic Stadium rather than headline Download in 2017 has “nothing to do with money,” according to Donington chief Andy Copping.

Copping admitted at this year’s Download festival that he’d love the reunited Guns N’ Roses to make an appearance at Donington in 2017, but the festival recently confirmed Aerosmith, System Of A Down and Biffy Clyro as headliners for next year.

And Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan’s reunited Guns N’ Roses will play at the Olympic Stadium on June 16.

Asked why Guns N’ Roses couldn’t be signed up as 2017 Download headliners, Copping tells the That’s Not Metal podcast: “It’s very, very simple. We’d been talking to Guns N’ Roses when it was first being mooted that Duff, Slash and Axl were talking about getting back together.

“They did Coachella and then we talked about Download. I’ve got to be honest, and this is gonna surprise a lot of people, but it wasn’t about the money.

“To them, it was about, ‘We want to go out and do our own shows.’ On that touring cycle in the early 90s they came to the UK three times and played at Wembley Stadium. That is huge. They wanted to play Wembley, but it was booked. So I said they should look at the Olympic Park.”

Once the band decided to play their own stadium show rather than headline at Donington, they settled on the new Olympic Stadium after Axl Rose’s triumphant guest slot with AC/DC at the same venue.

Copping adds: “The thing that swung it for Guns N’ Roses playing at the Olympic Stadium was that AC/DC concert.

“They just wanted to go for it. They felt it was a bigger stadium, coming back for the first time as that band, that it was a bigger statement. It was nothing to do with money.”

As for choosing Aerosmith as headliners in 2017 after they also took top billing in 2014, Copping says he was sold on the fact that it would be the band’s last ever UK show.

He says: “It’s been sold to me that it’s the last time around. When I got the note through that this was gonna be the last chance of seeing them in the UK, it was a no brainer.

“They only wanted to play Donington so it was an absolute given that we’d book them.

“Repeats are always a concern because you want to mix things up a bit. But if there’s a specific reason as to why a band is coming round, you think, ‘I’m gonna book them.’”

Download 2017 takes place from June 9 to 11.

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Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.