Words by Tom Donno & Marta Tavares

With a focus thus far on the various stage headliners across Friday and Saturday, in this part of the preview we turn our attention to Sunday. Whilst we're looking at all things Sunday, we'll also cover off some of the best of the rest from that day too!

Best of the rest for Friday and Saturday will follow separately!

Apex Stage - Avenged Sevenfold

Not sure why it feels odd to say this but in terms of Download Festival headliners, Avenged Sevenfold have got the most experience out of the three main headliners this year. It will be the third time M. Shadows and crew will grace the top of the bill at Donington, this time round in the notoriously difficult slot closing out the entire festival. The band are currently deep in the touring cycle for 2023's Life Is But A Dream... so it's fair to expect that a large part of the set list will centre on tracks from it. This is definitely welcome - Avenged have always done well when headlining Download and a lot of the content on this latest record sounds like it's built for the live arena. There might be the odd grumble if it leans too heavily that way and some of the band's fan favourites are sacrificed but we're looking forward to seeing what the band do best, and that is the undoubted ability to really put on a show. Given the bands before them this day will likely garner gigantic crowd responses (Limp Bizkit, Machine Head, Sum 41), Avenged will need to deliver to really shine - and we're confident they will.

Opus Stage - Machine Head

It's been a long, long, time since Machine Head were last at Donington. 12 years in fact! Around that time they had almost become the perennial Download Festival band - regularly appearing and consistently delivering set-of-the-weekend style performances. However the Robb Flynn and co. reached a decision around this time to move away from festivals in general, favouring longer tours with progressively longer set times - we're talking 3+ hours! It felt like it made sense for Machine Head, and for years now that's the model they've worked by. It genuinely didn't appear to be on the horizon that they'd ever return to the festival fray but luckily for fans across Europe, 2024 marks another turning point for the band as they make their victorious return to all the old stomping grounds. Closing out the second stage on Sunday night will be a statement performance. There will be riffs, there will be fire, there will be circle pits and there will be a lot of happy people. MACHINE FUCKIN' HEAD!

Avalanche Stage - The Used

It feels like we're fully within a new era of The Used at the moment. The band released Toxic Positivity last year which was well received, and they're set to release another record, MEDZ in 2024. They're a band who have always done particularly well at UK festivals and we're expecting the tent to be absolutely packed out for them come Sunday evening - that's despite the tough competition of Avenged Sevenfold and Machine Head on at the same time elsewhere. They'll simply do what they do best, and that's give their devoted followers a live show they'll always remember. We expect The Taste Of Ink to be one of the loudest sing-along moments all weekend.

Dogtooth Stage - The Black Dahlia Murder

Easily one of the most important bands in the history of melodic death metal, The Black Dahlia Murder are gearing up for the release of their new studio record Servitude in September - an album which marks the first new music since vocalist and original member of the band Trevor Strnad sadly passed in 2022. His passing is still sadly fresh in the memory for all followers of the band and those in the scene so every live performance at the moment will be equal parts emotional to ferocious. It will be really interesting to see the band with Brian Eschbach (also an original band member) putting down his guitar and picking up the mic to take on vocal duties. Reports from recent live shows suggest he's by all accounts smashing it. If you don't fancy Avenged, we implore you to pop yourself over to the Dogtooth for this instead.

Best of the Rest - Sunday

Apex Stage - Limp Bizkit

Almost unbelievably, 2023/2024 has seen Limp Bizkit reach such a rich vein of form live you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd been transported back to 2001 hearing them perform at the moment. If you close your eyes obviously - Fred's ditched the red caps for an assortment of amusing wigs these days. In all seriousness though, Limp Bizkit's headline show at Gunnersbury Park last year was easily one of the highlights of the Summer - a nostalgia fueled all out party which seen the crowd lose its collective mind from front to back, side to side. This will be hit after hit after hit and we're confident it could well end up as the best show of the day.

Apex Stage - Sum 41

Speaking of hit after hit, Sum 41 are currently embarked on a farewell tour with their show at Download marking their final ever appearance at a UK festival. It's fair to say therefore that the band won't be shying away from any of the hits in order give themselves a proper send-off. We expect the crowd for this to be pretty vast - a proper nostalgia moment.

Apex Stage - Kerry King

When Kerry King's name started popping up on random US festival bills before any kind of formal announcement had been made for his return, it's fair to say there was a serious buzz around what Slayer's riff man was up to. Whilst he's not reinvented the wheel or taken any kind of left turn, it's great to see Kerry King back on stage with apparent fire up his arse. With a band including Phil Demmel and Paul Bostaph, this'll be an absolute rager - even if he is bizarrely sandwiched between Bowling For Soup and Creeper.

Apex Stage - Code Orange

Whilst the white-hot Code Orange hype seems to have fallen off a cliff in more recent times - potentially due to a string of cancelled shows globally and a fairly lukewarm response to their latest record - it's great to finally see them be given the chance to cause some chaos on the main stage. They bloody deserve it. Their run of live dates at the moment is curiously small - one which suggest either a big run of dates are set to be announced for later in the year or they're due to take some time away. Either way, get there early on Sunday, it will be brilliant.