A Preview To Heavy Music Festivals

It’s finally summer, and here at The Mic that can only mean one thing - it’s festival season! There are plenty of amazing festivals going on soon, and Jake Longhurst is here to catch you up on the finest rock and metal festivals the UK can bring you in 2022.

To start off my summer, I’m doing up the one and only Download Festival, second only to Glastonbury in terms of size at a UK festival. My dear friend Rishi Shah and I are going to be there for the whole weekend as press, and I am absolutely tearing my hair out with excitement. The line-up is a fairly standard main stage setup, with three great headliners in Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro, but the line-up gets better and better the further down the poster you look. I think arguably the biggest name on the poster is actually Spiritbox: they are the hottest name in metal right now and this will be their first-ever UK performance, so the pressure will be on. But the band are poised to deliver a knockout blow even from their relatively low down slot on the Avalanche stage on Sunday. I also expect to see a phenomenal set from the perennially brilliant Death Blooms on the Dogtooth stage on Saturday, as well as the ridiculous line-up later that day on the same stage with Venom Prison, Bleed From Within, Dying Fetus, Napalm Death and Sepultura playing in a row. That is an ungodly amount of metal mastery in one go, so if you’re at all unsure of what to do then I will not be able to recommend that highly enough. If you look hard enough, I'm sure you’ll see a certain music journalist absolutely losing it in the pit for those bands. The other bands I’m particularly excited about are WARGASM opening the main stage on Sunday, Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes headlining the Opus stage on Friday, and grandson playing the Avalanche stage on Saturday.

"A sound that can turn on a dime from pummelling your ears into submission to bringing a lump in your throat with the beauty of the songs they play"

Not too long after that I’m going to be at Outbreak Festival in Manchester for the final day of the brilliant hardcore festival. I’m quite likely to cry at Deafheaven’s headline set, mixing black metal hostility with shoegaze and dream pop vulnerability, in a sound that can turn on a dime from pummelling your ears into submission to bringing a lump in your throat with the beauty of the songs they play. Touché Amoré are also at the top of the bill, and will undoubtedly provide a devastating set, hopefully chock full of songs from their unbelievable 2020 release, Lament. Amongst the rest of the line-up are Vein.fm who are steamrolling their way to the front of the nu-metal revival, and the excellent Loathe, the Liverpudlian band mixing the nu-metal that Vein.fm love with the shoegaze that makes up so much of Deafheaven’s sound to astounding effect. I’m also looking forward to seeing Zulu, the LA powerviolence band who have been making a stand for more BIPOC people to be in the hardcore scene, which is almost exclusively white, so I’m sure their set will be incendiary.

In early July, I will be taking a trip to Upcote Farm for 2000 Trees Festival, which possibly has the best festival line-up of the entire summer. Highlights include such acts as IDLES, the socially conscious Bristol punk band headlining on Saturday, Turnstile co-headlining the Friday with their explosive and uplifting brand of hardcore, and a jaw-dropping number of great names throughout the rest of the bill. Instead of describing any, I shall merely list off every band I would recommend at 2000Trees this year and let you pick and choose which ones sound the coolest. So, in no particular order, here are all the bands definitely worth seeing at Trees: Jimmy Eat World, Creeper, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Anti-Flag, Can’t Swim, Stick To Your Guns, Airways, Phoxjaw, Witch Fever, Ithaca, Cassyette, CRASHFACE, The Oozes, Thrice, Turnstile, Pup, Boston Manor, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, KennyHoopla, Rolo Tomassi, As December Falls, Roam, VUKOVI, Puppy, Bob Vylan, THE HARA, Salem, Kid Brunswick, Strange Bones, Calva Louise, Chapter And Verse, Heriot, IDLES, The Chats, twin atlantic, Knocked Loose, Nova Twins, Deez Nuts, Angel Du$t, Mannequin Pussy, Kid Kapichi, Chubby And The Gang, Blood Command, ZAND, Cold Years, Higher Power, Pulled Apart By Horses, Black Foxxes, and Palm Reader. These are only the artists I really like, so plenty of the other artists will be amazing, but that is my list to see!

"I’m really looking forward to this one, not only because it’s brilliant to see Nottingham embracing metal, but because it’s so easy for me to get home and sleep afterwards!"

I’m also hoping to get to the first ever Mangata festival right here in Nottingham! It’s going to be across three stages featuring some local metal talent, and some bigger names from across the UK. It will be taking place on the 16th and 17th of July. Some of the bigger names on the bill include Blood Youth, Lawnmower Deth, Palm Reader, and Oceans Ate Alaska, with plenty more great bands further down the bill! I’m really looking forward to this one, not only because it’s brilliant to see Nottingham embracing metal, but because it’s so easy for me to get home and sleep afterwards! Anyone in Nottingham who wants to check out some brilliant live music for a very affordable price, this is not one to miss!

I’m then taking some time to see my family, instead of living permanently at live music events, but then in late August I have the small but mighty ArcTanGent Festival coming up. Headlined by a ridiculous combination of Opeth and Cult Of Luna, this is not a festival to miss for any fans of metal. Amongst this beefy line-up are names such as Perturbator, the dark synth-wave master, and Zeal & Ardor who are currently one of my most-listened-to bands. Z&A are the ludicrous brainchild of Manuel Gagneux, who mixed gospel, the blues and black metal to make some sort of aberration that sounds utterly incredible. Other artists to be aware of are TesseracT, Alcest, Bossk, Pupil Slicer, Rivers Of Nihil and Conjurer. However, this line-up features a fair few of the heavier artists I just mentioned in my massive 2000Trees list, so be aware that names such as Ithaca and Heriot do appear on this line-up as well, making for one hell of a weekend.

Finally, I’m getting myself to the British summertime pilgrimage that is Reading & Leeds Festival. I will be attending Reading as it’s much closer to home, and frankly, I prefer the order at Reading this year, as any festival that is closing with Rage Against The Machine playing what I can only presume will be Killing In The Name is a festival for me. Other highlights are (and I cannot believe that I’m seeing all of these across only three days) the British superstars the Arctic Monkeys, modern metal heavyweights Bring Me The Horizon, the incredible Enter Shikari, as well as the rapper Dave, indie heroes Wolf Alice, and many more. In an unexpected but very welcome turn of events, Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes will be opening the entire festival, which I cannot wait for, as well as another opportunity to see Kid Kapichi, and also FEVER 333, Static Dress, Sueco and even the Eurovision winners from 2021 Måneskin!

Of course, there are only so many festivals one can drag themselves to, so here’s the best of the rest, the ones I’m not able to get to. I’m unfortunately missing Slam Dunk, the excellent punk day festival, which is being headlined by Sum 41. However, the one that broke my heart is the unbelievable Bloodstock line-up, which I am missing to go on a family holiday, but has my favourite band of all time headlining. I am talking about the indomitable Lamb Of God, who are so absurdly great that I am close to having a tiny little cry about missing them. The rest of the line-up is just as incredible, with Cattle Decapitation, Lorna Shore, Behemoth, Sleep Token, and so many more.

That’s my heavy summer festival preview all done, if you’re planning on going to any of these then you’ll have to say hi, and I’ll hope to see you all there!

Jake Longhurst


Edited by: Roxann Yus

Features images courtesy of 2000 Trees Festival and Reading Festival via Facebook