Download Festival have confirmed the identity of their first 2013 headliner – Iron Maiden. The titans of British metal – and indisputably one of the biggest metal bands both a) of today, and b) of all time – will mark Iron Maiden’s first appearance at Donington Park since their 2007 headline spot.
This is a booking only a buffoon or an idiot could argue with, as thankfully it seems that Iron Maiden have been booked on condition they play the Maiden England setlist they’ve been hitting then USA with this year, rather than something along the lines of that wanton self-indulgence that was the Final Frontier-laden set they delivered at Sonisphere 2011. Get in.
On a slight tangent, what’s particularly interesting (to us, at least) about tonight’s announcement is that it’s yet another indication that festival headliner announcements are getting earlier every year. To put today’s September 20 date into perspective, Metallica weren’t confirmed as the first headliner for Download 2012 until mid-November 2011. At this rate, we’ll know about the headliners of Download 2014 before Download 2013′s even taken place.
As for the identities of the remaining two main stage headliners of Download 2013….well, we’ve already seen that Rammstein have pretty much blown the surprise as far as their booking is concerned, although there’s not been a peep out of Download Festival themselves about this, other than some alleged rather heavy-handed moderation in the Download Festival forums whenever the subject gets brought up. We don’t know if that’s really the case, as we couldn’t be bothered to go rooting around in the Download Festival forums during our lunch hour to confirm that was the case. We also heard some very convincing rumours from two sources regarding the third headliner, although we heard from a different source earlier today that maybe this final headliner’s spot is still in negotiation. Regardless, we’re not going to mouth off about them yet as we’re pretty sure that Live Nation, the company behind Download Festival, will ban us from all their festivals for life if we leak their identity right now. We’re playing on the safe side.
Okay, we’ll say this much: if the rumours we’ve heard are true, then neither of the remaining headliners have even played at Download before, let alone headlined there. That’s still an “if”, but it’s an “if” we’re pretty confident in. **UPDATE** Or perhaps we’re getting a return visit from one of the festival’s most highly-rated previous headliners? Hmmmm?