After around 30,000 punters hit up the first-ever Download Festival in Melbourne on the weekend, the festival’s team have confirmed that the big gig will return in 2019 and expand to Sydney in what is probably the beginning of a complete domination of the punk/metal/hardcore festival scene in Australia.
Download’s success at Flemington Racecourse this year is definitely in part to the hole left in the festival circuit by Soundwave Festival, which mean that Australia has missed out on a yearly smorgasbord of heavier, alternative music since Soundwave folded in 2015.
Download Fest’s booker, Nigel Melder, commended the crowd at the first festival down under, and assured punters that it definitely wasn’t a one-off show.
The warmth and support from the heavy music community was unprecedented. From fans to industry and media the love has been out of this world. We can’t thank everyone enough for their behaviour yesterday and we are excited to confirm that Download will return to Melbourne and also make its Sydney debut in 2019.
Having another big player in a festival scene that’s been shifting towards smaller, boutique festivals in the last decade is definitely going to be a solid shift back towards the large-scale events like Splendour In The Grass and Falls Festival – especially if the Aussie iteration of the UK festival fleshes out to mimic its Northern Hemisphere counterpart and extends out to a multi-day event.
The return of Download also signals another space where equality through representation (both on-stage and behind the scenes) has the chance to be fully developed, and Download is now in a unique position where Melder and the booking team have the ability to set the standard for how an equal-opportunity event can and should look.
It’s yet to be determined where the Sydney leg will be held, and whether it’ll happen before or after the Melbourne stop, but it’ll surely be welcomed by a community that has been missing a big punk day out for a number of years.
Looking at the headliners that Download 2018 brought over – Limp Bizkit, Prophets of Rage, Korn, and Mastodon – it’ll be interesting to see what heavyweights the festival features in next year’s lineup.