Glorious weather is finally here (however briefly) and that can only mean that the summer festival scene is nearly upon us.

Out of the larger festivals Reading/Leeds, having had quite a metal-tinged line up last year, seems to have all but abandoned the genre this time around with The Deftones appearing as the one token act. They still have their Lock Up stage featuring hardcore and punk bands if that’s your bag though, and there are more line up announcements still to come so things could change.

Glastonbury doesn’t normally feature anything much metal, but it does have Spinal Tap this year…

So for a big festival it is really between Download and the new Sonisphere festival. Download is headlined by Faith No More, Slipknot and Def Leppard. Sonisphere by Metallica and Linkin Park. Download costs £130-£160 for three days of music and five of camping and Sonisphere costs £135 or £157.50 for two days. Metallica have previously headlined Reading/Leeds Festival 2008, Download 2006, Download 2004, Reading/Leeds 2003, appeared at Download 2003 and toured the country earlier this year. Linkin Park headlined Download 2007 and toured last year. Faith No More are reuniting for Download, Slipknot have never headlined major UK festival (though cancelled an appearance at Reading last year at the last minute, and have toured regularly) and Def Leppard haven’t either, and have only played two before (though they did tour last year).

Lower down the bill at Dowload there is the return of Limp Bizkit and Skin amongst others, the crowd-drawing likes of Marilyn Manson, Korn and Motley Crue plus loads of great underground bands (such as Sylosis), and a crossover appeal to dance fans in the shape of Pendulum and The Prodigy. Sonisphere has Heaven and Hell (who may or may not have their minds on other legal issues), Nine Inch Nails and Fear Factory, apart from whom there is little that’s particularly remarkable. Sonisphere still has some line-up announcements to make, but given that Download has already sold out camping tickets and Sonisphere (which has a smaller capacity) hasn’t, may suggest that the people have declared which is the best big summer festival for metal heads this summer.

On the slightly smaller festival side, Bloodstock always has pretty good line-up. This year it features Carcass, Blind Guardian, Arch Enemy, Cradle of Filth and Fear Factory. It also has Europe for some odd reason. And it’s only £99 including booking fee and camping.

More on summer festivals soon.

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