Avenged Sevenfold headline Download at Donington Park


Avenged Sevenfold
Image caption M Shadows and Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold

American metal band Avenged Sevenfold have headlined the first night of this year's Download Festival at Donington Park.

The California rockers performed on the main stage for just under two hours, playing 16 songs that spanned their career.

As well as Hail to the King from last year's album of the same name, Avenged Sevenfold picked some more obscure tracks for their first headline set at Download, such as Burn It Down.

Frontman M. Shadows also paid tribute to former drummer James "The Rev" Sullivan, who died in 2009 after an accidental overdose of prescription medication and alcohol.

Download fans

Shadows, whose real name is Matthew Sanders, thanked the crowd saying the UK was one of the first countries to embrace their music.

"When we play here we know that we owe a lot to you guys," he said.

The band - made up of Shadows, lead guitarist Synyster Gates, rhythm guitarist Zacky Vengeance, bass player Johnny Christ and drummer Arin Ilejay - had their first number one record in the UK last year with their sixth studio album Hail to the King.

Rob Zombie

Before them on the main stage was rocker, film producer, director and screenwriter, Rob Zombie.

Hundreds of festival-goers paid tribute to the 49-year-old US metal veteran by having their faces made up as zombies at special makeover stations across the festival village and main arena.

The good weather seemed to confuse the singer.

"I can't compute this place being bright and sunny," he told the crowd.

"It should be dark and rainy. I hate bright and sunny. It's pitiful."

Rob Zombie fans
Image caption Four Rob Zombie fans dressed up in honour of the metal veteran

Other acts who performed on Friday were The Offspring, who played 1994's Smash in full, Bad Religion, Rival Sons, Letlive, Royal Blood, Dan Reed Network and Tyketto.

The main stage is named after teenage cancer fundraiser Stephen Sutton this year.

Between Skindred and Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society, organiser Andy Copping came out onto the stage and got the crowd to clap for a minute in his memory and give him a thumbs up.

The 19-year-old from Staffordshire attended last year's festival as part of his bucket list.

During Avenged Sevenfold's headline set it emerged that he'd been made an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

50,000 people are attending each day of the rock festival in Leicestershire.

Levi Benton of Miss May I
Image caption Levi Benton of Miss May I

Mark Walker, 21 from London, Stacey Barks, 20 from London and Frankie Walker, 20 from Minehead in Somerset, all go to Bournemouth University.

They got free tickets to the festival after handing out thousands of wristbands to festival-goers.

"We're looking forward to seeing Linkin Park," they said. "And Steel Panther."

Saturday's headliners are Linkin Park, who will be playing their debut album, 2000's Hybrid Theory, from start to finish.

There will also be sets from Fall Out Boy, Bring Me The Horizon, While She Sleeps, Bury Tomorrow, Monster Magnet, Marmozets, Twenty One Pilots and Status Quo.

England's opening match at the World Cup in Brazil against Italy will be shown on the second stage at 23:00 BST.

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