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LOUDER FEATURES: Our Best New Discoveries at Festivals

This summer's festivals may have been even more of a washout than usual, with the pandemic snatching away our chances of experiencing our favourite weekends of the year. However, we will always have the memories of muddy days gone by to look back on - and the music of those hidden festival gems that you happen across and end up falling in love with. So here are some of our picks for the best bands we have discovered at festivals over the years!

Charlotte Claber, Editor in Chief:

Picked by the fans of Kerrang! Radio, PENGSHUi bounded on stage with bundles of energy for an 11am festival slot. Especially in a tent at Download Festival 2019 that was surely full of hangovers from the night before in the Dog House. They got the crowd going and put on a firey set filled with riffs and beats that could be straight from The Prodigy's back catalogue, a one to watch the band had a real power.

Charlotte Hardman, Deputy Editor:

Otto from Waterparks on the drums, Slam Dunk Festival 2016

My best discovery at a festival has to be Waterparks. I stumbled across what turned out to be their first ever set on UK soil; they were the second act on what was then the Kerrang! Fresh Blood Stage at Slam Dunk Festival 2016. There were no more than twenty people in the small room, yet they owned the stage like it was the Pyramid Stage! Seeing how far they’ve come since hearing them play the likes of ‘Silver’ and ‘Mad All The Time’ in that tiny bar makes me incredibly proud to have been there since the beginning.

Naomi Sanders, Deputy Editor:

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes - I went to see them before PVRIS, having never seen them before or listened to them. Their set at Slam Dunk was insane, fun, and energetic. The best moment came before ‘Flowers’, where Frank Carter asked that only the women should crowdsurf and mosh to the song, showing his support for safety at gigs.

Sadie Maude, Writer:

My best festival act discovery is Lower Than Atlantis. I saw them for the first time at Slam Dunk in Leeds in 2018, and although this wasn’t my first time hearing of them, I had only heard of one song so we only really went to their set to fill some time. This ended up being one of my favourite sets of the day! The music was catchy and it was just an all around fun vibe. After seeing them, me and my dad bought all their albums and really started getting in to them. We then got the opportunity to see them live the year after (which we were buzzing about), but it ended up being their farewell tour….turns out we were VERY late to the Lower Than Atlantis party…

Kris Kielich, Writer:

The very first band to play the first Uproar Festival I went to was a small Canadian hard-rock band called Hail the Villain. They absolutely smashed it and their only record release is a fierce, melodic, and instantly hooky dose of hard rock fun. To this day it still holds up, and it’s too bad the band is no longer together.

Sean Hubbard, Writer:

My favourite festival discovery ever has to be Oathbreaker at 2000 Trees in 2017. Went in with no idea what to expect, left with my face melted and an urgent need to listen to 'Rheia'. An absolutely unbelievable band.

Simone Barton, Writer:

Slam Dunk 2014 was also when I discovered Letlive. They’re my best festival discovery not only because of how incredibly talented they were, and how insane Jason Avalon Butler is as a performer, but they were also the first hardcore band I discovered that had members who were POC and looked like me.

Courtney Peterson, Writer:

Hacktivist. They were the first band playing on Download’s Main Stage before Creeper in 2017, and my friends and I had woken up early to meet there. They’re far-removed from Creeper, but I had an amazing time, discovering someone to reach for if I’m ever in the mood for some rap metal.

Nathan Lagden, Writer:

Sonisphere 2014, midday, Saturday – I ventured to watch a band who’d attracted a lot of hype. I was sceptical about this fusion of metal and J-pop, but I wanted to see what the fuss was about. The band was Babymetal, and I very much got what the fuss was about!

Jase Smith, Writer:

At Reading Festival in 2019 I discovered a band called Press Club whilst waiting at the stage for Dream State, they were so fun and energetic and their music is great! I got the setlist which I still have and now I listen to them all the time, it was definitely a great discovery and I’m so glad I caught their set.