Download dedicates stage to Ronnie James Dio

Following the tragic news of the death of Ronnie James Dio over the weekend, Download have announced today (17 May) that they will rename their second stage to The Ronnie James Dio Stage.

The stage will play tribute to the rock superstar who died yesterday (Sunday) morning after a brave six month battle with stomach cancer. He was 67.

His wife Wendy Dio announced the sad news, saying: “Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever."

The news, which follows the announcement earlier in the month that his band Heaven And Hell had cancelled their planned European Tour dates (which had included appearances at Bloodstock and High Voltage in the UK as well as several European Sonisphere events) has devastated fans worldwide. Dio will forever remain to be a great loss to the rock and metal world after being a vital part of it for six decades.

The powerful musician has performed with Elf, Rainbow, Heaven and Hell and is mostly famous for replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath who have sold millions of albums world wide. He was also the front man of his own band, Dio.

Ronnie James Dio performed his last European show, with Heaven And Hell, at Sonisphere, Knebworth in the UK last August.

Headlining the Ronnie James Dio Stage at Download are Bullet For My Valentine, Thirty Seconds To Mars and Stone Sour.

Other bands to play the stage include Coheed and Cambria, A Day To Remember, H.I.M, The Blackout, Atreyu, Airborne, Steel Panther and Porcupine Tree.

In a second rock tribute, organisers have also announced that the Download Festival’s Main Stage will be called the Maurice Jones Stage, in tribute to the co-founder of the Monsters of Rock festivals (Download’s precursor) at Donington Park who passed away last year. 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of rock and metal music at Donington. 

Download tickets are available now for £170 for the weekend with camping, while non-camping weekend passes are priced at £140. Organisers have also revealed that day tickets are available today (Tuesday) from 9am.

Click here to buy Download Festival tickets.

Download Festival 2010 will take place at Donington Park, Castle Donington from 11-13 June.