The last few weeks have seen fans bombarded by some pretty awesome announcements as the annual line-up battle between our two premier rock and metal festivals, Download and Sonisphere, kicked off with aplomb.

Just two days ago, Sonisphere brought out its big guns – revealing that the ‘big four’ – that is the four titans and pioneers of thrash metal, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax – would be, for the first time ever, appearing together on the same UK bill. By anyone’s standards, this is BIG SHIT.

Usually the first line-up announcements for both festivals start surfacing around February. Yet two weeks ago we woke to the news that not only would mentalists System Of A Down be reforming, they had also been booked to headline Download 2011.

Exciting? Damn right. This year’s event boasted the best headliners of any UK festival with AC/DC, Rage Against The Machine and Aerosmith; already next year was looking immense.

But wait. Four days later and Sonisphere HQ had their own announcement to make, revealing metal heavyweights Slipknot as their first headliner. I mean, System Of A Down had been on hiatus since 2006 but you always suspected they’d reform eventually.

On the other hand, Slipknot’s future had been thrown into doubt by the death of bassist Paul Gray in July, with vocalist Corey Taylor commenting it didn’t make sense for the band to continue without him. For a time there was a very real chance the masked nihilists would never perform again.

While Download have since added industrial metal legend Rob Zombie to the line-up, the news was dampened somewhat by the pronouncement of Linkin Park as their second main stage headliner.

Sure, they’re still one of the biggest rock acts on the planet. But it’s hard to get that excited about the prospect of hearing ‘In The End’ again. With the ball back in Download’s court to announce their third big name, they probably don’t need telling it has to be good to compete with Sonisphere.

I personally will be living on baked beans for the next few months in order to attend both – but what about you? Given the line-ups so far, which will you be spending your pennies on? And who would you like to see announced as the final Download headliner?