Sorry this post is a little late but better late than never eh? Because I’ve left it so late some of the details are a little blurry in my mind so I might get some of the times muddled so sorry if that happens. My awesome boyfriend Oli bought me and him tickets for Download Festival as a (super early) birthday present! I was super excited to see Marilyn Manson and some classic 80’s acts and Oli was hyped about seeing Lamb of God. Warning- this post will probably be pretty selfie heavy! So enjoy my review of the weekend and mine and Oli’s beautiful faces.
My Dad drove us up on the Thursday morning and we got to Donington Park at about 11:30 and boy was it sunny! Luckily there was no queue when we got the the main entrance so we got in fairly quickly although the walk to the quiet camping site with all of our booze was a drag. We successfully set up our tent and wandered around the village with friends before settling down in the open-air cinema to watch Lord of the Rings- The Two Towers before heading to bed in preparation for the first day of rocking.
On Friday the main arena opened so after a bit of shopping and a delicious veggie breakfast wrap we headed on over. There is a lot of walking involved in a weekend at Download which I really wasn’t anticipating. Because of all this walking we got there a little later than we intended and only got to see the last third of Lacuna Coil which is a shame but there were great. Because of the slopping arena you get a great view even from the back which became increasingly helpful as the weekend went on and my back decided to play up.
A little later in the afternoon we watched Clutch which was the first band I was really excited to see and they didn’t disappoint. I love their music and they were great live. We managed to get fairly close for them. After Clutch the weather started to turn bad and I mean really bad! Oli got a rain poncho and we headed back to the tent to change, get coats and see if the rain died down before Slipknot were due on… too bad we fell asleep! We woke up just as Slipknot were starting and it was still raining. We decided to stay in the tent as we had already seen them before and didn’t really want to walk that far in the rain after being all snug in the tent.
On to Saturday and more rain. Oh well, I mean it is England, you kinda come to expect rain. We popped our rain gear on and headed out pretty early to catch The Lounge Kittens set at 11 on the Zippo stage. They were amazing, so worth waking up early and standing in the rain for. I love The Lounge Kittens, they are just so different and funny. They had us doing a trexican-wave- basically a Mexican wave but doing little T-rex arms and making T-rex noises as you wave. So funny! We hung around the arena watching a few bands from the back and eating pizza in the afternoon before deciding to go back to the village, get some tea and see what was going on at the cinema so we could keep out of the rain.
We ended up watching Guardians of the Galaxy which was obviously awesome and I ate an amazing sweet potato burrito. After that little break it was time to head back over to the arena to watch Black Veil Brides. They were awesome, on of those bands who are just as good live as they are on CD. I made sure to enjoy it an extra amount for my Mum who is a massive fan. Black Veil Brides also provided my first pyrotechnics of the weekend which is always fun as I love fire!
After Black Veil Brides finished their wonderful set and the chanting parts of “Fallen Angels” began to leave my mind we excitedly moved forward to get a good spot to watch Marilyn Manson in 45 minutes. I know I should be more patient but I hate waiting and I got pretty bored and sadly the boredom wasn’t even worth it. I still love Manson but boy was the performance shit. I mean the band were on point but he was just all over the place. He kept wandering away, throwing the mic, not singing parts, rambling on to the crowd about completely random shit and oddest of all- he kept bringing the rapper Ice-T awkwardly on stage for no apparent reason. So very bizarre. To top it all off there was way too much smoke coming from the smoke machines so I could hardly see him half the time. I still love his music but I do feel a little let down, oh well, life and Download carried on. Rant over!
After that disappointment I was in the mood for a cocktail so I hunted down a dark and stormy (dark rum, ginger beer and lime) and me and Oli had a silly dance session at the back on Muse’s set and enjoyed the firework display at the end. Oli was such a babe, as usual, and managed to cheer me up. By the point the rain had stopped by the way so we had a pretty pleasant wander back to the campsite to rest before the final day kicked off.
Guess what happened on Sunday? We watched another movie! That cinema was getting a lot of our presence. This time we watched Penguins of Madagascar before doing a little bit of shopping in the now sunny village. I brought Oli this awesome Jake the Dog hat and he didn’t stop smiling for an hour! We watched Three Days Grace in one of the tents when we got back to the arena and I really enjoyed them! Oli wanted to see them so I assumed they would be really heavy like the stuff he usually listens to but they weren’t, they were quite angsty and a little punk- totally up my street. We watched a bit of Faith No More although were in the queue for their classic “epic”, although we still sung along while queuing. Their stage set was beautiful, all white with colourful flowers, google some pictures, you won’t regret it.
By this point my back was getting a little sore so we sort out Oli’s friends and I took up a pew (aka camping chair) at the back of the main stage in anticipation for Slash. He was freaking awesome, although it was weird looking at the actual stage instead of the screens and thinking “hey, that speck down there is rock legend slash”! He played a variety of his own new stuff and old Guns ‘n’ Roses numbers, much to my delight. Myles Kennedy, of Alter Bridge, provided the vocals and that dude has pipes! I don’t really know much about him but I really need to listen to more of his stuff.
Enjoy a blurry photo of a stage and nearly 85,000 people! Oli disappeared at this point to go and watch Lamb of God who were amazing according to him. I’m so glad they were good as they were the main reason Oli wanted to come. Next up on the main stage was Motley Crue who I had to see because my Mum has loved them for years. It was classic motley crue with sexy women dancing and singing back up on the stage, pyrotechnics and lots of 80’s classics. I called Mum during “Girls Girls Girls” and held the phone up so she could get in on the action. One day I will bring her to download and it will be the best mother/daughter trip ever!
Download ended with absolute rock royalty- Kiss. Everything about their performance was fun, energetic and over the top, just they way I like it! From the opening announcement of “you wanted the best, you’ve got the best” to the final verse of “I Wanna Rock and Roll all Night” it was one giant party! Lots of fun moving stage components, fireworks, ridiculous costumes, sing-alongs and of course Gene’s tounge all came together to create the perfect end to a fun weekend.
We slept so well that night and woke up to beautiful sunshine which made packing up a little less sad. We had a while to wait before my Dad came to pick us up so I had a little sunbathe on an abandoned camping bed and Oli went exploring through the tent-graveyard and came back with 2 discarded camping chairs for us to bring home and use in the garden. It’s unbelievable how much perfectly good stuff gets left behind. In 2011 I came back from Sonisphere with a beautiful floral cup and saucer set! We trudged back through the sea of abandoned tents and met my dad to travel back home. It was fun stopping at service stations and seeing others who had obviously just left download and giving them a knowing nod and smile.
We had a great weekend despite the rain and a certain Brian letting me down. We are already planning on going next year! I would definitely recommend Download to any rock or metal fan although be prepared for lots of walking and weather that just can’t make up its mind. It was so fun and I have so many great memories from the weekend, far too many to include in a single blog post! Once again thank you so much Oli, you are the absolute best and you deserve all the snuggles in the world for buying me such a great present!
If you’ve stuck with me through this bloody long post then well done and thank you! I wish it was this easy to write essays, I would be winning at life!