Download Festival 201515:59
After the announcement of Slipknot and Five Finger Death Punch at this year's Download Festival my heart was pretty set on going. I've always wanted to go before but could never find some friends willing however, this year I managed to find two people I knew who were going with a big group that allowed me to tag along. I'm going to try and keep this as brief as possible but here is a run down of my first (but not last) Download experience.
Wednesday 10th June: 8am and after a lovely Mcdonald's breakfast we were on the road for a 3 hour drive to Download. We did the traditional 2 service stops that the group always does and got there before gates were open around 11am, beginning the drinking games in the cue. The gates finally opened at 12pm but we didn't get our wristbands until 4pm. We were aiming to camp in red but resulted in setting up in pink. We were camped on a hill but it wasn't too bad and we were close to a good burger van and some toilets, so I was content. Once we set up the tents I went for a walk into the village with one of the guys I knew, to find out that my dog tag wasn't working. I had to cue up at the information point to get it sorted and 3-4 hours later it was finally sorted within 2 minutes. All of the tiring, cold and hungry waiting around kind of ruined the first day for me so I just got some chips and headed to bed early.
Thursday 11th June: The next day was a big improvement. There were 20 of us camping in total and I got to know everyone a little better. I am quiet around new people and just sit and observe them to find out what they are like, so I did that a lot to find that they were all really nice and very entertaining. We spent the majority of the day hanging around the gazebo with food and drinks except for heading to the village at one point to get some potato wedges and have a look at a few of the stalls. A big majority of the group eventually headed to the comedy tent at 8pm to watch Kunt and the Gang, which was actually pretty funny and good for a festival environment. We sat outside the comedy tent for a while after and I caught a few glimpses of Lord Of The Rings in the cinema tent before heading off with two members of the group to find a onesie. I ended up buying a Stitch one then headed back to camp to have a few more drinks with everyone before heading to bed.
Friday 12th June: Live music! The first band wasn't until 1pm so I got to sleep a little longer, have some food and a few drinks before taking the long walk to the arena. Sadly I instantly started feeling lightheaded and faint while watching All The Remains to only later start getting hayfever quite badly, which is strange as I don't normally suffer from it. Before Beartooth me and two others decided to get food. I decided to go with a standard cheeseburger and found a van that sold one of the best so I only ate from there for the rest of the weekend (adventurous I know). I started feeling better after having food but still didn't have enough energy to properly throw myself into the atmosphere. After Beartooth we went back to our meeting point on the hill where a lot of the camp had set up chairs and we could get a good view of the stage. We stayed there for the rest of the day and I finally got to see Five Finger Death Punch! They were so good and pulled up three cute little rockers onto the stage, one was really good at headbanging too. I was sad at the fact they didn't play 100 ways to hate or Remember Everything but they still had a great set. Before Judas Priest me and a friend went for a walk around some of the stalls, as I desperately wanted a zip hoodie but couldn't find an affordable one that I liked. Eventually I came across a stall selling old band shirts who had plain black hoodies for £10. I bought one and I am so much happier with it than I thought I'd be. Its so much thicker and better quality than I was expecting and a hell of a lot better than my £12 one from Primark. Finally to end the night was Slipknot. By the time Slipknot were on my pac-a-mac had soaked through to my hoodie, tshirt and jeans leaving me freezing and soaked, which admittedly did put a slight downer on the set. However, they were my all time #1 band to see which I had been waiting for since I had to sell my ticket to see Slipknot in January. 6 of us moved closer to the stage for Slipknot and they exceeded my expectations. They put so much passion and effort into their set and I think they have one of the best stage shows. I am so happy to have seen them and can't wait until I can see them again.
Saturday 13th June: The arena opened earlier on Saturday with the first band on at 11am and was the day with the most bands I wanted to see. One of the highlights for me was New Year's Day. I had gotten into them a lot pre-Download. I convinced my friend to come a long with me who tends to criticize a lot of the bands I like and to my surprise he was impressed. Ashley's vocals were amazing and I believe that they really deserved to be a lot higher on the bill. Sadly they were on the 4th stage which was really difficult to get a good view unless you were stood directly opposite the stage. Later on I watched A Day To Remember who unsurprisingly, killed it as always and I now really need to see them in concert for the fourth time. Another highlight from the Saturday was Black Veil Brides. I was the only one in the camp that wanted to see them and got a few disapproving looks/lighthearted criticisms for it but despite the opinions I went anyway. My friend decided to tag a long with me so I wasn't alone and they didn't let me down. I was stood center of the stage and close enough to get the warmth from all of their pyro. Sadly it wasn't long into the set before someone launched a bottle onto the stage and Andy began ushering gestures to stand up to them mid song. He carried on though and finished a great set and I would be happy to see them again. I wasn't keen on seeing Muse so four of us then met to watch Marilyn Manson who had an impressive stage performance. I don't regularly listen to Manson but he is someone I've always wanted to see live while I still can. After his set I watched a little Muse before heading back to camp for some hilarious entertainment from the rest of the group and some drinks.
Sunday 14th June: I kept changing my mind Sunday morning of when I wanted to head to the Arena. There were many bands I wanted to see, and once I had sat in my camping chair with a few drinks I was too lazy to move. While the others headed off 5 of us stayed and had some bacon sandwiches. A lot of the group were heading home after Kiss which eventually became rather appealing to me. We headed to the arena for The Darkness who were one of the secret acts but sadly I didn't enjoy it. I could only get a small glimpse of the stage from the tightly packed tent, constantly getting shoved from men by behind me and had them badly shouting lyrics in my ear. I'm not a big fan of The Darkness either and to have three crowd surfers dropped on my head and neck made me not enjoy it that little bit more. After The Darkness we went to hang with everyone in our usual spot where we stayed for the rest of the evening. Me and my two friends decided that we would head back that night instead of Monday and concluded a plan to meet at the tent to pack up our stuff during Kiss. We stayed for a majority of Kiss' set and I am so glad that I got to see them and Motley Crue but at this point the thought of home was even more appealing. We eventually got home at 4am and although I already really miss Download I was glad to be back.
When I went to Reading festival before it was just me and a friend and to go with a big group of strangers this year was a lot more interesting. I got to meet a lot of cool people and see some awesome bands and if the line up is good enough next year I think I'll go back.
Bands I saw at Download 2015:Friday: All That Remains, Krokodil, Beartooth, Lacuna Coil, Five Finger Death Punch, Judas Priest, Slipknot.
Saturday: Heart Of A Coward, Funeral For A Friend, New Year's Day, Mallory Knox, Hollywood Undead, Parkway Drive, Rise Against, A Day To Remember, Black Veil Brides, Marilyn Manson, Muse.
Sunday: The Darkness, Billy Idol, Slash ft Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators, Kiss
Thanks for reading and if you went to Download I hope you a fantastic time. Perhaps share some interesting stories in the comments of your experience, April