The start of the festival season, and I was off to Download on the Thursday evening. Never been to Download before, possibly because it was always close to Glastonbury. No Glastonbury this year, so no excuses. The weather looked passable for the weekend with sun and maybe a small smattering of rain on the Friday morning. This is exactly how it panned out.
I arrived at Download in good time, and went to the Rest In Peace entrance, where I was directed to the Sleepy Hollow campsite. The Sleepy Hollow campsite was a new operation for the year, Google Maps showed it as a freshly grassed field, and that is how it was; I could see the rows of grass with soil between. The field is also on a slope, so pot luck whether you end up on a level area. The wonderful thing about this campsite is you park the car next to your tent, no lugging stuff around. You also have a reasonable sized pitch. If I had been thinking straight I would have taken the camper. I regretted not taking Morrison by the end of the weekend, (Just have to get it past the co-owner.) Cold nights and the inflatable bed sprang a leak, so I was sleeping on the hard, cold ground.
The Rest In Peace (RIP) option has several different price levels, including cabins, Tepees and pre-erected tents. There are also proper loos and showers on site. They also have a bar and entertainment on the Wednesday and Thursday night. I watched a band and some comedy acts before heading to bed. Unfortunately, the quantity of beer drunk soon before going to bed needed more than one trip to the loo during the night.
During the night it rained, and in the morning there was still moisture in the air. Breakfast bap from the nearby van, which I did every day, and then over to the Arena, a pleasant walk through the RIP village and through the Guest Area and then into the Arena. The Guest Area gives a pleasant spot to get away from the masses and sit down at tables and benches to eat and drink. I used the Guest Area for my meals, becoming a Vegan during the day, eating some delicious wraps with salad, humus and falafel. They were distinctly more flavoursome than the pale coloured meat burgers you could get elsewhere.
So in the arena I went for a wander around, checked out the four stages, and the events arena. Looked at the food offerings, bars and shops. There was a real ale bar selling a few beers including Wherry Ale from Woodforde’s in Norfolk. I was all set for the bands,
On the main stage I watched all the bands to some extent, though left Bullet for My Valentine early to go and see Bad Religion
- Boston Manor
- Bullet for my Valentine
- Bad Religion
- Avenged Sevenfold.
Avatar, Marmozets, Bad Religion and Avenged Sevenfold all provided great performances. Avenged played a cover of Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here”, which was repeated by GnFnR in their set. Coincidence or planning?
Cloudy day to start but cleared up and became gorgeous. I stayed on the main stage, but sometimes spent time back in the Guest Area eating and having a Bulleit cocktail. (BLT)
- The Pink Slips
- Whiskey Myers
- Monster Truck
- The Temperance Movement
- Black Stone Cherry
- Guns n Roses (GnFnR)
GnFnR played for three hours. There were some long drawn out solos from Slash. Overall it was excellent, Should be, rumour has it they were paid £5,000,000. Despite there being 100,000 there, it was easy to get close to see them. The area between the front crush barrier and back crush barrier had a large amount of free space. I was amazed. I have been at Reading festival where I have been crushed at the back by the force of people pushing me against the rear crush barrier from the front.
I was beginning to feel my age, muscles were cramping up. Festivals are challenging work, lots of walking, lots of jumping up and down. Anyway another great line-up I hoped, and I was not disappointed.
- Cradle of Filth
- In this Moment
- Black Veil Brides
- Marilyn Manson
- Ozzy Osboure
I think the most disappointing was Marilyn Manson. Ozzy was his predictable self, singing all the old Black Sabbath songs. Again I was surprised by the amount of space at the front.
On the Monday morning I was up and out very early and back home before 8, much to Rosemary’s surprise. I was feeling worn out and stiff from the exertions of the festival. Added to that I contracted a cold.
The campsite was not bad, the showers and loos worked well and were not dirty. The late night and early morning flights into East Midlands were rather annoying. They were noisy enough for me in the RIP area. Those camping in the general campsites would have been directly under the flight path. I was also surprised at the time the main acts ended. I was expecting 11.45, it was more like 10.30.