The Download Festival this year was absolutely fantastic, though the traffic getting there delayed us by an hour and my butt was so numb I could barely walk by the time we parked. The bands we saw included Marilyn Manson, Black Veil Brides, In This Moment, Thy Art Is Murder, Avenged Sevenfold, Guns n’ Roses and many more – but I’ll get into that later.
If you’re planning on going to a festival in the future, you can read my guide to surviving festivals!
My mum and my sister decided it would be a good idea to walk from our hotel to the festival. It took three miles and my Doc Martens were rubbing on my Achilles because I broke them a few months before and never bothered repairing them. The backs of my feet were sore by the time we arrived, but not yet blistered. I was grateful once we got past security and sat down by the Zippo Encore stage to watch Andrew W.K. Afterwards we watched Jonathan Davis, and then we had a little bit of time to poodle around the shops. We also saw Hell Is For Heroes on the same stage a little while later.
I dressed as Sander Cohen from Bioshock because on Friday the dress up theme was villains. My outfit was based on my favourite bassist’s, Devin Sola’s, because he actually got me into Bioshock by playing it often and I thought, maybe I could give it a go. The only problem with dressing as Sander was that my jeans were sweaty as hell and the blood on my shirt was rubbing on my sweaty skin.
Later on, we saw Bullet For My Valentine and a bit of Avenged Sevenfold. I like BFMV but I think they’re much better live than in the studio.
I did want to watch Miss May I, but we didn’t get the time due to the terrible traffic on the way to the festival. There’s always another date! But the last time I said that was when my mum felt sick when we were watching Linkin Park one year.
On Saturday we watched Asking Alexandria, Babymetal, Parkway Drive, Black Stone Cherry, Thy Art Is Murder and Guns N’ Roses. All of it was fun, but my favourites had to be Parkway Drive and Thy Art Is Murder. I’d only listened to a few songs from each band but seeing them live really encouraged me to listen to more. Even though nobody can understand Thy Art Is Murder lyrics and the singer (growler, really) kept making “anal sex on the first date” jokes and all that, it was still fun. My mum really enjoyed Parkway Drive, and so did I and my sister. I would compare them to Wage War.
In the arena, there are hundreds of tents and stalls to occupy you. There are so many shops, I doubt anyone with money could get bored – my favourite was the New Rocks shop, of course – and scattered everywhere were official Download bars. On the far side (right, if you’ve just entered, and left if you’re leaving) of the arena is an official lager bar, and an unofficial cocktail bar next to some toilets. They played music so loud you couldn’t even hear the main stage and your ears rang, so we had to sit away from the cocktail bar every time my mum and older sister went to get a drink of ale. I, being underage, settled for lemonade (and a cheeky cider when we got back to the hotel!).
We all noticed that this year, the music on the stages was way louder than previous years; loud music is great, until you need ear plugs because you fear that you’ll literally go deaf. It was a little bit disappointing.
When we were watching Parkway Drive, we saw a sign-language person interpreting lyrics for a deaf person in the raised podium thing for wheelchairs and all that. I’m not sure if deaf people like the bass or if this person was here for the shops, or to hang out with someone else, or what.
On Saturday we bought my New Rocks – big chunky boots with metal on them and chunky soles too:
I also bought those spangly leggings (which received many compliments) and some other leggings with the Download logo on them. I originally wanted DL shorts but they didn’t have any.
Sunday was probably my favourite day of the weekend because Black Veil Brides, In This Moment, Cradle Of Filth and Marilyn Manson were playing. So was Ozzy Osbourne, but he killed several cats and bit the head off a pigeon, so we didn’t watch him.
We had to buy some blister plasters because of the shoes I’ve been wearing that had been cutting into the back of my feet. But the plasters made everything great again.
The first time I ever saw BVB was at Download in 2015, before I really knew them. I just wanted to see because my emo friends over the internet liked them. Their song Fallen Angels got me into them, but I’m not so in love with them now – not that I dislike them, but my love has travelled to other bands recently. They were really good (and played Fallen Angels again, just as we were about to leave, so my sister and I ran back to our spot and watched them for another couple of songs) and I don’t see why people look down on them (or indeed call them gay???).
In This Moment weren’t really as good live. The singer, Maria Brink, was either nervous, had a sore throat, or was using low quality sound equipment, because I know for a fact that her voice is amazing. Other than the occasional voice crack, I enjoyed the show very much.
Cradle Of Filth were the first band to play. My mum wanted to see them but didn’t realise that they comically growl rather than sing; she heard a cover of a beautiful song and guessed that they’d usually sound like that. Big phat nope. We enjoyed it, but left prematurely to look at some shops. I tried to convince my mum to get a Download teatowel, but failed. Next year though!
Marilyn Manson was good, but every song he had to take breaks to change clothes and it took a while. I mean, I can’t talk, since it takes an hour for me to even roll out of bed. My mum won’t let go that when he was singing, one of the big screens at the side captured some snot coming out of his nose. It happens to the best of us, but gross.
It’s just popped in my head that in the hotel on Friday night, someone was pacing at four o’clock in the morning in the room above us. You could hear them stomping from one side of the room to the other, and I felt like I wanted to scream. After that, they left, which was nice.
I can’t wait for next year’s Download shenanigans.