A good festival is always about the music. Sure, we have the vast range of sideline events that compliment our experience, but the soul-food of a festival is the music, albeit perhaps marinated in a bit of beer before consumption, and Saturday at Download Festival was true to form.
We kicked it off with a fleeting exploration past the cinema tent (yes there were good movies, but I can’t justify 2 hours or so of my limited Download time on a movie, sorry!), and a visit to the Wall of Death (Epic. Girls riding Indian Motorcycles on vertical walls with their legs over the handlebars kick ass!), before gatecrashing a rather cute girl-girl wedding at the inflatable church. We even jumped in their wedding photo, and can I say the epic charity-shop wedding dresses made me jealous enough that I want my own fake festival wedding. Maybe next year #insertlaughingcryingemojihere.
Back in the arena, Triple H was honoured as the first recipient of the “Spirit of Lemmy” award on the main stage, though I missed the moment because I was deep in a mosh pit somewhere, and I spent the day chasing all the beautiful people I’d promised to meet up with in-between catching my bands. Sixx AM was my first surprise love affair. After our final sight of Motely Crue last year, I was keen to catch them and Nikki Sixx of course, and they exceeded my expectations, my heart even did an extra beat over “Life is beautiful” great song, much needed message to the world.
After a dissatisfying lunch of a Yorkshire pudding that looked much, much more yum than its reality, I left my friends to catch Juliette and The Licks and Megadeath (both solid choices), while I chose to fulfil the cry of my beating emo heart by heading to the Maverick stage for Escape the Fate. Thanks to a spontaneous wall of death moshpit experience, I managed to get right to the front of the pit for “Gorgeous Nightmare” and “The War is Ours”. To the people who gave me looks when I sung along at the top of my lungs, deal with it, childhood dreams are being fulfilled here, buddy.
Saturday evening presented my first clashes of the festival. Skindred lost out to Deftones, because Deftones were another teenage love of mine that I never got to see live. Does anyone else think of Queen of the Damned when they hear Change (in the house of flies)? NOFX also lost out, to Black Sabbath, because as much as I’ve loved NOFX since those angry punk moments with my best friend, rocking out to “Bottles to the ground” and “Clams have feelings too”, I know there will never be another opportunity to see Sabbath live. Sadly I didn’t know as many Sabbath songs as I thought I would, but they are without doubt great showmen and musicians, and “War Pigs” is of course a heavy crowd favourite, we could hardly hear Ozzy for the crowd screaming the lyrics. Their finale with “Paranoid” was everything we wanted it to be and more. Ozzy is hilarious and blunt as fuck, his opening welcome to the crowd “Another fucking wet one then?” could not have been truer, and Download has indeed been given the love/hate moniker “Drownload” in most recent years.
Worth a mention here that the rain did not let up the entire day. Let’s face it, any idiot with half a brain makes their millions selling ponchos and wellies at British music festivals, and dear God we need and appreciate them! For the first time ever I was actually prepared, though bemoaning the fact that my awesome outfits stayed in my backpack while I rocked my giant ‘modesty’ poncho like a badass nun the entire weekend (needs must folks!).
Later, it seemed like a great idea to have a half-and-half Jack-and-Coke night cap, which lead to it seeming like a great idea to run around the village and the campsite until 3am, dancing/moshing at the late bars and gatecrashing random campsites for deep and meaningful conversations about the curious names of obscure heavy metals bands. Eventually, it was time to head back to camp and sleep. Cue day three.