June 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Blog | No comment

It’s taken 21-and-a-bit years, but I’ve now finally gone to a festival!

For the last few years, I’ve been pushed by my friends to go to Download, a rock and metal festival in Donington Park. Until this year, I’ve resisted going citing money issues, not getting time off work, not interested, etc. This year, I had lots of friends wanting me to go. On top of all that my cousin Whitney wanted me to go. At this point, I was like… fine. I’m going.

Thursday morning, left Bristol for Derby on the train. On the way met up with a guy called Rich who was from near Cardiff also going for his fourth visit. Whilst on the train we talked to pass the time, he talked about all the mad things that could happen in download, one fact being that on the Monday when everyone leaves you will find tents in a lot of the portaloos. Odd.

Two and a bit hours later, arrive at Derby, hop onto the shuttle bus to Donington, get my wristband and off I go into the campsite. I wasn’t expecting the campsite village to be as huge as it was, with as many shops as there were. Found Alex (well, bumped into him on the entrance to blue camp), dumped all my stuff, got my locker (I brought my S3 with me. I really couldn’t be bothered buying a new phone just for one weekend), and then chilled out for the evening. When I say chill out, it was more get drunk, see the fairground attractions, enjoy myself. Oh, and also dodge the rain. The weather wasn’t exactly fantastic that day. Mud everywhere.

First day of the festival, slow start. Since it was my first festival, I was a bit hesitant to go alone to the arena by myself. So until friends started going, I met up with Cameron and his friends who were in a different part of the camp site. I also went and bought a set of wellies, which was definitely useful considering my old shoes that I brought were destroyed with mud. I’m noting to self for next year bring my hiking boots.

When I eventually got into the arena (in the end by myself), I was a bit cautious to get right into the crowd. For the first few bands, I was quite far back but just close enough to hear the music and enjoy myself. I also met up with Cameron and his friends again who were with me watching. I watched most of Uriah Heap and Dragonforce, which I did enjoy. Should have stayed for Europe but went back to the campsite to grab my charging phone out the locker with the intention of returning. I didn’t return. Cameron and his friends went to watch Bullet for my Valentine, I stayed around for that since I had nothing in particular to watch. At the end of the night, I went with Andy to watch Black Stone Cherry. It was a brilliant performance, one I really enjoyed. I also found myself within the crowd. Not to the point where I was front row, but just beyond the first wave breaker. At this point, I really started to enjoy myself.

Day two, slow morning. I wasn’t willing again to leave without friends, and they didn’t end up leaving until about 1pm. When I finally got to the arena (on my own again) and main stage, saw the end of Mastodon, saw Alice in Chains, stuck around for Motorhead, and then migrated to the second stage for Jimmy Eat World which was a good light performance. Then it was Iron Maiden, and a really good show. I’m surprised for a band that old that their lead singer Bruce was still able to move about as he did. It’s a shame they clashed with The Hives since that was one band I would have liked to have seen, but oh well.

Day three (after being woken up to someone shouting “you had sex in my tent?!”) was a bit of a go with friends day. As a result I got exposed to the more heavy metal stuff. I went with Hamish and Emily to see Cancer Bats (note to self, listen to bands before seeing them), saw Stone Sour which I liked, Airbourne was a wild show, A Day To Remember got me exposed to the heavy stuff again, and then the final headline act Rammstein which was just brilliant. The amount of pyrotechnics was just stunning.

Monday arrived. I was actually surprised I got out of the campsite as quickly as I did. Minimal fuss, straight onto a shuttle bus, arrived into Derby at 9am. Three hours I had to wait around for my train. I killed off time by wondering around the shopping centre and town, stopped for a bit at a coffee shop, met up with Joel (one of my gaming friends), and then train back home. I say train, it was three trains plus two tube journeys. Getting a direct train to Reading instead of going via London was £50 more expensive.

I think I’ll be coming back to Download next year. I think next year I’ll need to make sure that I go and see the bands I want to see and not wait around and get scared. All part of the festival learning experience.

June 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm | Blog | No comment

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