So we went to Download for the weekend! And, despite the weather, it totally rocked.
We went for the whole weekend, but because there’s so much I have to say about it, I’ve decided to break it up into a couple different blogs.
I’d been to Download once before in 2014, but it was just for the day. We’d found out two days before that I was pregnant, and due to the huge amount of hormones I was feeling extremely tired!
But, I loved it. I got to see bands such as Fall Out Boy, Killswitch Engage, Bowling For Soup, The Wildhearts and Linkin Park. This lineup, to me, is one of the best ever, and definitely a great way to be introduced to a festival!
So Thursday came, and we packed our bags, said goodbye to Esme for a few days and set off in the direction of Castle Donington. After a five hour journey, Al and I arrived.
We parked up, put the campervan pass in the front of the van, then went to get our wristbands. I didn’t realise that you couldn’t undo them, so I messed around with it a little bit and tightened it. Luckily I didn’t pull it too tight, otherwise I would have been really sad!
So, even though it was tighter than I would have liked, it was comfortable.
Once we got our bands, it was time to get out the beer! We were joined by one of Al’s friends at first, and later one of mine.
I’ve known Kasia since I started comprehensive school. A good friend of mine, we started our own paths in life once we left school, and had only seen each other once since we left.
Four years on, we were finally in the same place at the same time!
Kasia came to meet us at the van, where we talked and drank Koppaberg for hours as the sun set over the horizon. Wonderful company and a gorgeous evening set us in high spirits, ready for the festival beginning the next day.
The first day of the festival arrived, and although aching from sleeping on strange ground (well, a bed in a campervan), we were ready to rock!
We decided to get out to watch Royal Republic at 1pm on the Lemmy Stage. We’d heard great things about them, so decided to give them a listen.
We certainly weren’t disappointed! Their performance was excellent, and Adam Grahn’s vocals were wonderfully refreshing. It was the first time I’d seen and heard them, and they definitely left me wanting to hear more!
Next up was Alien Ant Farm, whose energetic performance of all of their greatest songs, including their rendition of Smooth Criminal, was completely infectious. I did get involved with a little bit of jumping around and headbanging!
Our plans were scuppered slightly whilst waiting for Babymetal. I’m not a massive fan of the band, but thought I’d stay, just to say that I’d seen them.
The sky was looking extremely grey, and everybody’s eyes were on the clouds, that promised great big heavy raindrops.
It was a warm day, so I welcomed the idea of a little shower. However, it wasn’t the type of shower that I had in mind!
The rain started to fall, and it was the type of rain that I’ve never seen before, along with a few flashes of lightning. The rain drops were huge, and they fell so quickly that we were soaked within minutes. We started to make our way to the Maverick Stage in the attempt to shelter, whilst watching Heck. However the rain had beaten us, and we instead made our way back to the van to get changed.
We squelched through the mud in our drenched clothes and shoes, and finally got back to the van, where we changed into some dry clothes.
We could see the whole field from the camp site, and were closest (as the crow flies) to the Encore Stage.
I’d decided before we got to Download that I really wanted to see Skillet. I didn’t and still don’t know all that much about them, but had heard their songs Monster and Feel Invincible, along with a few others, and immediately decided that I liked them.
They were due on stage at 4pm, however I heard them starting their set ten minutes early. I had to quickly decide whether I wanted to brave the weather and go out in the rain to potentially get soaked again, or leave it until the next time I had the opportunity to see them.
I decided to put my wet socks and shoes back on, because there was no way I was going to get a second pair of shoes wet!
I grabbed a hoodie, and ran for it. It’s a heck of a long way to go from the camp site to the Encore Stage, but I made it 15 minutes after they started, giving me 15 minutes to enjoy their music.
Thankfully, I didn’t miss them playing Feel Invincible or Monster, and decided to jump around, headbang and sing along with them as they played fantastically.
As expected, I got absolutely soaked again, but I embraced it rather than be sad about it!
Skillet were amazing, and the best band I saw all weekend. They played majestically and the atmosphere within the crowd was electric. I contemplated getting involved in the mosh pit, but decided I’d rather stay where I was and enjoy the music, rather than potentially falling over in the mud and getting a boot to the face.
I wasn’t sure about what to do once they’d finished, so wandered a little bit to see what was going on elsewhere in the arena.
Killswitch Engage were on the main stage, so I worked my way through the crowd to get as close to the front as I could without getting myself into mosh pit territory.
I’m not all that impressed with their new album. The songs all seem a bit too much of the same thing for me. However, I’m still a big fan of their old songs such as Rose of Sharon, My Curse and This is Absolution.
Much to my delight, they played all three of my favourites, so I had the opportunity to join in with the thousands of people around me by singing along and headbanging in the right places.
The rain started to subside, so I decided to get changed into some dry clothes again. I took off my dripping wet shorts, t shirt and Doc Martens, and swapped them for a different t shirt, jeans and my DC trainers.
I was almost too late to catch The Wildhearts, but I managed to catch them performing Vanilla Radio, Suckerpunch and 29 Times of Pain, before I had to leave again, walk right across the entire length of the field to get to the NXT tent.
This was something I’d been looking forward to the most.
Al had managed to find two seats together amidst the sea of wrestling fans, so we quickly jumped in them before anybody else had the chance.
The atmosphere within the crowd was incredible. The heel wrestlers all endured some horrendous stick from the NXT fans, which I hope they didn’t mind (they probably loved the heat), apart from Scottish lass Nikki Storm (and Baron Corbin, because we were so excited to see him).
Nikki’s best attempts at being mean to us British folk weren’t what she had in mind, because we were so pleased to see her make her debut.
An hour passed extremely quickly, and it was from there we decided to wander past Rammstein (who I’m not a massive fan of, but wanted to see anyway), and took a stroll back to the van, where we munched on a few snacks, drank a couple cans and turned in for the night.