Download Complete

Well not only have I been away from this blog for a long time (six months it seems?) but I've been a rather busy little bee in the interim - travelling about, dyeing my hair various (slightly ridiculous) colours and most recently, taking in my first visit to Download Festival - or, infact, any festival - aside from little one-day local ones, and I'm fairly sure they don't count.

I know, I know - I'm nearly 26, I've been a gig-going, t-shirt wearing, moshing music lover since my early teens and yet apparently up until this point I've not experienced the all-encompassing madness of a metal weekender. Well, now I have - and I loved it.

Thursday afternoon I was picked up by my brother (original Sabbath fan) and despite having woken up two days before with some sort of death cold and completely losing my voice (which, when you are going somewhere specifically to dance, get muddy, and sing, is just *great*) we drove up to Donnington, getting progressively deeper into the rainstorm, and more excited, as we went. We arrived at our hotel for the night (having three-day tickets, we couldn't camp until Friday) and met my sister and 13 year old niece, who was also there for her festival. She is 12 years younger than me and clearly, already infinitely cooler. One quick trip to Asda for supplies, one mohican shaving and one sleep later, we were ready to rock and roll.

Whilst the festival did have its downsides (mainly camp-related - walking 20 miles through 6" of mud whilst witnessing the slow, sad and soggy demise of my beloved DMs and carrying about 40lbs of kit on my back just to get the tent set up), all in all the experience was one I'm already beginning to miss. Festival comedown(load).

On arriving we trudged our way through the bog quagmire fecal-trench village and on to Gold camp (family, in layman's terms) which happened to be furthest away from the car but annoyingly so close as the crow flies that we could see it from the entrance to the car park across the track. Apparently it was unsafe to walk on the (perfectly clean) track compared to the village bog because there was a shuttle bus driving around it every so often.

An hour later we finally had one (very muddy, very wet) tent set up in about the only space left - at a 45 degree angle. This made for some fun nighttime arrangements when the slightest movement would result in sliding down to the opposite side of the tent...but it's all part of the camping fun, hey? It's character-building!

Now...on to the actual point of being there, the music.

Best moments?
  • Corey Taylor unexpectedly singing one of my all-time favourite songs ever on acoustic guitar whilst my friend Amy held my broken portaloo door shut next to his tent so I wouldn't fall out
  • Raving to Chase and Status in the Vodafone tower
  • Finally seeing Prodigy after years of wanting to, despite being soaked through and freezing
  • Realising that Prodigy might be my favourite band (having thought for years I didn't really have one)
  • Finding out that You Me At Six are seemingly REALLY GOOD LIVE
  • Catching the end of Metallica and realising what an epic moment it was
  • "Metallica....Donnington....Metallica....Donnington....Family....Metallica....Donnington...Family"
  • Hearing Fear Factory as we were trying to set up our tent in the monsoon
  • Steel Panther in general and especially when Corey Taylor joined them
  • Knowing that my niece saw her favourite band up close and almost met them
  • Seeing the original Killswitch line up
  • Festival fashion...the good, bad and the ugly
  • Great and very questionable tattoos all around me
  • Soundgarden singing Black Hole Sun as the sun went down on Sunday...incredible
  • Being near to the front of possibly the last ever Black Sabbath gig
  • Discovering I actually really like Black Sabbath
  • Buying wellies on Friday night in the village to stop myself getting trench foot
Worst moments?
  • General bad organisation - i.e, making the car park 2.5 miles from the campsite, which was 2.5 miles from the took hours to get anywhere, especially in the mud
  • Almost losing my trusty DMs to the mud... I was going to bury them there in a proper festival death but couldn't bring myself to part with them so they are currently sat in a solid lump of mud in a bin bag whilst I await their fate
  • Illness - but that's not Download's fault, I was mute and snotty before I even left home
  • Rude stewards - special thanks go to the guy sat on his fat arse in the village who mocked my (lack of) voice and laughed at me openly when I asked him for help. I still wish I'd told him I had some sort of horrific terminal illness just to see his reaction. Hindsight is a fabulous thing...
  • Dropping my phone on Sunday afternoon after VERY CLEVERLY putting it in my sock (?) for safe keeping (??) whilst sat on the ground, then having someone immediately find it, steal it, and refuse to give it back even after I offered them free beer for its return - instead deciding the best course of action would be to text my brother saying "BUM MY TITS" and other such delights
  • Sitting in the car park for nigh on two hours after Sunday finished clock watching with the knowledge I was still ill and had work at 9am the next morning
BUT STILL. Epic weekend, might try a hotel next time just for the facilities (there's only so much a baby wipe can do when pitched against that much mud) and here's hoping 2013 is onwards and upwards.

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