08 June 2018 (gig)
23 June 2018
Perhaps only those who have attended the infamous Download Festival in Donnigton will understand the truth behind my statement:
it is simply the friendliest festival in the UK.
This may seem like a bizarre notion.
A quick glance at the headliners; Marylin Manson, Guns N Roses, Ozzy Osbourne and Avenged Sevenfold, may lead you to assume it’s for those who prefer the darker side of alt-music. Of course, you’d be utterly correct. It’s an outright goth fest. But, amongst the sea of pale bodies swathed in black tees, studs and, eyeliner, is a subculture united in their desire to have a bloody lovely weekend.
Download certainly delivers exactly that.
As one of the longstanding British festivals, it not only draws those who pride themselves on consecutive attendance, but also somehow manages to jam in every type of rock on offer. Three days and four stages, it’s grounds are slightly smaller than other UK festivals however, with so much Rock Royalty sound design is a real focus and there is little to no problem of sound clash.
Add to this, a true and gallant effort from the organisers to ensure that every facility is planned for the maximum comfort and enjoyment of the 100,000 people that attend annually. The food stalls and bars cater to everyone. I must commend the addition of several new Vegan/vegetarian stalls that didn’t cost the earth (pun intended). All bars are split into two queues serving ‘Pints’ and, ‘Everything-else’, so if your order is a simple, you won’t be waiting long.
Some toilets are split by gender but all are regularly cleaned and restocked, meaning that even those with my princess-like standards (toilet paper is not a luxury even at a festival) will be more than happy. The organisers yet again clearly pride themselves on inclusivity and accessibility. Ramps and facilities everywhere mean the event is easily navigable by those who require wheelchair or supported access.
Despite a fully loaded agenda, the weekend is a dream to plan with the Download App; complete with updated times, reminder alarms, surprise act announcements and rewards. Perhaps I’m getting old, but a well-organised festival is what I’m looking for when dropping a couple of hundred quid for a weekend ticket.
The organiser’s attempt is near artistic.
Their partnership with Greenpeace is still going strong in its’ third year. With 2018 being the unofficial year the world wakes up to overwhelming amount of plastic choking our oceans, the cup deposit scheme is another excellent addition to the festival and makes a world of difference. Simply pay £3 at the start of your weekend, get a tumbler that you reuse and then get your money back when you’re done at the end of the weekend. Thanks to their new co-op partnership they generously recompense recyclers for plastic bottles too. By the end of the festival there is barely any waste on the arena floor.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention their jam packed line up once again. Across the weekend, there’s something for to so many different tastes. Our favourites of the weekend were Thrice, Alexisonfire, The Bronx, a surprise act by The Fever 333 and Avenged Sevenfold.
If you fancy a break from the music, there’s also WWE NXT wrestling on free everyday, circus acts, Doom Yoga, Air Guitar Championships and more DJ nights for the after hours than you can shake a stick at.
If you’re looking to upgrade your weekend, their RIP (that’s VIP, but goth) guest packages are well worth the extra dough. With fancy accommodation, showers and toilets alongside an exclusive and large bar area, you’ll feel rested as well as rocked.
Keep going as you are Download. You’ve got this.