Advantages Headliners=Excellent Support=good,....
Disadvantages ...bad and ugly! (better than last years though)
|Booze and nosh|
|Variety of music||Good|
|Accessibility to various stages||Poor|
|Facilities (campsite, toilets, creche, etc.)||satisfactory|
|Sound quality/rigging of stages||satisfactory|
|Value for money||satisfactory|
I am reviewing (mainly) the Ozzfest day (Saturday 11th June) at this years download festival, but the whole festival will be mentioned.The Stages-
The main stage see's it 3rd show at download this year as class headliners Feeder, Black Sabbath and System Of A Down play this years 3-day event. The stage had the usual screens at either side for those who are at a smaller height than the rest of the crowd. The bands made the stage unique with their own stage design and personal touches!- My favourite stage design was Bowling For Soup's with the giant hands on stage forming the rock symbol that you rarely miss at all festivals. This years main stage had a barrier dividing the crowd in half, with a pathway in the middle for the lead singer to walk down if they wish to. Unfortunately there was no material on the floor of the crowd area unlike in previous years, this meant that every time a pit got going dust and dirt of or the floor was disturbed and puffed up into the surrounding air, this is especially bad for hayfever sufferers like myself.
Napster Stage (3rd stage)-
The third stage returns for its second year at download at the top of the hill near the fairground. The stage had some good bands across the festival including Breed 77 and Therapy but the standard or music on this stage was no where near as good as the other stages. The stage is in a tent half the size of the Snickers stage, it has no screens at the side of it making it very hard to see, but that shouldn't be a problem as the tent is smaller and the bands are only on for 25-45mins each.
The toilets at download where the usual portaloo plastic things! By the end of the second day they were awful. In one of the many toilet areas dotted around the festival site, the toilet had leaked and you were literally standing in someone wee! All the loo's absolutely smelled of (well you can guess what they smelled of!). There were toilets and urinals for men and women, yes this isn't a misprint. I saw leaflets near the loo's for a device called P-Mate (also known as She-Pee), it is a device that allows a woman to urinate like a man would!- (basically a funnel!).Sound Quality-
The sound quality on the main stage was poor, the sound went high and low and the feedback was also bad, in Alter Bridge's set the feedback was so bad my whole body was vibrating! The echo in Velvet Revolver's set was really bad, it got to a stage where you didn't notice it because you were used to it. The sound of the snickers stage was a little better but still echo's occurred sometimes. The sound quality was best on the napster stage, this was because it was a small tent and the sound is contained, pity the music on that stage wasn't as good as the quality of sound!Parking-
Parking was straight forward and the queue to get in the car park wasn't that big, even though the signs were a little confusing about where to park, but found the right place in the end! On the way there ,in Donnington, we drove past ticket touts (as usual) and several pubs, some of which are expensive (they must make a fortune on the festival weekend). The problem with parking lies in the exiting bit, it takes about a hour just to leave the car park, to get out quick you have to be an arrogant person and cut round the cars and jump to the front of the queue where some soft person will let you out!Food-
Food is available on site from those dodgy catering services and costs a bomb! I recommend bringing your own food or leaving the site and get some from the local Safeway to bring back to the site with you. Believe me it will taste much nicer, cost less and wont be left out all day.Drinks-
Things to do in between in the music-Other then sit there listening to download festival radio sponsored by Kerrang and watching the Dimebag tributes on the screen, there are lots of other thing you could have done. Official mech stalls were there costing a bomb, £40 for a hoody, what's the point when you can get the same thing copied outside from the touts for half of the price?!? The only thing I got from the official merch stall is a Slash wristband costing £4, but a least most of that went to charity. Like the previous two years the shops and stalls selling a variety or different products were there but they weren't as good as last years and cost much more. The snickers bowl turned up again with the best skaters and bmxers including BMX-champ Matt Hoffman, this wasn't really my kind of thing but I am sure lots of people enjoyed it as much as the music. All this, going to the toilet and eating managed to keep us out of the bottle fights in between songs for most of the time!
I went on the Saturday, which was labelled Ozzfest day and I had a GREAT time! I got there just as 'A' had finished, we heard there last song as we got out of the car! we got in after a bag search (they didn't search the bag they just felt it and asked my if I had any glass bottles!) we had 10 mins before Bowling For Soup came on, just enough time to take a look around the stalls. Shortly after a walk to the main stage Bowling For Soup came on and played a good set with some hilarious comedy in between songs, here are a few quotes-
"Don't go near Erik (bassist), he has herpes"!
"(An inflatable nemo flies into the roof of the main stage) OH NO, we lost Nemo!" and
"If you become so drunk you wee your pants then you have had on successful rock 'n' roll night! If you become so drunk that you wee your pants and your friend wee's your pants as well then you have had the best night of all"!
Those really made me laugh! Definitely one of the best support bands on that day.
Shortly after Alter Bridges set we went to the toilet and then saw the Anthrax reunion, well the first song anyway! They were introduced like so "For the first time in 18 years, Anthrax are returning to Donnington", our reply was- 18 Years, you thought they would have made time to practise?! Then we made our way to the Snickers Stage to see Bullet For My Valentine as they started on Hand Full Of Blood and one of my favourites 4 Words To Choke Upon, followed by a few new songs of their new album due out soon. After that I looked at the overprice official merch stall and bought a Slash Wristband. After the long trek back to the Main stage we sat down and ate our packed lunch whilst the awful Him were on stage. Their lead singer, Ville Valo (or whatever his name is), was scared of the many bottles thrown at him and he was definitely holding back on stage. after a bit we made another toilet trek and walked past the Kerrang Signing tent but nobody worth meeting was scheduled to be there, next to the Napster Stage to see a few songs by Breed 77 before Velvet Revolver, as Him were over-running on the other stage we had time to see most of Breed 77's set, with some excellent guitar throughout.Next it was back to the main stage for Velvet Revolver, other than Scott Weiland's chicken style dances and his skeleture frame their set was absolutely amazing and easily was the best thing that I had seen all day until that point. They performed excellent material including Fall To Pieces, Set Me Free, Slither, Sex Type Thing (Stone Temple Pilots cover), Mr Brownstone (Guns And Roses cover) and an okish Pink Floyd cover called Wish You Were Here. My favourite part of the show was when Scott Weiland (lead singer) came out into the audience and fortunately stood about 2 metres away from me! This together with Slashes guitar solos and great music left an experience that I'll never forget.
We then went further forward to witness the event everyone was looking forward to- Black Sabbath. Most of the 75,000 people were crammed into the main stage area to witness Ozzy Osbournes return to Donnington. Before Sabbath came on stage a bottle fight broke out and I got soaked :( but the throwing of bottles died down and came to a stop when Ozzy's voice start of a chant that could be heard all over Donnington. The chant went like so (pronounce the letters one at a time)- O A O A OA OA OA Ozzy Ozzy. Sabbath came on stage and the atmosphere was amazing. They played the following songs-
02. After Forever
03. War Pigs
04. Dirty Women
05. Fairies Wear Boots
06. Symptom of the Universe / Sweet Leaf / Electric Funeral
07. Iron Man
08. Into the Void
09. Black Sabbath
10. The Wizard
11. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath / Paranoid
12. Sleeping Village / Children of the Grave
Ozzy's last words were "Don't do anything I wouldn't do..(everyone laughs)..That means you can do ****ing anything!"
Black Sabbath were great!
I didn't miss much on the Friday as it was labelled 'indie day' and didn't look good really! The only bands I would of like to have seen were Billy Idol and Feeder perform 'Just A Day' and the anthem 'Buck Rogers'.
Friday day ticket £45
Saturday day ticket £50
Sunday day ticket £50
Weekend ticket £105
Weekend camping ticket £127.50
Parking £5 online £10 on the day
-What a rip off! In the end it is worth it though, you only live once!
It was dodgy and left out all day, and cost loads.
The only disappointments were the long treks from stage to stage and the endless bottle fights, apart from that everything was great and I had a great time.Thanks For Reading :)
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