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#237 Download Festival @ Castle Donington Donington Park (June 13th 2014)

Headliner: Avenged Sevenfold

Who I Saw: Dan Reed Network / Avenged Sevenfold / Within Temptation / Temperance Movement


Camping and in particular tents are certainly not everyone’s favourite thing…and after the sweat box in Kilkenny in 2013 for the Springsteen gigs I swore I would never set foot in one of the fuckers again. Yet here I was on Friday June 13th 2014 (Friday the 13th for fucks sake!) setting off with fellow idiot Mark, with what looked suspiciously like camping gear in the boot of the car. Yes in a moment of madness we had booked three day camping tickets back in December and here we were now six months later regretting it. It didn’t help that the distance between car park and camp site was not a short one. In fact we spent over four hours setting up camp which involved three 2 mile treks between car and the plot of land we eventually found. When I say plot what I really mean is patch. When I say land I mean nettles. When I say nettles I mean a jungle of nettles that we had to flatten down first...I have the scars to prove it. The sun was shining and as we set up the tent we both sweated our full body weights which didn’t help the already aching bodies.

Download Festival - Donington Park June 13th 2014

Our mood was none too good at this point especially as whilst walking back through the site we saw a lot of those marquee bloody things in amongst the tents. Why are they allowed? They take up the room of at least two tents. Now I am not blaming the people using them as they are sold on site. It just seemed a little unfair is all. If nothing else it was a lesson learned and we will arrive much earlier next time. The mood brightened immensely when Mark produced the surprise of two guest passes for the festival. What did these passes get you? What amazing thing did they bring? I tell you what they brought…access to lovely, clean (mostly), shiny porcelain toilets. Well worth the extra money…trust me.

Eventually we got to see some music.

Missing Tesla is something that just seems to keep on happening. I reckon this is the third time I have managed not to see them but alas being on so early on the Friday meant it wasn’t to be. Instead it was excellent new band the Temperance Movement who we got to see first. To be fair we were just so glad to sit down, have a beer and listen to some music that they could have been the worst band on the planet and we still would have liked them. These lads though have an old sound that is rather fantastic and Phil Campbell possesses one hell of a gravelly rock voice. They have been on heavy rotation in the days since. Highly recommended.I think it was whilst watching the lads that some poor young mite sat in a deck chair started to be heavily sick just behind Mark. Luckily he got out of the way just in time as the projectile vomit soon followed. Pretty impressive from the lad mid-afternoon on Day 1. He had a long few days ahead of him.

We moved on to the Main stage to see symphonic metal (thanks Wikipedia) band Within Temptation. I was now beginning to realise how behind on my rock music I was. Bands that everyone else knew I had no knowledge of and it was worrying that a very good live band who have been together for nearly two decades hadn’t appeared on my radar. It was around now that Mark’s bad back and my bad leg meant the aches and pains were really beginning to kick in now (a combination of getting older and general unfitness being the cause) and so back to the beer tent for us and a nice well earned sit down (we ain't that young anymore). 

Download Festival - Donington Park June 13th 2014

I had been looking forward to seeing Avenged Sevenfold as the Hail To The King album is a new rock classic however I have to admit that I remember little of their set. I am not a lover of drinking lots at gigs however festivals are a little different. The main cause of missing most of their set however was that I had eventually managed to meet up with long time Twitter pal Mr Scramble. I had talked to him on social media for years but never actually met...and chatting to someone like that for the first time in person was both an unusual and absorbing experience. Numerous trips to the beer tent and many rambling discussions on the state of rock music followed.

Giving up on Sevenfold just before their encore I dragged the two lads over to the Red Bull stage to see Dan Reed Network. They are a big band in my life as you never forget your first do you? They were in fact the very first band that I ever saw live. It was way back in December 1989 (24 and half years ago folks) that I saw them supporting Bon Jovi as a sixteen year old. It was nice to catch the last few songs of their set including Rainbow Child which brought back so many good memories.

Saying our goodbyes to Mr Scramble (who was going back to his nice hotel as 'camping is for scouts') we somehow managed to find our way back to the tent avoiding all the guy ropes on the way before finally collapsing into the Argos special. Actually it was quite a nice tent with a pod each and plenty of room (it was meant as a 6 man tent after all although it looked snug for 4 never mind 6) and we had no problem falling in to a drunken slumber even managing to block out the drunken talk from the lads in the tent next door. Onwards to Day 2...

Ticket: Ticket: June 13th 2014 / Wrist Band / Weekend Guest Wrist Band / Car Park Ticket Front / Car Park Ticket Back

Ticket Price: £185 Weekend Camping Ticket

Set Lists: