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Download Festival - Among the best 5 days of my life
Download Festival (Donington Park)
Member Name: aero-zeppelin
Download Festival (Donington Park)
Advantages: Friendly atmosphere, great music, experiences you'll remember for the rest of your life
Disadvantages: Expensive if you're not into the bands headlining, food and merchandise is over priced
Download 2010 was the first time I had attended at Donington Park, East Midlands. The headliners were AC/DC, Rage Against the Macine and Aerosmith so there was no reason not to go! I knew it would be good but I never thought it'd be as good as it was.
This year's tickets remain the same as last year at £180, which seems steep but for the bands I wanted to see it was value for money, and it's pretty much the going rate for music festivals this year. A lot cheaper than other well known festivals such as Glastonbury or Reading and Leeds festivals.
The first thing which blew my mind was the sheer scale of the festival site. There's plenty of space for people camping the whole weekend divided into several different areas, enough to accommodate 110,000+ people anyway! I was camped with some friends and I was overwhelmed by the friendliness of everyone all around you. I had no trouble at all and everyone is there to have a good time which is what makes it such a good festival. It's a family friendly festival provided children are accompanied by adults if any older metalhead want to take the family along! I'd been there 2 nights, the music hadn't even started but I was having the time of my life.
There is a large area of shops by the main entrance known as the village which contains food stalls, merchandise stalls, a funfair and various stalls selling lots of weird and wonderful things! This is open 24 hours a day the whole weekend though only a limited number of stalls are. There are burger vans located all over the camping sites which offer food 24 hours a day. The only downside is how expensive the food is, though you'd find this at any major festival you'd go to. A useful way round it is to bring your own food and grill and cook your own food at a fraction of the price! Oh and take a coolbox, it helps!
The music begins on a Friday in the main arena, which is absolutely huge and has similar stalls and shops to the village, just as expensive though. You are limited to what you can take into the arena but it's very relaxed and only disallows things that you should know not to take into such a place e.g. knives and alcohol. The arena is absolutely huge though, I asked one of the stewards on the way out on the Friday night and 200,000 people turned up to see AC/DC, with room to spare!
The main arena is comprised of a main stage, a second stage, and usually 3 or 4 other small stages dotted around the site to give play time to lesser known bands. The only disadvantage is that some acts you may want to see could overlap as bands can play on the main and second stage simultaneously making decisions difficult if you're stuck in between two of your favourite bands!
Any fan of rock music of any kind, I highly recommend attending Download festival if you ever get chance! Year in year out since its inception in 2003, the organisers at Download book bands from all genres and eras, and have ranged from anything from Iron Maiden and Metallica to The Prodigy and Pendulum to System of a Down and Rage Against the machine, there really is variety in that general genre of music. Now that I've been once I want to go every year, mainly just for the atmosphere as it's just such a surreal experience! I can't wait to go this year provided nothing clashes with the weekend it's due to be held!
Summary: Value for money if it's what you're after
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