It’s that Paganistic time of year when 120,000 tattooed, long-haired, skinny jeanists come to worship upon the sacred fields of north west Leicestershire. Roll ups? Check. Leather boots? Check. The ability to lose one’s mind/wallet/friends? Check.
This weekend, Download festival is serenading Donington Park.
Rock’s General Synod first hooked up for Monsters of Rock in summer 1980. Since then, by process of osmosis, Donington has become the Spiritual Home of Rock Music.
To my brothers and sisters this means lovely river-valleyed Leicestershire – with its oldest rocks in the world (Charnwood Forest), and the oldest rock monster (Charnia Masoni) also boasts the planet’s most cherished rock festival. Rock to the power of three. And we all know what three is, don’t we? (De La Soul et al 1990)
Over the years at Download I’ve wibbled away to three Swedes from Hederfors on their ninth day of a drinking bender (First pic – Anna, Lotta and Linda), had my head battered by the whiplash time changes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, witnessed a Viking longboat (Amon Amarth) as a stage prop and had my soul lifted by a succession of howling Gibsons/Gretschs/Fenders.
There have also been some really awful smells. Damn you Tuborg.
I could go into the gigs but that would take a long time, but here’s a few…Dinosaur Junior (2005), Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Billy Idol (2005), Steel Panther, Aerosmith (2014), Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden, AC/DC, Guns ‘n’ Roses (2006) …
Why Download over other festivals? It’s a festival for people who are into the music. Any old wanksock goes to Reading/Leeds, Glastonbury these days. Music is trendy. Festivals are trendy. People light on soul are feckless.
Donington attracts an international crowd of men, women and children who generally have a collection of band t-shirts. Most people who really like music, know, that where possible, music should be experienced live. Although over the years the increase in chatty bastards and nobs who take selfies (While the band are on, you dicks) have been on the rise.
Moments in life are not made by what you have or own, but what you experience. Don’t experience through a phone camera/video. Experience it with your eyes and your ears directly. No barriers. Be in that moment, have your soul yanked skywards. Let go.
It helps to remember that you, what you’re wearing, how young/sexy/attractive you are is insignificant. The music and the musicians are what count. Not you, pouting into your iPhone. You daft twat.
And, let me tell you, Download is all about the experience. I didn’t think I’ll ever get higher than that time with five 60-something men from Boston. But I did and I loved it. Aerosmith, thank you.
I could blather on but in the meantime…
This is how it was at Donington in 1980. Fish and chips, warm beer and a bonfire. With lashings of hot rock. Effing awesome.
Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains, who were just excellent in 2013.