Festival Diaries: Download 2017
For the large part of the year, it is a motorsport circuit used primarily for the MotoGP motorbike events. However, across the world, Donington Park is revered for a very different accolade. Regarded by many as the spiritual home of rock, hardcore and metal music, for decades it has played host to the UK’s largest annual alternative music festival, known to the old crowd as Monsters of Rock, but today going by the infamous title of Download Festival. Spread over five days, with four stages and a huge variety of bands large and small to choose from, Download is a bucket-list trip for rock and metal fans the world over, and this year, it was my turn to be inducted into the Download family for the very first time.
Over the years, Donington Park has played host to some of the titans of rock and metal, from the likes of Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath to Guns N Roses and The Foo Fighters, to name just a few. This year’s line-up however is set to be one of the best for years, with headline performances on the main Stage (aptly named the Lemmy Stage after the legendary Motorhead frontman) from System of a Down, Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro, as well as the final ever UK performance from Aerosmith, all the way down to the emergence of many new first-timers to the Download bill including goth punks Creeper, and rising pop punk stars Trash Boat and As It Is, to scene veterans Good Charlotte and Sum 41, and anarchic metalheads like Prophets of Rage and Slayer. Dipping my toes into just the tip of this incredible line up, I went along for the Saturday, and as well as seeing many amazing bands and creating some truly memorable pieces of rock history, sharing the day with many incredible friends, new and old, made it all the more special! It is true what they say, Download really is a family: and now, the family is coming home.