Download 2013

author IM date 26/06/13

As you will know if you keep up with line-up updates from various European festivals, UK events like Download and Reading festival almost always have line-ups that make most of the mainland's options pale in comparison. It's the reason we here at have been eyeing them annually, always wishing to muster up the resources to cover both those and our own Roskilde Festival, yet never managing it.

This year however, things were different, with our new Junior writer Immy located firmly in England and intending to keep a personal tradition alive by travelling to Download, we had a reporter for it! What we sadly didn't have, was accreditation for her or a photographer, so instead we agreed to send her in to enjoy the festival as a normal guest, and to write you guys a shorter mini-feature with just her essential impressions.

The result is what follows: A compressed festival article in which grades have been assigned to days rather than individual shows. It's a quick read and that's on purpose, because we've got some eye-straining amounts of coverage from Hellfest that we intend to drop on you in just a few days. In the meantime however, and without further ado, I pass the word over to IM. // TL

It wouldn’t be Download without torrential rain, sunstroke and 90,000 metallers trampling across a muddy field in Castle Donnington. A three-day extravaganza of rock and metal, both old and new, Download 2013 didn’t fail to disappoint.

Friday 14 June

Nu-metal fans were overjoyed to see Papa Roach on the main stage, playing through their hits, whilst fans of speed relished Dragonforce’s ever-consistent performance. One of the highlights of the day was undoubtedly Down, on the main stage, with Phil Anselmo’s vigorous and lively performance meaning Down excelled their incredible standards. The crowds enjoyed renditions of many of the most popular hits from "NOLA", stand-out tracks including "Bury Me in Smoke" and without a doubt, "Stone the Crow". In addition, "Ghosts Along the Mississippi" provoked a huge surge through the entirety of the seething moshpit.

A throwback to 90s and early 2000s nu-metal, Korn on the main stage attracted a large crowd, with "Freak On a Leash" causing such vigorous moshing there were many sightings of those with blood pouring from their faces fleeing from the moshpit. Three Doors Down on the second stage played a consistently polished set, to a surprisingly large crowd. "Kryptonite" was undoubtedly the best of their performances. It would perhaps come as a surprise to some that such a large proportion of the crowds would flock to see what is often considered pop-rock, however, this was the evident preference to Bullet For My Valentine, on the main stage. Gogol Bordello provided a most apt party atmosphere, prompting comedy dancing all around.

However the headliner, Slipknot, were epic as always. For nearly two hours the crowds watched enthralled. Slipknot are no stranger to headlining Download, but their 2013 performance was exceptional, even by their high standards. Some of the best tracks included "Wait and Bleed" and "Dead Memories". The atmosphere was without question electric and an epic end to the evening. [8]

Saturday 15 June

Replacing Buckcherry, who had pulled out of the lineup, Black Star Riders attracted a surprisingly large crowd but the Saturday’s highlight was, without doubt, Queens of the Stone Age. As Josh Homme’s voice rang out across the entire field, the crowds watched "Go With the Flow", awestruck. New single, from "Like Clockwork", "My God is the Sun" was an apt choice, as at that very moment the blazing sun cast a warm early evening glow across the entire arena.

However, the audience emanated an electric anticipation, whilst awaiting the day’s headliner, Iron Maiden. Undoubtedly excellent showmen by all accounts, Maiden didn’t fail to impress. In true patriotic fashion, a Spitfire flew across the sky moments before the show started. With huge screens depicting Icebergs, Maiden emerged from the clouds of blue smoke in style. Whilst opinions may differ as to the strength of Maiden’s performance, in comparison with previous occasions, the set was of an incredibly high standard. The crowd’s reactions were most heightened throughout "The Number of The Beast" and "Fear of The Dark". Like Slipknot, 'Maiden are no strangers to Donnington and this year’s performance was a true celebration of Maiden England in every way. [7]

Sunday 16 June

Increasingly acclaimed Sacred Mother Tongue opened the main stage on the final day, to a responsive crowd, followed by the incredibly popular Cancer Bats. On the second stage, Ghost, whose popularity has grown rapidly in recent times put on an excellent show. Airbourne attracted a surprisingly large crowd, with an exceptionally vigorous performance. Unsurprisingly, "Runnin’ Wild" prompted a positive reaction, as it is often considered their best track to date. The Gaslight Anthem provided a watchable performance, however Thirty Seconds to Mars put on an undoubtedly incredible show. With an exceptional level of energy and strong vocals, the penultimate act played through popular tracks such as "This is War" and "Kings and Queens", for which they invited members of the audience on stage. Some could not even contain their excitement and literally burst into tears during this novel opportunity.

Rammstein are frequently described as incredible live. In fact, this is quite an understatement. Closing the festival, Rammstein provided two hours of the most incredible entertainment most have ever seen. The ultimate finale to the weekend, Rammstein wowed the audience with an electric, breathtaking spectacle of fireworks, flames and insanity. "Ich Will" and "Du Hast" resonated around the darkened field with an anthem like quality, whilst "Buck Dich" was an exhibition of controversy and energy in itself. With 20 foot flames, microphone stands on fire during the performance and gigantic grimy fans causing the grey lights to flicker, Rammstein’s performance was a definitive celebration of industrial metal. A most apt choice for a closing act, it was easily Rammstein alone who took the entire Download 2013 experience from incredible to unforgettable. [10]

A weekend of outstanding performances, high spirits, punch ups and incredible headliners, the only question now is “who will headline Download 2014”? // IM

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