Download Festival 2012

Monday 11th June 2012
Donington Park, Leicestershire

8th – 10th June 2012 sees Download Festival in to its 10th year, and over 100,000 fans came to share it with them. With the rain looking to be the only thing opening up at Donington on Friday, the arena opened 2 hours later than planned. This resulted in Rise To Remain and Cancer Bats having to forfeit their slots on the main stage. Europe ended up having to cancel their set too, which was due to bad traffic. With stage times being moved around, Fear Factory was the first band to open up Download. It was later announced that Cancer Bats would play their set around 10:20pm on the Red Bull stage.

Friday turned out to be a mixed day, as those who had been there since Wednesday were desperate to hear some music, those who had been travelling/queuing all morning were desperate to get in to the site, and those who had arrived in Converse were desperate to find some wellies. With the change to some set times, it was already proving difficult to decide which stage to head to. Axewound were rescheduled, which clashed with Slash and Myles Kennedy; two bands that were bound to be at the top of everyone’s list, that didn’t fancy an evening of electronic dance music. Those who opted for The Prodigy got themselves a right treat, as they pushed out those classics as well as debuting their new track “Jetfighter”.

Aside from weekend tickets, Saturday was the only individual day to sell out. The weather held out, the mud had flattened, and the fans arrived in their masses. Loosing count of how many Metallica t-shirts there were to be seen, it was clear that a lot of people were there for some Hetfield action. With a massive line up, every single stage got thrashed that day. With Trivium announcing a tour for October, they took to Download for the fourth time. The band played a killer set, proving they have more and more to give.

Spandex, long blonde wigs and boobs were everywhere. This could only mean one thing – Steel Panther. They opened up their set with “Super Sonic Sex Machine” and continued their set in true Panther style. Which, of course, included lots of rude and silly stuff, to put it politely. The biggest surprise of all happened at the end, when they pulled Corey Taylor on stage with them to perform “Death To All But Metal”.

Meanwhile, on the Zippo Encore stage, Theory Of A Deadman opened to the same thing they open every show to; “Blame Canada” from South Park. Kids In Glass Houses, as much love there is for them, sounded like cotton wool to the ears. Then to top it off, Skindred churned out a sample of Beyonce – Single Ladies.

Tenacious D pulled in a massive crowd, and for the following hour you feel as though you’re in a Jack and Kyle movie. Standing in front of what looks like giant genitalia, but is actually a bird on fire, the crowd sing along to every single word from every single song. Love them or hate them, Download welcomed them with all fists to the sky. Metal, it comes from hell.

Scotland has had some of the best bands roll out of it, and Biffy Clyro are no exception. Being the penultimate band on the Jim Marshall stage, they brought the noise and they brought the sun. Playing hit after hit, Simon Neil barely spoke between songs, except to tell us that they never ever imagined playing on the same stage, and on the same night as Metallica. The band also aired two new tracks for us, which are hoped to be on the next album, and “Captain” brought their set to an energetic close.

Whenever you head to see your favourite artist play a gig, you always wonder and hope about the tracks they’ll perform. With Metallica it would be no surprise, as they played their Black Album in its entirety, in reverse order. If the last 31 years have taught you anything, it would probably be that no rock and roll lifestyle would be complete without Metallica in it. But fear not if that piece is still missing for you, because there is a new album in the pipeline. The whole set went down an absolute storm. What an amazing end to what was a fantastic Saturday at Download.

There is no such thing as a day of rest on a Sunday at Download, especially if Devildriver have anything to do with it at 11:50am. Feed The Rhino, Black Spiders, and Stellar Revival, to name a few, feed you nothing but heavy thrash metal for breakfast, and there are plenty who are out for seconds. With that said, when Kyuss Lives! turn out on the main stage; they perform a slightly less chaotic set, which was perfect for those still trying to cure themselves from a hangover. Whether that is of the metal or beer kind.

Soundgarden were at the top of a lot of people’s list, as it’s been 15 years since Chris Cornell and the band have played in the UK. Playing 14 tracks in total, they kicked open with “Spoonman” and finished on “Beyond The Wheel”. Amongst fans, it seems there was a mixed opinion of the bands set. Where most enjoyed and appreciated every moment of it, there were others who had hoped for a little more.

Black Sabbath was the band to bring Download to one of its biggest finishes. It was the night that 100,000 people came to a standstill; the night that happened for the first time in 33 years. The whole stage was covered over, but that didn’t stop Ozzy from shouting to the crowd from behind the curtains, before appearing on the stage shouting “I can’t F’ing hear you Donington”. Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, then joined him, alongside Tommy Clufetos who was drumming for the band. All day people had been wondering which track they would open on, and it turn out to be no other than the self titled track “Black Sabbath”. The performance was overwhelming for those who had seen Sabbath many moons ago, but also for those who had grew up idolising the band, and were seeing them for the first time. “War Pigs”, “Iron Man”, and “Fairies Wear Boots” were just a sprinkling of the hits played, with the night being played out on “Paranoid”.

For those already hungry for Download 2013, early bird tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 15th June. It has been reported via @downloadfest on Twitter that one headliner has already been confirmed. All information is available via the website