Just a short update after day one of the Download Festival.
First off, I have to say that this has got to be the most eventful and bizarre Festival experience i have had in my 18 years of festivals. Firstly the whole site was closed around lunchtime (when events should have been kicking off) due to dangerous conditions. Apparently the main stage drainage failed and site was swamped, the closure was to allow them to correct and clear the area.
Since it was torrential rain and the site was closed musicscramble decided to go to the pub in Derby for lunch; staying in a hotel in Derby as camping is for Scouts. This was a brilliant idea, and at 14:30 we headed off planning to be there in time for Terrorvision. Normally the Shuttle Bus takes no more than 40 minutes, today as we reached the back of a traffic queue our Bus broke down!
Deciding to walk rather than wait on a replacement bus it took just under an hour. It turns out the traffic queues became ridiculous and people were stuck in cars for 6 and 7 hours. When we arrived on site we had missed Terrorvision and Europe were due on. Europe shortly after were cancelled as they were stuck in the same traffic jam! Disappointed.
The first piece of live music I heard was around 5pm with Little Angels. In fairness they were really good. I’m not a huge fan, but I really enjoyed them. They played a greatest hits set and sounded tight and much on form. According to Toby Jepson, “We only just got here, climbed over streets strewn of cars, coaches and corpses.”
Next up for was Machine Head, who blew then main stage away. Suffering from poor sound due to high winds, they still managed to get the entire venue jumping and creating mosh pits. They finished with a blistering version of “Halo”. Truly brilliant.
After this we caught Voodoo Six, and Nightwish. Both were enjoyable but didn’t stand up to the brilliance of Machine Head, even with Nightwish’s heavy use of pyros throughout.
Headliner for me tonight was Slash and Myles Kennedy. Playing a very succinct set of just over an hour, pulling from his solo material and Guns N’Roses equally, Slash was on fire. “Sweet Child O’Mine” was exemplary, complete with the final guitar solo replaced by “God Save The Queen”. as was “Back From Cali”. However a special nod has to be made to “Rocket Queen” which was way over ten minutes long and sported an extended guitar solo in the middle. The sort of things, gig dreams are made of!
The night should have ended at this point, however Cancer Bats (who had been cancelled due to the earlier arena closure) had managed to get a set in the Red Bull Bedroom Stage at the end of the day. A lovely way to finish,watching a band who were desperate to play, sound-checked their own instruments and came on early. Starting with a cover of The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” we were treated to 40 minutes of top quality music and a full adrenaline-charged set. Definitely need to pick up their album.
So given the pissing rain, the four mile walk from our broken-down bus, the Somme-esque mud bath, site closure, and band cancellations you’d expect that this should have been a horrific day; a disaster if you will. However it wasn’t, I had an absolute ball!! Roll on tomorrow.
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