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Download aiming to 'out-rock' Reading!

17 February 2005

Download’s festival director Stuart Galbraith says he's gunning to steal Reading's crown as the best rock festival in the UK... And he reckons it's the festival's online community that'll help him nail it!

Please click on a photo to enlarge it...

Galbraith outlined his blueprint at the recent launch of Download 2005, after being presented the UK Festival Award 2004 for ‘Best Themed Festival’. 

He told VF: “Our aim is to make Download the best rock festival in the UK – full stop. Better than Reading, better than V, better than T In The Park. We want to be right up there. This is only our third year now and we’re making real progress.”

Download 2005 takes place from 10-12 June at Donington Park, with Ozzfest occupying the Saturday and Black Sabbath headlining. System Of A Down and Feeder head up the other two days.

For Galbraith, the decision to incoprorate Ozzfest into the Download weekend was a very simple one. He explained: "The whole thing with Ozzy and Sharon and Ozzfest was such an obvious route to take. We'd been talking about putting on an Ozzfest for a while and it only took one conversation to combine the two into something bigger and better, instead of having two festivals. Words almost belie our expectations for this year - a three day festival in the spiritual home of rock. It can't be better."

Expanding the festival into a three day event is seen as the first step towards making ground on the more established rock festivals. Controversially, organisers have taken a bold decision in attempting to broaden the festival's musical scope by adding a more mainstream rock day on the Friday - this year to be headlined by Feeder

The band's singer Grant Nicholls said he wasn't daunted at the prospect of playing in front of metal fans, but added: "We obviously won't really be relying on our mellower moments, but at the same time we want to play songs from our new album. We've always been a rock band with a mixture of mellow songs and heavy songs. That's just what we do."

However, there has been a vehement backlash from some Download fans, who've accused organisers of 'selling out' by adding what's now become termed the 'indie day'. When we asked Galbraith whether it was a risk, he replied: “Keep watching. It won’t necessarily stay indie for much longer. We’ve got some very exciting plans. We can't please all of the people all of the time but so long as they keep corresponding with us then we can move forward together.”  

And the man responsible for bookings the artists for the festival, Andy Copping, added: "There's a long way to go in terms of booking acts. We really want people to keep sending in their comments, not only the bands they want, but also what they expect at the festival. They're going to be there for three days, probably longer, so we really want their ideas to give them what they want. We want them involved in what we're doing and we really do listen." 

CLICK HERE to access the Download Forum and have your say!

The pair also promised to further step up efforts to involve Download punters in the festival, revealing that several new interactive services will be announced in the coming weeks - including some groundbreaking mobile phone innovations.

Copping said: "We've found that since we started Download, more and more people have become involved with the festival in terms of contributing ideas through our interactive community. It's great and we want to take it as far as we can."

Another man who seemed keen on taking things as far as possible was a reinvigorated Billy Idol, who is booked to play on the Friday. After posing for photographers rubbing his naked torso, he told VF: "I can't wait to play Download. It's going to be hot! I've been to loads of festivals. I think the best one was the sex festival, but hopefully this one will be pretty sexy too!"

Download 2005 takes place at Donington Park, Derbyshire, between 10-12 June. Slayer Slipknot, Garbage, HIM, and Velvet Revolver are the other acts so far confirmed to play. CLICK HERE for the full line-up, info and tickets.

- Click here to discuss this on the Festival Forums!
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