Download Festival 2014 - Day One round-up

All the action from day one at Donington

Download Festival 2014 - Day One round-up

Photographer: Michael CoxAnna Hyams, Ali Ryland on 14 June 2014

It's official; everyone's complaining about the weather. Fans and artists suffer through sweltering heat as Download gets off to a sunny start with hardened hardcore from Miss May I (7) and the technical stylings of Crossfaith (8). Queues at the arena entrance began at 10am, with the most tenacious standing outside for a full two hours before the anxious crowd could rush in and refill water bottles. Luckily, the entrance is this year decked out colourfully with a junkyard theme, the large scaffolding encapsulating old guitars and drum kits- and, oddly, features a sweaty lucha libre clambering upon it for the entertainment of queue.

While Powerman5000 (8) are suitably rock star with blonde spiky hair and impeccable showmanship, they cannot help but be upstaged by Skindred (9). Having allegedly wagged off Sunday headliners Aerosmith, the ragga-metal maniacs have good cause to be cocky; they are showier, funnier and better than ever. Capitalising on their explosive energy that can bring a field full of sunbaked and booze addled catnappers to their feet with one chord, Skindred's introduction of 'Heavy metal's first ever Harlem Shake'- with some dubious attempts at twerking- follows seamlessly on to the epic 'Warning'. Instructing the crowd to "Take your tops off", the Newport Helicopter sees a sea of swirling t-shirts and bras take to the air. Webbe is joined in vocals by Crossfaith's frontman Koie Kenta for a rowdy finale, screaming "Download we love you".

A raw and powerful southern rock sound puts The Temperance Movement (8) firmly in the same camp as Sunday headliner Aerosmith, with bluesy vocals and ear piercing shrieks James Brown would be proud of. It might not be a massive crowd to play to over on the Zippo Encore stage, but they do a sterling job of it. Black Label Society (8) please the crowd with less posturing and more rockin', while Within Temptation (7) follow up with a slightly lacklustre set. Despite soaring vocals and old favourites such as 'Ice Queen' and 'Stand My Ground', the symphonic metallers lack the will to captivate everyone. At least the cooler evening has brought respite, as sunburned individuals can jig frenziedly to Flogging Molly (8) without breaking much of a sweat. The Irish-American folk legends have some sound issues, but it's nothing 'Drunken Lullabies' cannot soothe.

While the first day has been a rather drowsy and hayfever-filled affair for many, Rob Zombie (9) manages to turn the zombified crowd into a screaming mass of parts. Despite today's fancy dress theme- “Zombies!”- only inspiring a half-arsed few costumes, the night is shaping out to be an event that everyone will put their heart and soul into.

Click here for our Avenged Sevenfold headline set review.

What else we've heard...

- Festival punters on Thursday evening gave their eardrums a shock as the world's biggest plane thundered over, to land at East Midlands Airport.

- Hell or Highwater are to play a secretive set at 4.25pm Sunday on the Pepsi Max Stage.

- The World Cup, England vs Italy, is being screened tomorrow on the Zippo Encore Stage at 11pm, after Status Quo finish at 10.


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