The Big One - Download Festival 2009

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Ali Ryland | 08 June 2009

What is it?

Fiercely devout metalheads would argue that Download is purely a weekend of frenzied heavy metal but this view proves controversial when the entire fray of Kerrang!-endorsed acts descend upon Castle Donington, from scene-screamo and symphonic metal to the dangerously-edging indie and… Lethal Bizzle. Unfortunately, this year hip hop is only present as diluted nu-metal, notably by new reformers Limp Bizkit, as the ode to the oldies commences. Whether the beer belly brandishing bands crawling out of the woodwork will tickle your fancy with their salt ‘n’ pepper facial hair may well depend on your generation…prepare for rock, metal and ear splitting noise.

When and where?

It’s all happening Friday 12 June, continuing until Sunday 14 June, over four stages at Castle Donington, Derby.

Who to watch

Def Leppard/Whitesnake – Main Stage, Sunday
If you’re looking to see a golden oldie playing 70s feel-good, AC/DC tinged ‘heavy metal’, you’ll have to see these two together. These English legends aren’t to be missed when shaking their chestnut locks on the main stage and screaming Spinal Tap-esque era lyrics about love. Deep stuff.

Killswitch Engage – Main Stage, Friday
Back and bellowing, the men who put the “core” in metalcore should rip up the stage with thrummelling guitar work and sneak previews of their new, self-titled album.

Marilyn Manson – Main Stage - Saturday
The only man who manages to whet our appetite while wetting our knickers is scarily reappearing. Watch out for his stage tricks and here’s to them being grosser and more controversial than ever.

One to miss

Bring Me The Horizon – 2nd Stage, Friday
Attracting skinny teens for the primary reason that they get to kick the sh*t out of innocent and non-innocent bystanders while wearing glorified emo attire is a bigger turn-off than their unintelligible, retching screams.

Playing a rare festival date

Faith No More – Main Stage, Friday
Feel the funk-metal of Faith No More as their first festival in 10 years will no doubt be an adrenaline-fuelled takeover. Catch them fresh and lively before the world tour swallows them up. It will be ‘Epic’.

Inside Tip

Fei Comodo – Red Bull Stage - Sunday
While their name may be an awkward combination of a musical term and an ex-girlfriend’s name, the Essex lads are hardcore with a mushy centre; their catchy choruses combined with forceful screams deserve a listen.

Dissolved In – Red Bull Stage - Friday
A bit pop-rock for Download? Never! Don’t be put off by their pretty boy, angelic faces as the Reading 4-piece’s bark is softer than their bite; they could easily beat You Me At Six at arm-wrestling…

Be at Download if you like…

Sweaty, hairy men gesturing devil horns. Other than that there’s the throttlingly heavy music, fairground rides, gothic shops and that old late night chestnut - the Duracell tent. There are even fairly decent toilets; portaloos in the arena and camping area- fancy!

Avoid if you hate…

Walking. While hopefully there won’t be a 30-minute slog between the arena and the campsite this time, there’s no doubt that a weekend at Download will cause you to lose a few pounds. The unaffordable, overpriced festival food we know and love also contribute to making festival fans fitter, if hungrier. Still, at least the paving will prevent any Glastonbury-esque mud disasters.

Festival Tactics

Instead of sleeping, go straight from the party action to the arena, grab a railing, and snooze until Slipknot come on. If that’s not your cup of tea, practice your manoeuvring skills by weaving in and out of the crowd until reaching the front. Especially look for lovey-dovey couples that are easy to push in front of and leave your mates behind - they’ll only slow you down.

Fashionista or folky?

Any naïve festival virgin that turns up looking like Paris Hilton will soon find themselves caked in sweat, dirt and looking bloody awful. Download especially is fashionably unfashionable, known for its old jeans, black t shirts, and the trademark tats.

Alcohol of choice

Jagermeiste r- the Jager tent is always ready and waiting, a typical hard, strong drink to complement the fans. With this year’s sponsor Red Bull it appears you’ll have to settle for a boring Jager bomb, instead of the more masculine Jagermonsters of last year.
Take your mum score - 3/10

Unless your mum’s a hard-edged dreadlocked tattooist with a penchant for the heavy (they do exist, I’ve seen one) mums are better left at home, away from the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

Can I still get a ticket?

While all weekend camping tickets are sold out, there are still a few weekend arena tickets (£135) and day tickets (£65 each) available. Click here to buy Download tickets.

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