The Big Two: Download Festival 2010

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Ben Parkinson | 04 June 2010

What is it?
Download Festival 2010 will be 110,000 people descending on one of the most famous festival grounds in the country for three days to celebrate 30 years of metal at Donington.

Where and when?

It will take place in the iconic Donington Park, Castle Donington from 11-13 June.  Those with early entry passes will be treated to live comedy as well as a screening of Terry Gilliam’s classic ‘Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas’ as well as ‘Anvil! The Story of Anvil’.

Five to watch:

- Friday (Main Stage)
Australia’s finest export will be marking the 19th anniversary of their explosive Monsters Of Rock performance, made immortal as both an album and video entitled Live at Donington. This week it was revealed that AC/DC will be bringing their own main stage including cannons, a train and of course the lovely inflatable miss Rosie.

Rage Against The Machine - Saturday (Main Stage)
For some time it looked like we might never see Rage Against The Machine again, with Zack De La Rocha having left while the remaining members went on to pastures new with Chris Cornell as Audioslave. So here’s a sentence I never imagined saying: Rage Against The Machine are coming to Download on the back of their Christmas number one, ‘Killing in the Name’.

Aerosmith – Sunday (Main Stage)
As the light faded on 2009 the mouth of Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, looked to have finished with his rock brethren after a serious injury incurred falling off stage and subsequent rehabilitation for an addiction to pain killers. With their back catalogue of rock classics, there is no better way to round off the weekend than with a ‘Love in an Elevator’ chorus.

– Sunday (Main Stage)
Known as the loudest band on the planet, this incendiary metal three-piece are believed by some to have single-handedly paved the way for thrash metal and hardcore punk. They are also Donington Veterans having played at Monsters of Rock ’86 as well as Download ’05 and ’08.

– Saturday (Main Stage)
With frontman Dave Mustaine, once the alter-ego of Metallica, now firmly converted to Christianity he may have toned down his notorious lifestyle and tendency to cut down his metal peers with well placed one liners, but on stage it they will still be a Symphony of Destruction.

One to miss

Bullet For My Valentine
– Friday (The Ronnie James Dio Stage)
The proverbial elephant in the room, Bullet For My Valentine represent the stagnation and image driven commercial takeover of metal in the new millennium. It would be unfair to say people haven’t enjoyed their performances at Download in the past, but with two classic headliners and a whole day dedicated to the 80s it feels like the festival is going back to its roots this year and sadly Bullet For My Valentine just don’t seem to fit.

Playing a rare UK festival date

– Sunday (Main Stage)
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the mighty Aerosmith at any UK festival and with the price of their concert tickets these days being more than half the price of a Download ticket it makes the whole weekend value for money.

Inside tip:

Lawnmower Deth
– Friday (Pepsi Max Stage) and Suicidal Tendencies – Sunday (Pepsi Max Stage)
For comedy value it would have to be the tongue in cheek thrash metal band Lawnmower Deth. Or for those of the right age to remember the Tony Hawks Pro Skater video games there is generation-X punks Suicidal Tendencies.

Worst clash:

Them Crooked Vultures
Vs Coheed and Cambria
Both acts on Friday afternoon (Main Stage and The Ronnie James Dio Stage), it’s either the three legends John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme or the force of prog-metal that is Coheed and Cambria.

Be at Download if…

You are a massive fan of classic rock or the 80s and are up for an Apocalypse Now style mission with extra moshing.

Avoid if...

You’re not into your partying and adolescent-style hi-jinks, this event is not for you. Also it’s the country’s second largest festival so expect unremitting crowds.

Festival tactics:

Don’t expect to sleep much and bring plenty of hangover remedy.  If you want to get close to the main stage for one of the headliners you will have to think about leaving whatever stage you’re at early as there might be 100,000 people with the same idea.

The only festival that’s…

Recognisable from such videos as AC/DC’s Live At Donington and Guns N’ Roses’ Paradise City, Download is the only festival with the iconic Donington backdrop.

Fashionista or folky?

Even though metal is not usually known for its image consciousness, Download definitely falls into the more fashionista end of the spectrum in comparison to other metal festivals such as Bloodstock.  

Alcohol of choice:

At a metal festival it can only be Jägermeister and with energy drink company Relentless involved it looks like Jäger Bombs all round.

Take your mum score – 1/10

Some of the AC/DC fans may resemble your mum on a bad morning, but the constant noise and lairy antics might be a bit too much for mother dearest.  

Can I still get tickets?

Tickets are still available from the Download website at £180 for five nights plus camping.

Click here to buy Download tickets.

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