Metallica Rock Download!

Contrary to official denials, rock giants Metallica joined Marylin Manson, Iron Miaden, Audioslave, Zwan and NOFX to send the first ever Download Festival into the history books.

Marylin Manson, ‘Maiden, and the mighty Metallica stamped Download‘s mark on the UK Festival scene with performances to match the baking weather and blissful atmosphere. Thunderstorms turned on us during the final sets from Zwan and Audioslave, but by then, having seen Metallica and got our first doses of sun-tan we were in no mood to care!

The weeks of speculation about whether Metallica would play ended at 3:15pm on Sunday as the rock giants took the stage under the blue canvas of the Scuzz Tent, the smaller of the two stages that hosted the festival’s weekend performances…

[l-zone3]It was obvious that word had already begun to spread, because the numbers that were beginning to pack into the tent even before the soundcheck started were considerably more than would have been expected at that time in the afternoon. As the drum kit was put through its paces, its rhythms were picked up by the expectant fans, as they chanted the band’s name progressively louder. Despite this however, it was clear that tens of thousands of rock fans who were at the main stage for Evanescence were blissfully unaware of the spectacle they were missing just down the hill. Indeed, VF took great glee in informing those fans at the front of the Main Stage crowd later on in the evening!

[r-zone4]Virtual Festivals was one of few publications granted access for photography, and we were the first publication to publish news and photos of the event, with pictures on the web by the fifth song of a set that was scheduled to last for 45 minutes, but ended up lasting for more like an hour and a quarter. The crowd kept demanding more and the band were more than happy to oblige. The set included classics like ‘Sanitarium‘ and ‘Master Of Puppets’ alongside several tracks from new LP ‘St Anger’ which is released this Friday (5th June).

Highlights from Saturday included a stunning clutch of new tracks from Deftones’ self-titled new album; as well as Maiden showing us all that age has no constraints in rock n metal!

Despite immense over-crowing in the campsite – (something which the organisers will definitely have to work on); the festival was perfectly run, showing none of the organisational problems which marred Ozzfest last year. Set in the rolling grounds of Donington Park, overlooking both the race-track and the castle; the glorious weather was matched only by the volume of the music!

Download boasted a truly ecclectic crowd, including all your favrouite stereotypical rock animals (goths, nu-metallers, punks, skate kids, old-rockers) as well as a bunch of liggers partying backstage in the wonderful Scuzz Hut, which fed us and many other on suptuous hog roast and an assortment of bevvies. Full marks to Scuzz – who have recently launched their new music TV channel on Sky Digital – for helping make the innaugral Download a sterling success. Visit SCUZZ.TV for more info.

For a full review of Metallica  everyone else, a complete photo gallery, as well as interviews with some of the stunned fans after the performance then check out the rest of our Download coverage in the Reviews section as it is posted up over the next day or so.