Download music festival 2017
Kevin Gaughan reports
by Kevin Gaughan
So, that’s another Download done. The big gig in the field was a few days ago but I’m still sleep-deprived, with achy limbs and ears ringing – although, that’ll be more tinnitus than the gig. Still wearing my Download 2017 wrist band as I hold in to those happy memories of the people I met and the bands we shared.
Being a Download/Monsters of Rock veteran, each time I go, it always ends up being a special weekend, and last weekend was no different. For me, discovering new bands and chatting to complete strangers about rock music related stuff over a beer in a field is what nails it.
This year, the first thing I noticed was the size of the arena, it was a little smaller than usual and the crowds weren’t as plentiful, which, from a punters point of view was a good thing and made it a lot easier to get around. According to unconfirmed sources, 80,000 tickets were sold this year, whereas it is usually 90,000 plus. Perhaps this might have something to do with people being reluctant to go because of the Manchester bombings a few weeks earlier. It was good to see extra security checks but there were no signs of armed police, which is now becoming the norm.
I seemed to come across generally less hard-core bands than usual. Most of them were American commercial rock with a good spattering of young English rock bands as well as a couple of peculiarities thrown in to surprise. Preferring the lesser-known bands, I spent most of my weekend in the smaller stages-the Dogtooth stage, with it’s very impressive, crowd facing bright lighting rig at the back of the stage.
The Avalanche stage also had a great atmosphere, with it’s larger capacity Marquee, but still a great atmosphere. I did see some bands on the two main stages as well, but during the day, the atmosphere didn’t quite cut it, as the lighting had less impact.
Highlights? I liked the electro-rock She Must Burn on the back-lit Dogtooth stage on Friday, Lost Society, also on the Dogtooth stage, as well as A Day to Remember on the Lemmy Stage (main stage), Airbourne and Aerosmith, all on the Lemmy stage.
Lowlights? – I didn’t really get the medley of the Lounge Kittens, my tent being under the nearby East Midlands airport flight path was less than ideal and this tasted as bad as it looks –
The atmosphere, however, was just special – everybody was so friendly, just happy to be there and get on with each other – a tonic for the soul.
Overall – as always, a spectacularly well organised event with a very friendly atmosphere – both staff and fans all getting along and cracking a joke together. A very special event for special times.