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Download Festival

By Tom Patrick

Posted: 21st May 2013 16:38

This year’s Download Festival features legends of rock such as Iron Maiden, Rammstein and Slipknot. Three famously loud bands, but you shouldn’t expect anything less from Britain’s biggest rock music festival. The organisers have added a whopping 49 more bands to the line up for 2013, attempting to fit more into what already promises to be a manic weekend of music. Bands from America, Japan and Germany, among others, will converge on Donington Park from the 14th to the 16th of June. It will bring together bands who have been together for decades, bands who have been around for longer than a large percentage of the crowd. Iron Maiden for example, formed in 1975, whereas the festival is most popular with 18-30 year olds. Also in attendance will be bands that have formed in the last few years. The festival is a mix of generations in terms of the fans as well, from young rock fans in their preteens to veterans who would’ve been around to see Jimi Hendrix play live.

Download encompasses several different rock genres, and over the years they’ve had bands showcasing Gypsy Punk, Indie, Grunge, Nu Metal, Rap, Hip-Hop, Shock-Rock, Power Metal and Speed Metal. The first Download Festival took place in 2003 and since then it has changed relatively little, the main differences being that it is now a three day event, and many more acts are now booked.

The name Download comes from the idea of downloading music being an illegal and unsavoury pastime, and this was thought to a suitable name for a festival of music about rebellion and anti-mainstream movements. These ideals have been a little diluted in recent years, with organisers signing deals with sponsors to name stages after products such as Pepsi, Red Bull and Tuborg. As the popularity of the festival grew, so did the need to police it, and now over 70,000 people make their way to Leicestershire every year, so in order to keep things under control the local police are out in force. The revenue generated from the licensing of stage names helps to cover some of this cost.

In the past Download has courted controversy due to their handling of disturbances, with fires being started and bottles being thrown at bands. The heavier police presence this year is to help ensure that these kinds of incidents don’t happen again.

With a reputation for supplying loud, heavy acts, the festival organisers do their best to attract the most famous rock acts in the world, such as Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. This brings with it the probability of some hardcore fan participation through moshing and circle pits. If you are tough enough, then get ready to battle your way through a pit and wear any potential injuries that come your way as a badge of honour. The most serious injury of recent times happened when comedian Rob Slayer broke his neck while crowd surfing a in wheelie bin. The comedy stage at Download offers change of pace and atmosphere to anyone wanting to watch some up-and-coming comedians and give their eardrums a break.

Download promises to be the biggest rock festival in the country every year, and for every year for the last 10 it has delivered. It will be loud, and next year expect it to get louder.

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