Everyone loves a weekend away don’t they, well I am fortunate enough to have my amazing friend Dale who decided to treat me to a weekend away and tickets to Download Festival last Saturday; it was just what I needed!
I must confess, I am not massively into rock or heavy metal, but Dale and I do share a deep love for Guns n’ Roses. Hearing their music always takes me back to those carefree days of of our youth, and their album ‘Appetite for Destruction’ always brings a smile to my face. Guns n’ Roses were headlining on the Saturday evening so we thought we would leave on the Friday and get a head start on the weekend. Not a great start; camper van issues within the first five miles meant we had to limp back home and change cars. Undeterred, we got into my car and drove the two and a half hours to Derby.
I came prepared, and two glasses from my bottle of Porta 6 later I fell asleep, okay, maybe I did have that third glass 🙂 I woke up to what felt like my first lay-in for ages… lush!
After a lazy morning we arrived at Download at 12 noon. We decided to get the shuttle bus to Donnington Park (it seemed like a good idea at the time, but the lengthy queues for the bus on the way back proved otherwise!).
On the way to the arena we sat at the top of the bus people-watching. There were so many lively and inebriated characters adorned with metal and leather. Alongside others wearing fluorescent colours and showcasing costumes ranging from hardcore bondage to princess unicorns. I felt rather under dressed in my skinny black jeans and obligatory Guns n’ Roses t-shirt.
After a lengthy walk from the bus drop off point at Donnington Park we entered the arena. The site was absolutely huge, and campsites in the distance surrounded us on most sides, fairground rides were situated to the right of the main stage. There were another six stages in the arena all show-casing different artists from rock and punk music to wrestling. When it came to food we were spoilt for choice as the selection was vast. We eventually settled on Thai Green chicken curry; it was absolutely delicious.
The main stage was huge; the rumblings of each rock/metal band vibrating through my whole body throughout the day even at a distance.
We patronised many of the bars in the arena clutching our £2 disposable plastic cups… we indulged in a fair few drinks. The rhubarb cider was delicious, but after several trips to the porta-loos later I decided that smaller measures were the order of the day and changed to gin. After all, a girl can only face so many rounds with a porta-loo. My poor long-suffering Dale was left standing outside the toilets holding everything I held dear to prevent contamination! (Fortunately, after over 30 years of friendship he is used to me by now!).
Whilst ambling around the arena I noticed that many people were sitting on amazingly colourful inflatable sofas. Everyone knows how uncomfortable it can be sitting on the floor at festivals so these brightly coloured inflatables really caught my eye!
After speaking to a few people I found out that there are many of these on the market but the one I looked at was called ‘The wind Pouch Inflatable Hammock’ see photograph below:
The wind Pouch Inflatable Hammock is made of durable nylon, it is the same material used in parachutes and is water resistant. I am told that it’s threads are not only coated but they are also in a lattice pattern, meaning they are nearly impossible to tear. It has three side pockets which are so useful so you have somewhere to store your mobile etc. I love this hammock, it is easily inflated and its lightweight carry case means it is easily transported. I can think of so many uses for it, and for around £30 I will definitely be investing in one myself!
One of my favourite moments of the weekend was when we stumbled across a band called ‘The Faim’. They were performing on the Avalanche Stage; a stage intended to provide a platform for fresh musical talent. The Faim were making their festival debut at Download this year. We just happened to walk past the Avalanche Stage when we heard their sound, I couldn’t resist staying to listen to the rest of their set. Dale and I were initially only part of a small crowd gathering, however, it did not take long for the whole area to fill up with a lively and energetic crowd also keen to listen to their next song. Download introduced The Faim as Australia’s newest pop rock export; apparently they formed whilst at high school in Perth. Judging by their performance at Download have no doubt that we will be seeing more of this band in the near future.
Guns n’ Roses headlined on the Main Stage as billed, they did not let us down as they were amazing! In contrast to the last time I saw them in London, the festival vibe was much more chilled and fortunately I did not get caught in the mosh pit this time….. never again!
I really loved listening to all their classic songs such as, It’s So Easy, Welcome To The Jungle and Paradise City. Slash let loose on his amazing solos on ‘Mr Brownstone, whilst Axl strutted around the stage in his trademark hat and chains. I counted at least five costume changes for Axl where he donned a different leather jacket and hat. They all look liked they have so much fun performing, it was so much fun to watch.
I had such a wonderful weekend. Dale thank you so much for taking me away, and thanks to our other halves for letting us out to play!
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