Goodness me, we’re only a week away from the world’s most renowned alternative music festival, Download. As always, the festival is boasting a colossal lineup consisting of some of the biggest names in the rock and metal genres, with Def Leppard, Slipknot and Tool topping a phenomenal undercard. Considering its size, it’s been considered a gateway for younger music fans into the world of music festivals.With this in mind, here's our top 10 tips for making the most out of your weekend.
You’re Gonna Walk A Lot
Download Festival is massive. Like, huge. It’s the second biggest festival in the UK with a capacity of approximately 110,000 and only being beaten out of the first place by the world’s biggest festival Glastonbury which has a capacity of 120,000. Due to the fact that the festival is built around the Donington Racetrack, the entire event is spread out over a massive area, with the village area and campsites being located on one side of the track and the arena area being located on the other. The arena itself is also massive, with the arena encompassing 4 stages, attractions, vendors and all sorts of things to see and do. It goes without saying you’re going to be walking a lot so it’s wise to bring some shoes that are broken in and you can move in freely. Personally, I find that sturdy walking boots are far more comfortable than wellies and canvas shoes (especially if the ground is muddy) so it’s vital to consider your footwear when packing.
For those who don’t know, Donington Park is only a stones throw from the East Midlands Airport. We don’t mean it’s a few miles away; many festival goers walk to the airport in the morning to grab a cheeky Gregg’s and to use the pristine toilets. With this in mind, there’s a lot of air traffic flying over the festival all throughout the day. Whilst it’s not a massive airport, the constant over flying aircraft can be a pain for those who sleep lightly. Don’t worry, you’re not going to have any airbuses rattling the fillings in your teeth but you are going to want to grab a pair of ear plugs if the slightest noise wakes you up.
So Much Room For Activities
Download will also be welcoming and hosting a range of activities and attractions over the weekend including Doom Yoga, The Circus Of Horrors, The World Air Guitar Championships and The Worlds Biggest Wall Of Death (The stunt involving bikes, nothing involving sweaty dudes running into one another to the sounds of Lamb Of God). There's absolutely tonnes of attractions at Download this year, so take a peek at the full event listing for full details.
For God’s Sake, Don’t Buy Drugs From Strangers
We hate to get all headmastery here, but this is important. With any large UK music event, you might be approached by a dealer offering some substances. There’s been a noticeable spike in drug related deaths at UK festivals throughout the past several years with many deaths being the result of tainted drugs or products. Many festival dealers or opportunists cut their products with substances you really don’t want in your body in order to save costs and maximize profit. If you think you or a mate has taken something dodge, seek medical attention immedtaliey - you're not going to get in trouble.
On Your Bike Mate
As proven time and time again, year after year, Download aren't the best at keeping secrets. Be it secret sets or shock guest appearances, the intended surprise is always foiled on the run up to the festival. However, one thing the festival has managed to keep tightly under wraps is the return of Nitro Circus. For those who weren't raised on energy drinks and extreme sport loops in YouTube, Nitro Circus is a world famous extreme sports collective. With an area just outside the village reserved for all the adrenaline junkies in attendance, you can expect to see some totally gnarly sights during the weekend, with professional athlete's landing all the tricks you all tried and failed to execute as a teenager after binging Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. The full schedule is still yet to be confirmed so make sure to pop by when you can.
Smack Your Mates With Swords
The popular attraction Demolition Download will be returning to the festival for it’s fifth consecutive year. For those unknowing, the attraction involves medieval fighting experts taking on one another with authentic weapons whilst decked in armor and protective gear. It might sound like a fake staged show but it’s an authentic full contact competition and needs to be seen to believed. Plus for the first time ever, the people behind the show will be hosting workshops where fans can don the armor and weapons used and learn to fight. The event runs all weekend, so make sure you stop by in the area for some good old fashioned medieval powerviolence.
Death To Plastic
As you've most probably noticed, many festivals across Europe are taking stands against single use plastic, with Download being no different. In a pledge to reduce the festival's greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2025, the festival are currently phasing out single use plastics. As a result, this year will see plastic cutlery being banned from the arena, all plastic bottles will be made of recycled plastic, all soft drinks from traders will be decanted into paper cups and the reusable cups from last year will be making a return. How you can help, I hear you ask? Make sure to use reusable water bottles, recycle what you can and for goodness sake take your tent home with you.
Say Hello To Brownload
Over the years, the festival has been lovingly dubbed both Brownload and Drownload by fans. Thankfully, this has nothing to do with any toilet situation but rather the unpredictable weather. Whilst last year proved to be a scorcher of the weekend, the swamps that 2012 and 2016 saw are still a horrifically fresh memory for many festival attendees. As the old ancient saying goes, 'hope for the best but prepare for swamps.' There’s always that one guy walking around with what was once a fresh pair of Nikes or Converse ruined by the ankle high mud. No one pities that guy, he brought it upon himself. Also, pack a towel. There’s nothing worse than falling drunkenly into your tent at night, soaking wet and having the realization slowly dawn on you that you have nothing to dry yourself off with.
Welcome To Suplex City
Bar from the stellar lineup, Download will also be playing host to WWE NXT once more. Whilst you might not witness Donald Trump going ham on Vince McMahon again, Download will be welcoming a range of high profile wrestlers to ring during the weekend including Pete Dunne, Toni Storm and Tyler Bate. Also, for the first time in Download history, the matches taking place over the weekend will be broadcasted over WWE's online channels. Matches will be running all weekend and a handy schedule is available here.
Don’t Take Any Glass With You
Like every other festival in existence, glass is strictly forbidden anywhere on site. Make sure you pick up cans and tinnies when shopping for the weekend and to decant any spirits into plastic bottles before leaving. There’s always someone who walks up to the gates smugly carrying two cases of bottled Budweiser only to have his weekend ruined when security takes it off him. If you see the dude, check if he’s wearing fresh trainers. If so, he’s in for a shit weekend.