Tag Archives: camping

Download Festival 2013

The raters

The raters of Blue Camp

I am back from my holidays and yes, a festival can be classed as a holiday.

Last week I returned from Download Festival with sunburn and a cold which got quite bad which is why I have only just managed to blog.

Returning to the tent

Luckily our tent wasn’t too muddy after last year and we were able to use it again. I was also a lot more prepared for all festival eventualities.

Two things had changed from my experience last year. I was now the driver, transporting an overfilled Ford KA and three other festival-goers – including my boyfriend Tom.

My low rider KA

My low rider KA

The second change was the weather. Good news is It rained less. Last year we were up to our knees in mud but this year we had a few light showers, one major downpour and then two days of sun.

You look familiar. Weren't you here last year?

You look familiar. Weren’t you here last year?

Of course the baby wipes and dry shampoo were my precious possessions throughout the week but this year was much better in the camp. No need to stop drinking because you’re terrified of drowning in mud on your way to the toilet.

Tom and Tom cooking dinner

Tom and Tom cooking dinner

Everyone from last year was back and with beers in hand we had some fun nights in Blue Camp. In fact we became quite popular amongst the campers after we invented a rating game (see top photo). It began with just three of the guys but grew when campers started deliberately walking past us and doing tricks to get their ratings. Even the stewards joined in. By the end of it all 10 of us had rate cards. I decided to have a smiley face and sad face but I only gave the sad face when somebody flashed us. It happened way too often…

Me dressed for Download

Me dressed for Download

The music

The main reason you go to a festival is for the music. The line up for Download 2013 included Slipknot, Rammstein and Iron Maiden.

In the arena

In the arena

On the first day we went to the second stage to see Uriah Heep, Dragonforce and Europe who last year had to cancel right at the last minute after their plane was delayed. Then we made a b-line for Korn on the main stage and then stayed there for Bullet for my Valentine and Slipknot where we got absolutely crushed. I expect to be crushed and pushed in the festival crowds but this got to a point where people had to be carried over barriers to get air. The main problem was too many people went into the front part and then decided they didn’t want to be there. To get out they pushed their way through until everything got so tight barriers started breaking and Slipknot had to stop the show several times so security could sort it out.

Lidl's shoppers like Korn

Lidl’s shoppers like Korn

The second day I went to see Young Guns nice and early on the main stage and then had a little break before going to see one of my favourite acts of the festival, Katatonia who I’ve been dying to see for ages.



Then back to the main stage for Alice in Chains, Motorhead and the first half of Queens of the Stone Age before going over to the second stage for a little bit of Enter Shikari. Then we went to see legends Iron Maiden who put on a great show complete with a Spitfire fly past.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden

On the third day we had a little lie in and then headed over to the main stage for Five Finger Death Punch who half way through decided to bring the children up on stage for a song. It was brilliant, especially when some of the children could sing it word for word.

People, people everywhere!

People, people everywhere!

I went to see Ghost on the second stage who you won’t forget if you saw them. All the members wear robes except the main singer who dresses in cardinal attire and a skull mask.



Then we finished the festival on a massive high note with the best live performance I have ever seen. I have been told Rammstein put on a good show but I was not prepared for what I saw. Fireworks, flame throwers, crazy costumes and a foam cannon shaped like…never bring your children to a Rammstein gig.



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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Personal


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Download 2012: My first festival

Tom and Will

If you’ve read my recent posts you’ll know that I recently spent five days camping at Download Festival, Donington Park. This was my first festival camping experience and it was an interesting and exciting one at that. Exciting for the music, interesting for the mud.

Download is now in its tenth year and it is as popular as ever, selling out completely this year. I was accompanied by my boyfriend Tom and my former housemate Will who’ve both been to Download before so I believed I was in safe hands but I didn’t count on the weather being so bad. It rained a lot and with rain comes mud. I’ve dealt with dirty festival conditions before when I went to Glades festival for the day during the July floods in 2007. The difference was I lived around the corner and could get away when it got too much. This time I had to stick it out.



What was left of our gazebo after the storm

We arrived just before the first of many rain clouds rolled in but as we struggled to get all our kit from the car park to the camp site the rain began to come down and things quickly went from tiring to exhausting. Still we hoped that this was a one-off and that by tomorrow it would clear up. We got our tent up, had a few beers, made a BBQ and went to bed.


Baby wipes and dry shampoo quickly became my most valuable possessions. The wind had brought in even more rain and it was then that we opted for a gazebo which we tied to all our tents to save it from the wind. The blue sky came out for roughly 10 minutes before hiding again and then a wind storm began. I don’t think I slept at all that night but if I thought it wasn’t going to get any worse…I needed the loo. I bravely went out into the cold and mud which had now turned into a mud river. Some unlucky folks had already lost tents to the poor conditions and even if I did make it to the toilets, it wasn’t a pretty sight. Some people miss really badly!

Tenacious D

Instant BBQ were only so good in the wind and rain. It would have been better to just save up loads and buy food from the many food stalls in the festival village, no matter how expensive. The festival village had everything you could want from a whole fun fair to food and clothes to camping gear. This came in handy when the wardrobe I’d brought began to fail me.

The music

Random Strongbow man

Or as I like to call it, the good part. Download has five stages and a line up of over 50 bands. Despite the music being more Tom’s thing than mine, I actually knew a few of the bands and looked forward to seeing them.

Circle pit!

Day one got off to a rocky start with a long delay getting into the arena due to weather meaning the first two bands on every stage were cancelled. Then to add to this Europe didn’t make it to the festival so I never got to see ‘The Final Countdown’ performed live. The first band I saw on the main stage was Machine Head. I’d been well versed in the heavy stuff thanks to Tom so I was ready for it, apart from when I somehow ended up in a circle pit by mistake.

Me and Tom

Then I got to see one of the bands I wanted to see. Nightwish. They were good but I wish I’d gotten to see them with the original female singer Tarja Turunen as well. Then I made a quick dart across to the main stage to see The Prodigy, my favourite group who I’ve been dying to see for a very long time. They were fantastic, even if they did make us wait ages and Keith Flint was brilliant.


We got there nice and early on day two to see Halestorm, the only band at the festival I’ve seen before. They were even better this time and the lead singer Lzzy Hale is probably one of the best female singers out there right now.

I then went to see a band called Steel Panther who I’d never heard of before but they are very funny and topless women (not me) seem to be drawn to them. The laughing was a good warm up for the next band, Tenacious D!

Trying to look more festival-ish

Tenacious D were hilarious and played most of their well-known songs including ‘Tribute’, which we’d already been singing around the campsite a few days before in preparation.

We then went on to watch Killswitch Engage, who Tom loved, and then we went to see Metallica, however, I was distracted during this set by the massive circle pit in front of me which resulted in one guy being carried off to the medics.

Black Sabbath

On the third day the sun finally came out. When Tom and Will went to go see Lamb of God I went off to the Red Bull stage on my own to see Kopek, a new Irish band I’m fast becoming a big fan of.

The highlight of the day was of course Black Sabbath, led by Ozzy Osbourne. It turns out you can enjoy Black Sabbath at any age and that was proven even more when a 12-year-old boy and his dad stood next to us. Half way during the performance I heard the boy tell his dad “Dad, I’ve waited my whole life for this!”

When the music had finished and the stages cleared, we headed back to the tents. This was when I learned that on the last day the main reason most people leave early is because the last night gets a little crazy. Tents were set on fire, small tents were being thrown across the site and one guy, who thought it would be fun to roll around in a tent in the road, came moments from being squashed by a fire truck. The only thing to do in these situations is find an abandoned air bed, take a seat and watch the night unfold. We did just that.

The main question here is would I do it again? Yes to the music, maybe to the camping. I need a few years to recover first. About as long as it’ll take to get my boots clean again.


Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Personal


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