Download Festival: Sundays aren't always chilled out
Sunday. The Sabbath. A day for relaxing. Unless you're at Download Festival. If you're at Download Festival, it's the last day to get involved for another year.
So, 11am start again. Lots of hungover people around. I make my first visit to the Dogtooth stage today, for Glasgow's Lost in Stereo. Hungover as everyone is, these boys bring a sunshine that has been missing this weekend. As they finish, you have this warm fuzzy feeling inside. Just joyous and fun to watch, their enthusiasm is infectious and makes for a good start to the day.
The next band I want to see is a band I have been unable to catch at a festival before today, despite trying. I Prevail rose to fame quickly off the back of a very popular cover of an artist who is not likely to appear on this festival anytime soon: Taylor Swift's Blank Space, which was followed by an incredible album. They don't play this, to my chagrin, but it's okay because this year, they're back with a new album; "Trauma", coming off the back of "Lifelines". And from what I've seen, it's going to beat the second album curse.
From there, I meet some friends and go catch the WWE NXT UK tapings. Now, I can't tell you much about this, as they were being taped for the WWE Network, but I'll admit this, they get you to come back to see the conclusion of a cliffhanger. Cryptic, right?
Off to Zippo for State Champs. I love this band. Every time I see them, I have a massive smile plastered across my face. Today is no different. The sun even decides to watch State Champs with us, with the cloud clearing literally just for their set. I find myself wanting more time from these guys, as I always do. Infectious energy, smiles all round, and despite being Sunday, a lot of bounce in all who are in attendance. And it's winning over folks who are just there to get a good view for Slayer too. Can't go wrong with this band.
At this point, I need to eat. There are a lot of options for food. Or at least, there are a number of options, many of which are repeated throughout the site. I visit one and get something warm (a Halloumi wrap, if you're interested) inside me, top up my water bottle and finish off with an ice cream before I head back over to NXT UK, where I'm granted an opportunity to meet (and consequently embarrass myself in front of) the NXT Champion, the ever charming Adam Cole (BAY BAY!!) and a super chilled Rhea Ripley before watching the final set of tapings for the weekend with some very good friends. Again, can't give spoilers, but a lot of fun was had and a great multitude of one of my favourite wrestling moves, the humble Chop.
To finish off my weekend, I rush over to the Avalanche stage, on the other side of the Arena for a one-two punch of Fever 333 and Enter Shikari.
Fever 333 played a not so secret set on this stage last year, and it was rammed then. This demonstration is a taster of the demonstrations to come on the upcoming just announced tour, but again, the tent is rammed. I am barely inside the tent and I am immediately swallowed by their stagecraft. Front flips from speaker stacks, crowdsurfing, and inspiring messages entwined with the politically fueled singalongs make for an experience that nobody in this tent will soon forget. It leaves you asking the question; 'how the f*** do you follow that?!'
Leave that to Enter Shikari to answer. Having toured "The Spark" seemingly nonstop since it's release, they have honed this set into something special. The more raw emotional songs have had to take a step back, but the 15 song set is no slouch. Every song is high energy, circle pit instigating, and a vicious shot to the collective jugular. The "Quickfire Round 3.0" includes a fresh remix of a classic "No Sleep Tonight" that is 'fresh out of the oven'. There's even a shot fired at a certain floppy haired mumbling cartoonesque MP (see if you can work out who that is...).
The crowd swells to be outside the tent, then gets displaced a little more with the size of the circle pits. Enter Shikari are not a third stage band any more. They're too big of a draw. Yes, it's Slayer's "last UK show" (for however long that lasts) and Tool are back after forever and a day, but Enter Shikari is a beast that can no longer be contained. Main Stage is calling. And it couldn't happen to four nicer gents.
As I leave the festival, I catch a bit of Slayer, who sound tight as hell, then I stand and watch ten minutes of Tool's insane production in awe of the spectacle.
Download is over for another year. And that sucks. But tickets are on sale already for next year. I can't wait to see who's going to headline next year. Hell, I can't wait to be back there.
All pictures graciously provided by Download Festival