Looking for a new summer music experience but tired of the usual hype? Is Reading too rowdy or Glastonbury looking too dull? Contrary to popular belief, Download Festival is not just for those who sit around in their spare time listening to ‘screamy’ music (although there are a few like that). You’d be surprised how many people really enjoy committing to a June weekend to sit back and watch some rock in the Sun with a bit of whiskey or a warm pizza. Why not give Download a try? We’d love to have you!

what to take with you

Basic make up: You’ll be so hungover every day that an eyebrow brush and some eyeliner will do

Hair products: A hairbrush and dry shampoo are ideal, but if you’re willing to get up early every morning to actually shower then take actual shampoo / conditioner travel bottles. A razor is also a good idea if you wanna wear a vest top on the last day but have armpits like a monkey.

Face products: A face cleanser and some cotton pads were enough to keep my face clean every day. Wipes are good if you get sweaty or muddy, or moisturiser if you’re the type to get sunburn.

Clothes: Underwear, socks, shirts and shorts are crucial. Take more than you need so you’re not screwed if the rain hits your tent. Keeping each day’s outfit in a different plastic bag makes your life a lot easier in the mornings.

Shoes: I only took trainers on my first year and lived to regret it. You can take as many pairs of shoes as you want but one MUST be wellies. You’ll find mud even if it’s the driest week of your life.

Medication: Girls, unless you want to spend your festival sweaty AND bleeding, remember your birth control if you’re on any! Similarly, emergency pads / tampons for unexpected cycles are ideal. I’ve never needed mine but asthma inhalers or diabetes kits are well worth taking and security understand different medical requirements perfectly.

Smelly stuff: Deodorant and body spray, take roll on if you plan on getting entirely ready inside your tent or you’ll choke yourself out.

Food: Download has a huge range of food from the camps right up to the arena, but nothing screams a lazy Thursday morning like emerging into your camp at lunchtime to sunbathe with a Chinese container full of tomato pasta while everyone else has to get up and find food. Biscuits and water are also heavily recommended.

Booze: If you don’t mind a trek back and forth to your car then take cans of drink that work out heavier if it’s worth the convenience. NO GLASS IS ALLOWED INSIDE. If weight is your problem, grab some empty 2 litre Pepsi or lemonade bottles and fill with appropriate ratios of spirits with coke or squash. One of those a day is enough to keep you going, or if you’re unsure just take as many as you can carry.

Sleeping Bag: Please remember this or you might die of hypothermia. Even in June, my sleeping bag could not keep me warm in the night so an extra blanket for those more sensitive to the cold is a good shout also.

Tent: More obvious than not, if you forget a tent there’s emergency ones being sold but the prices aren’t pretty. Don’t go for the cheapest Argos one you can find, as many people on a budget find that their tent is floating around the camp within a day or two, or letting rain seep through overnight.

most importantly, the music

From the likes of Iron Maiden to more chilled out bands like Shinedown, Download is the most accommodating festival for music you’ll find. Whether you’re into a bit of light hearted pop punk, a die-hard metal fan or just after some classic rock tracks to sing along to, you’re more than likely to find enough bands to create a daily itinerary. Here are a few rough headliners from the past to give you a faint idea of what to expect:

2009: Faith No More, Slipknot and Def Leppard.

2010: Rage Against the Machine, Aerosmith and AC/DC.

2011: Linkin Park, System of a Down, Def Leppard.

2012: Metallica, Black Sabbath, The Prodigy.

2013: Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Rammstein.

2014: Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold, Aerosmith.

2015: Slipknot, Muse, KISS.

2016: Rammstein, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden.

what to expect

  • Naked Scottish men often walking around the camp for a delightful morning stroll.
  • One of your camp being in bed by 9 because they can’t stop throwing up.
  • So many inflatable animals that the five days make you attached to them and hard to leave.
  • People gliding through pools of mud and being unrecognisable under all the muck.
  • Adorable little kids in band shirts being helped through the crowd with their parents.
  • A ridiculous queue every morning for the breakfast places as everybody has a stinking hangover.
  • The ‘Alan? Steve’ rhetoric that will make you wanna bang your head into a wall after a day.
  • Going from applying suncream to buying a poncho by the third day on site.
  • Judging your success in camp by which colour you managed to pitch up in before it hit capacity.
  • Your whole tent stinking of rum so much so that sleeping off your hangover is incredibly difficult.
  • Trekking to the sinks just to fill up bottles of water that you can run through your hair on mornings where you get lazy.
  • One camp member finding the first bag they can to spew in, and somebody tripping on it after it’s been forgotten about.
  • Late night drunken dodgems. No one ever has any memory of this but it sure looked fun sober.
  • The obligation of remembering to charge your phone overnight in the lockers when you’re constantly hammered being the most heavy burden you’ve ever experienced.

top tips for newbies

1. If you want to get a really decent, convenient camping spot - buy a 5 day ticket and don’t get there later than Wednesday afternoon. People will legitimately be queuing on Tuesday in attempt to get a camping spot better than yours - don’t be that guy who can’t be bothered to get there at a decent time so has 5 days in the camp furthest from the arena.

2. Manage your alcohol- the concept of being independent in a festival with tons of booze is amazing, but you actually want to remember your experiences and be conscious enough to stay out a bit later as well. If you want to hit the point of dying from alcohol, I recommend not drinking heavy until 9ish. I did not resist temptation on the Thursday and by 9 I was in my tent being sick again and again, how I made it to Friday’s bands I couldn’t tell you.

3. Don’t stress - it’s guaranteed that hardly anybody else is either. The biggest reminder you need to have is keeping your phone battery up and waking up in time for the first band. Anything else? Forget about it. You’ll find a way.

4. Don’t be that kid who spends all day at the signing tents. Unless there’s a band that you’re literally dying to meet, you’ll get some signed paper at the end of it and never have the experience of seeing half of that day’s bands. Tagging on to the end of the queue will sometimes result in being let down after an hour too.

5. You’ll be amazed as the difference in people’s hygiene by Sunday. Some will look freshly showered and bathed, and others will look and smell like death. The point is, you can be either. No one will think any less of you. Waking up in the morning and spraying yourself with thick body spray is more effort than some will make.

6. Even if you’re not vegetarian or vegan yourself, the veggies stand gets rave reviews every year. The vegetable chowmein, burgers and wraps are a hit year in and year out. Don’t become loyal to one stand - look around!

🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘 #DL2017WHOISWITHUS? https://t.co/ldeITSGNaH https://t.co/VBSg2gNfYb

@DownloadFest 11 months ago

“ Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. ”
– Beethoven

Written by Hannah Newberry, 10 months ago
Agree? Disagree? You can tweet them here @hanxnewbs