Finally, the weekend is almost here, tomorrow is June 12th and officially Download Festival weekend! I get ready to head to Castle Donnington tomorrow for the first day of a what is going to be a pretty immense weekend of metal music, so I decided it was the perfect time to share a festival related post with you all - my Top 5 Festival Experiences (so far).
Top Festival Experience #5 | KoRn at Download Festival 2011
This was my first time seeing KoRn and it was completely by chance - I had got over to the 2nd stage super early because I wanted to be at the front for Pendulum, without realising KoRn were on before them. Boy am I glad that happened! Not only was it absolutely amazing to see KoRn live, but I was completely and utterly blown away. For starters, KoRn as a band are incredible live - but when Jonathan Davis came out playing the bagpipes for Shoots and Ladders, I was completely blown away! I was totally not expecting him to come out and full-blown play the bagpipes like a Scot, and it made the experience of one of my favourite KoRn songs live even more amazing. I was at the front barrier for this set and I wouldn't have had it any other way! It turned out to be one of my favourite moments of Download that year, and pretty much in all the Downloads I've ever been to, too.
Top Festival Experience #4 | Acoustic Skindred Set at Download 2011
Skindred are one of my favourite bands and are up there as the band I have seen the most times live. There is something about Skindred that makes them really stand out for me as a live band, they are utterly amazing and the way Benji works a crowd is unlike any other band. Of all the times I've seen Skindred live, their acoustic set at Download 2011 stands out to me the most - it is so rare to see any artist or band do an acoustic set, and theirs was just so much fun! I was seriously impressed and loved that they did so many of my favourite Skindred songs during their acoustic set. To top it off, Benji got everyone to do an acoustic wall of death, which was just unbelievable! Hilarious and so bloody fun. I wish more bands would do acoustic sets at festivals, because it's honestly so amazing to see your favourite bands in a completely new, raw and unplugged way.
Top Festival Experience #3 | System of a Down at Download 2011
Seriously, System of a Down man. A band I never thought I'd get to see live and who ended up blowing me away live at Download 2011! It was like I was in a complete trance watching these guys. Minimal set (actually the only band I've seen live at this level, who didn't feel the need to go over the top with a huge theatrical set), the perfect set list and just the most amazing performance. Ah man, it's so, so nice to reminisce over this one! System of a Down are just one of those bands that everyone should see at least once. They do not disappoint! If you watch the video below, I was pretty much in the front at the middle when they got the circle pits going. INTENSE!
Top Festival Experience #2 | Slipknot at Sonisphere Festival 2011
I always get so many feels when I think back to seeing Slipknot at Sonisphere 2011. It was the first time I had seen Slipknot live, and whatever I was expecting, the experience was a complete world away. Slipknot will forever be one of the best bands to see live in my opinion, they have such a stage presence and put their all into giving everything they can when playing live. It was unbelievable. Getting everyone down on the floor for Spit it Out (I can't wait that video without getting tingles - esp from 4 mins onwards!), with the rain absolutely pouring down on us, pits like I have never experienced before. A pretty emotional set for everyone, from the band to fans, it was their first big show since the passing of Paul Gray and it was pretty intense. There was not a dry eye in the crowd at the end of the night (see the 3rd video below - I can't help but shed a tear when I watch it). It was just out of this world. Tomorrow night I will be seeing Slipknot for the 3rd time live, the whole reason I decided to get myself back to Download this year, and I cannot wait!
Top Festival Experience #1 | Sonisphere Festival 2010
My first ever festival, and overall the best festival experience I have had (yet). Sonisphere is such a fab festival and I think it's such a shame that they've had some issues in the UK over recent years, with no Sonisphere Knebworth for 2013 or 2015. For me, the whole experience of Sonisphere is just better. The campsites are closer to the arena, there's a nicer and more relaxed vibe, it's laid out better, there's no clashes between the two main stages. The weather was insanely beautiful, we managed to camp literally next to the entrance to the arena, I was with some favourite friends and made some friends I've caught up with and even camped at festivals with since. I consumed more alcohol than I thought was humanly possible (and would seriously advise against), and danced like an idiot to some of my favourite bands whilst crying to others (seeing Iron Maiden for the first time was a little emotional!). I found new bands I've adored ever since, I saw bands I never thought I'd get the chance to see live, and I basically had the time of my life! Favourite moments (and the ones I was sober-ish enough to remember ha) were Iron Maiden (emotionalllll!), Motley Crue (wow girls still love taking their tops off for Motley Crue), Placebo (I fell in love with them even more) and Skunk Anansie (what a voice!).
So there you have it, my top 5 (so far) experiences of festivals in the UK. I am beyond excited for this weekend and I can't wait to see some of my favourite bands again, as well as seeing some people I have wanted to see basically since I was a little girl (I can't believe I'm seeing Billy Idol at last!!). If you're at Download too this weekend I hope you have an absolutely amazing time and unforgettable experience - and if you happen to see me about, say hello!
Do you love going to festivals too? What are your top festival experiences so far?