It does not matter really Doesn’t matter who plays Download, right? Sure it’s important, but it’s a smaller part of a bigger selling point: download rules because it’s Download. And the people who make it that way aren’t just the bands that come along every few years, but the people who love it and come every year. Onsite at Download Pilot, along with the buzz of seeing bands carrying out a year of craziness in all sorts of exciting ways, there’s a sense that everyone is just happy to be here.
“It was really weird to have Download taken down for a year,” says Matt from Birmingham. “It feels like it’s the thing that marks the beginning of summer, so not having it I ran out of time a bit. With this even though it’s smaller it feels like something normal is going on, that really worked out when they said it would. ”
There’s something about arriving at the scene that has a comforting, familiar feeling – like coming home. Oddly enough, for the many emotional moments over the weekend when you remember the sheer joy of watching bands and continuing with your friends, it feels like nothing has changed.
Michelle from Manchester agrees. “As soon as I arrived I was like, ‘Yes, I’m at Download,” she says. “I went into ‘Download-brain’ almost immediately. When I walked into the arena, it actually felt like any other download, and that felt great. It didn’t feel strange at all. I had to cry a little because I was so happy to have him back.”
Now that we’ve seen how much a world without Download is worthless, it’s no surprise how many people say they’re grateful to have it back, and how much they hope the science element of the weekend goes well, as proof that it’s possible to open festivals without, really, having too much hassle. You have to test and play by the rules to get in? Big deal: It’s not really a faff, and a little effort on our part will help us get festivals back, says John van Nuneaton.
“It took me five minutes to sort out all the test stuff – I thought it would take a long time, but it didn’t,” he explains. “Of course that sucks when you’re excited and then test positive and have to miss it, but it seems like such an easy fix to get this back, it’s like, ‘Why don’t we run all shows this way?’ It is no effort at all to take the test and do what they ask. I feel like we really help with this. And it’s damn awesome to feel like you’re even more of a part of Download than usual because of that.”
What everyone agrees on is that while everyone has their favorites, they would have come with whoever was playing. Again, it’s just downloading, right?
“I loved Enter Shikari and Creeper, but I also had a lot of fun watching bands I’ve never heard before,” smiles Michelle. “Everyone had a really positive vibe on stage, they’re all just really happy to be here, it feels like you’re somehow closer to the bands. I think it’s really cool that they also have so many newer bands on the program. That’s one of the brilliant things about Download: they give bands a chance, and they all really went for it. It’s been great.”
Yes it has. And it’s the fans who make Download what it is. Not just because without them bands wouldn’t have anyone to play with, but because there really isn’t another gathering of people like this on Earth. And after a year without having to, it’s really great to see so many people itching to go back to Donington grass, pure and alone. See you all next year!