Why Download Festival is special to us all!

Photo Credit: Ollie Millington
Photo Credit: Ollie Millington

With Download 2015 over for us all, there are plenty of happy faces as they greet an actual warm bed. There is however, plenty of sadness as everyone waved goodbye to their second home, Donington Park.

With ‘The Voice of Download’ echoing in the background, it was time to reflect on the weekend and what makes the festival so unique that people want to keep going.

Distorted Sound asked you guys about your favourite memories and why Download is so important, here is why!

María Antolinos Cava – “My first ever festival, I thought it was going to be awesome but it’s been more than that, I can’t even describe it. People there are extremely kind and friendly, make lots of new friends and meet awesome people!”

Meghan Eley – “It was my first festival and everyone was so nice! Everyone was ready and willing to help out and didn’t just roll their eyes when I asked a question!”

Emma Thompson – “Download has always been life changing for me, I’ve met my best friends and we’re all from the same city, although we now live across the country, yet we meet up with each other every chance we get. It’s also where I’ve met the love of my life (purely by chance and thanks to the rain. It’s a long story!) We have been together 5 years. Every year I come home feeling like I am a better person. Through Download I have learnt to become far more comfortable in my own skin and with the person I am.”

Andy Wills – “It was not my first time at DL but it was for my eldest children (8 and 7 years old) they had a great time and as my 7 year old is in a wheelchair everyone was very accommodating and the people were lovely giving my boys some interaction (high-fives and did horns at each other etc.)”

Simon Scrivens – “There’s a group of around 20 of us who all camp together and last year during Status Quo we all had an inflatable guitar each and got on the big screen, everywhere we go now, we get people coming up to us saying “hey it’s you guys with the guitars during quo” we get recognised everywhere!”

David Wilkinson – “I have been going to Donington since Monsters of Rock in 1989. This was the year after 2 fans were trampled and killed during the Guns and Roses set. This taught me the first two rules of Donington – ‘If you see someone in trouble, help them out’ and ‘Don’t be a dick’. The first year I went, it went nuts at the front, a load of people went down in the pit and we waded in and pulled them all up. The cause of this was a bunch of Italians who thought it was funny to throw sand into people’s faces. I introduced them to the ‘Don’t be a dick’ rule, also known as right hooks. Over the years, I have been in tents, campervans and even just a sleeping bag in a furrowed field about 2 miles away from Donington Park (Yes, I had been drinking).

As each year passes, we have met the most amazing people and made the greatest of friends, making Donington a spiritual pilgrimage. I proposed to my wife whilst she was in the portaloo during Metallica (She said ‘Yes, now please shut the effing door’). I had to be taken to hospital after being hit in the eye by a pyrotechnic from Iron Maiden (I still made it back with an eye patch – cue pirate impressions). I have managed to drag my car up the motorway and back, only for it to explode, but then again it made it back so result. We have laughed with old and new friends alike and cried a bit when friends have passed away, but it never stops us wringing every bit of energy out of ourselves just to get there.

The bands may come and go but true friendship is seeing people once a year and picking up from where you left off the previous year. Rock is our music, and Donington is our playground… as long as you are not a dick.”

David Creasser – “Download wow. It’s a culmination of a year. The annual home of rock and metal. It’s a place where no one judges you. You can come alone or as a group and everybody is so welcoming. That’s what it’s been like since 2003. We are a family of thousands at Download. It ain’t just a genre, it’s a life style, we live it, we breathe it every day.”

Jessica Howkins – “I have been going to Download for four years now, I have made the best friends over the years and the best memories. The family I have gained have helped me come on in leaps and bounds with my confidence and dealing with my anxiety. It’s not just the bands that I go for, who of course gave me the passion to pursue a career in journalism but it’s those guys. Whether it rains, sleets, snows or Donington becomes a desert, I will always say bring it on! Download isn’t just a festival, it’s a home for anyone and everyone.”


So, there we have it! With plenty more responses that flooded in and not being able to fit them all on Distorted Sound, we apologise! We can tell how much you guys love Download Festival and honestly, it would be hard to find a person to disagree.

Whether it’s the bands you have seen, the friends you have made or the partner you proposed to on the toilet moment – Download Festival will always be home.

You see, Download is a place for everyone. You may be faced with over-priced burgers, portaloos with things we must not mention on the seats, flooded tents and mud deep enough to swallow your wellies but there is something about it that makes it worthwhile.

For five days, you’re not on your phone checking Facebook or Twitter every five minutes. For five days, you’re not caring about how you look and what you wear. For five days you’re actually talking to people, you may be looking and smelling your worst but you’re at your most comfortable.

Download is special because of the bands, yes. The friendships on the other hand, they’re something that makes the festival truly out of this world. You’re shoved together with thousands of strangers that in the streets you would probably walk past but there, they are your friends.

It is a festival that makes you remember why you carry on everyday and hold your head up, through all of the bad that life might throw at you.

You see, Download is special because for five days, there are thousands of people out there who have all have crap thrown in every direction at them, they have had problems in their life that have made them want to give up, they have almost lost the will to live but for those five days, it goes away. You get lost in the moment, listening to your favourite bands with your best, new and old friends and that is why we wouldn’t change a thing!

Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.