Ten years ago I shot my first Download Festival…on film…30 rolls of it if I remember rightly! Slipknot headlined one of those nights as well and in those years I’ve been at seven Downloads. I had planned to shoot as few bands as possible this year, but I hadn’t realised I would shoot even fewer than I’d intended. During Slipknot’s Friday night headline slot it rained a bit, well, actually it rained in Biblical proportions, and my 70-200 lens got water inside it as a result.
Every attempt to dry it out overnight failed, and it’s the lens you use most and is the one you can’t do without on stages this size. So on Saturday I came better prepared for the weather as my aunt had bought me some waders. I looked like I’d lost my fishing rod but I was warm and dry. The fun didn’t last long though as the lens fogged up again and even three hours drying it out on my car window heater only cleared it long enough to photograph Slash, Muse and this chap, Marilyn Manson. I wasn’t missing his set for love nor money and took the risk of missing Muse to do so as their sets clashed. He did his best to hide behind a solid wall of dry ice but the wind worked in our favour and made for fleeting moments of very atmospheric light and smoke when he appeared ghost like from the gloom.
Sunday’s line up was pretty epic, with one of Motley Crue’s last ever UK appearances (for which we were denied pit access), and KISS’s amazing closing show.
All in all another fine Download and whilst I love this festival a lot, the line up will have to be quite something for me to come back next year, but then again I say that every year!