Review: Download Festival 2018

We haven’t been to Download Festival for a few years now so we were very excited to be back, even if it was only for the day… we wanted to see whether our 12 year old daughter enjoyed it before taking her for the whole weekend.  But we needn’t have worried – she loved it! And why wouldn’t you?!

Us with the Download Dog!

Due to other commitments (school!), the only day we could go to Download was Saturday (which wouldn’t have been our first choice)… So we headed off to Donington Park on Saturday morning and were surprised to find that we got parked, through security and into the arena really, really quickly – well done Download crew!

We had a quick wander round, then found ourselves at the Avalanche Stage where Tigress were playing… I’d not heard of them before but they were very good – the female singer sounded similar to Hayley Williams of Paramore at times (which can only be a good thing!) and the crowd seemed to love them. What a great start to the day – I love discovering new bands!

Tigress on the Avalanche Stage

As usual, the food and drink was pricey, but you expect that anywhere where there is a captive audience… and the merchandise was also pretty expensive.  However, the tops we bought were good quality and Freya was VERY happy with her Download Dog, so it was all good!

Freya and her Download Dog

Unfortunately we didn’t get chance to watch the wrestling as there were too many bands we wanted to see but we did manage to check out the sword swallower who was very entertaining (although things like that freak me out a bit if I’m being honest!).

Sword Swallowing!

We managed to catch a number of bands throughout the day: Lawnmower Deth (definitely the most amusing band of the day), Asking Alexandria (we really enjoyed their set), L7 (awful sound so we gave up watching them), The Pink Slips (great look and sound), Thunder (a flawless performance as usual), and many more…

Thunder on the Main Stage

But the highlight of the day for us was Parkway Drive headlining the Zippo Encore Stage – they were fantastic!  We have seen them a couple of times before and thought they were great but this time they totally smashed it!  It was an epic performance and the crowd loved it – they definitely had the best crowd interaction that we saw all day.  At the end, all three of us agreed that they were the highlight of our day.

Parkway Drive on the Zippo Encore Stage

But it was a different matter for the Main Stage headliners, Guns n’ Roses.  I have not seen GnR for many years so was really looking forward to seeing them again.  But a 3 hour set was just far too long… At least 1 hour was made up of Slash’s guitar solos (yawn – unless you’re into that kind of thing, which some people are of course), another half hour or so was made up of covers (why – I don’t remember any other headliners doing so many covers?) and then about an hour was their own tracks.  To be fair, the crowd reacted enthusiastically to their big hits such as Sweet Child o’ Mine, Paradise City, November Rain, etc… but in between their big numbers the atmosphere was pretty flat (unless you were right down the front by the look of it). We were stood fairly far back as Freya wouldn’t have been able to see closer to the stage and I have honestly never seen such disinterest and so many people flooding out of the arena during the headline act.  It was a slightly disappointing end to what had otherwise been an amazing day at Download…

Guns n’ Roses on the Main Stage

I have to admit, I had been a little worried about taking Freya to Download as I wasn’t sure it was particularly family-friendly… but whilst I don’t think I’d have taken her when she was any younger, she coped well with it and my concerns proved to be unfounded (although I’m sure she learnt some new words that I wouldn’t want her to use in front of her grandparents!!).

So as GnR ended we, and thousands of others, headed out of the arena. As usual, getting out of the car park was nowhere near as smooth as getting in (as expected when you have that many people trying to leave at the same time) and it took us a good hour to exit but we didn’t care – we’d had a fantastic day! See you at Download Festival 2019…

What festivals do you love and why – let me know?

Rock On!


*The opinions expressed above are my own and reflect my taste in music and my personal experience of Download Festival 2018.

*All images in this post were shot on my iPhone 6

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32 thoughts on “Review: Download Festival 2018

  1. I actually am not really a festival person – probably because there are just way too many people for my liking! I am thrilled you had a blast though 🙂

    1. I think you either love going to festivals or you don’t to be honest… it was great fun but I wouldn’t want to do it too often!
      Kate x

  2. That’s a wonderful festival! I am sure you had an amazing time. It’s been years since my last festival but this summer my friends have great plans for our holidays,including a festival!

  3. I’m so jealous! I’ve never been able to go to Download but I’m a massive metal head! I’m hoping that in the future I’m able to take my two boys to the festival (and that they share my exceptional taste in music)

    1. You should go if you can – it’s great! Fingers crossed your boys have inherited your love of metal!

  4. I’ve never heard of this specific festival but I LOVE music festivals!! I have never considered bringing my kids, so it’s good to see that it is totally doable! 🙂

    1. It’s a rock festival, so not to everyone’s taste… but it was more family-friendly than I thought it would be!
      Kate x

  5. We took our kids to a house music festival in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago. They definitely saw an array of people and some things that they hadn’t before but overall i think it was a good experience.

    1. I bet that was fun! To be honest, I’d rather she saw things she wouldn’t normally come across when she was with us so we can talk about it and she can learn from us rather than her friends.
      Kate x

  6. You guys must have had so much fun! Seeing bands tends to be the best part of any festival.

  7. Sounds like a great day out, you can’t beat a festival for excitement and atmosphere can you? Love watching bands play live and being part of the experience.

    1. Absolutely! I love live music – you can’t beat the atmosphere at a gig/festival!

  8. This looks like a lot of fun. I love going to outdoor concerts. The atmosphere is different then being indoors. Great pictures too.

    1. It was great fun! You’re right – gigs outdoor are quite different!
      Thank you – they’re not bad for phone pics!
      Kate x

  9. WOW, Gun “N Roses has been around forever. I haven’t heard a song from them in ages. This looks like a lot of fun and something I did when I was younger – not so much now. Rock On!!

    1. I know – they weren’t quite as good as the used to be in my opinion, but it was still an awesome day!
      Kate x

  10. Oh wow, I wish I’d have gone to such a cool festival when I was Freya’s age – instead, I was taken off the 80’s Rewind Festival! ? Download Dog is super cute, and I’ve heard really good things about Parkway Drive live but I definitely agree that a three hour set for any band, even G’n’R is too long.. ??‍♀️

    1. My parent’s were into classical music, so you can imagine the sort of things I was taken to see when I was Freya’s age!!
      Kate x

  11. This festival looks like so much fun! My cousin would love this! Happy to hear you had a blast 🙂

  12. Looks like you guys had a fantastic time! I’ve never heard of this festival before, summer is so great!

    1. We did – so much that we already booked for next year! I love summer too!
      Kate x

  13. Wow, it would be so much fun for you to watch an outdoor concert! To be honest, I’m not a big fan of these outdoor festivals for they are always crowded, but I’m glad you had fun!

    1. It was great… but it was very busy – certainly not good for anyone who doesn’t like crowds!
      Kate x

  14. I haven’t been to a festival in years. Looks like you guys had a great time. Love your daughter’s name!

    1. It was great fun – can’t wait to go again next year! Thank you – it’s my favourite girl’s name…
      Kate x

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