We just spotted our first car full of metallers showing us the horns and honking their car horn at us on the motorway. Finally, after months of anticipation, we are about 40 minutes away from the Donnington Download festival site! Screaming and shouting back ‘METALLLL’ we all throw the horns back at them and craziness reigns for the following few minutes.
Some of us have travelled early morning through the London tube strike to get here and one of us has come from as far as New York, America, so as you can imagine, excitement and adrenaline totally overrides travel fatigue as we hit the site that for the next couple of days will play host to the U.K’s most ardent and true followers of Rock and Metal. Oh, and a whole bunch of scenesters and trendsters, Emo’s and Goths, drunks and fuck ups.
First stop is sorting all the passes and getting to the Download radio trailer which is where I will be debuting in a feature throughout the weekend as my new alter ego, ‘Lucy Lawless’, as christened to me by none other than Lady Starlight and Talita Two shoes outside a service station hotel. The feature being ‘Lucy’s swap shop’. In this I will be given a random object by D.J Talita Two shoes at the start of the festival and must swap it as many times needed with the crazy, drunk arse population of Download with the goal of ending up with a bottle of Jager, Jack D or a band member by the end of the festival having recorded every swap for the radio listeners.
Next stop, ahh who am I kidding, I can’t even begin to tell you in a correct time order what happened with the best part of Friday. I do know that Thursday night when we arrived, after sorting out work stuff, we found our hotel for the night, which was allegedly ten minutes away as told to us by the staff the lying bastards. Try five junctions up the bloody motorway. Starlight crashed with jetlag and me and Talita got a taxi to the site and bummed around for a couple of hours bumping in to mates and establishing where everything was.
We hit the village area and try to get as drunk as our mates but are having one of those irritating ‘fighting a losing battle’ type situations where by we just can’t get drunk enough to enjoy all the drunk fuck ups surrounding us. Except for our comrade Rachel’s, pet lesbian. Who is fucking hysterical. I film the girls going through the fun house in a drunken frenzy of wrongness and after some tumbles and spills we resign ourselves to the fact that tomorrow is another day and by god we are not going to remember it for all the booze we will consume!
Friday morning we pack up our stuff and move to a hotel that will be home for the weekend, a last minute cancellation and Talita putting us down on the waiting list some months before has saved our arse from extortionate taxi fares since this place really is a five minute walk from the site.
The whole set up is pretty fucking sweet in fact, the family that run it have got it nailed down to a tee. There’s breakfast, packed lunch, a bar, they got people camping in the garden and you have first choice of getting the same room the following year. We have struck gold. A short walk up the road later and we are officially ready to party. The first radio show isn’t until tomorrow so we have plenty of time to prepare and more importantly get wasted with everyone else.
And so starts the blur and disjointed time line. For most the day and night we are bumming around between the radio station and backstage area. A friend of ours has rented one of the massive tents and bar in the backstage area out for Friday, and this is where most of our motley London crew can be found. It is basically the Crobar in a field.
I can tell you these facts. I got slaughtered. I’m no black out type, but a whole lot of that night is still missing. Apparently I was twirling around dancing to Faith No more. I do remember watching some of Voivod and Backyard Babies. I think that might have been it for my music viewing pleasure however. May have caught some Opeth. That could have been an entirely different festival though.
O.k. Hands up. I made a faux pas. After doing a bar run which included a little opportunistic theft of a Jager bottle on my part, I staggered back to where everyone I was with was chilling, bumping in to Dimebag Darrell’s missus, Rita on the way and dragging her with to down said bottle with ferocious speed. For some reason I was wandering around outside the radio station shortly after this and was called in by my two friends who were currently in the middle of a live broadcast. Unbeknown to them I was proper mash up! Upon swinging the door open and blurting out “ I’ve got the best fuckin’ story for you” they quickly realised their error and swiftly told me to watch my language. I apologise and then proceed to regale them with my thieving ways. At which point they put a song on. Oops. Big deal right? No I don’t think so either. It’s like 1 am at a rock festival, who the fuck cares. The station manager it seems, who was listening and sent a very unhappy email in. There was definitely some Lucy hating going on the next day that’s for sure. Still cannot remember a goddamn fucking thing of it. Ha.