REVIEW: Download Festival 2024

REVIEW: Download Festival 2024

Willy Wonka missed a trick. His river of chocolate was not the perfect recipe for making a luxurious smooth brown paste. Throw in a couple days of hard rain to fresh green acres of fields in the middle of Leicestershire, add the repeated foot stomping of 70 odd thousand rockers and you have the ultimate recipe for mud smoother than a Shrek milkshake.

Enough of the gourmet advice, the sold out 2024 Download festival welcomed a mix bag of youth, experience, and surprises through spells of glorious sunshine and hard torrential rain, thunder and lightning, the likes of which ACDC would’ve been proud of. Headliners across the weekend delivered on point sets. Queens Of The Stone Age were Fridays finale, sticking to their thick Nirvana/Stooges/MC5 empowered rock ripping straight into Little Sister, there was no time to take a breather, Go With The Flow, Carnavoyeur and the elongated sing a long of Make It Wit Chu helped Josh Homme live his best Pide Piper life encouraging the throngs to follow his lead, with the curtain call of No One Knows and A Song For The Dead, their set cast spells of magic over the hoards who braved the elements.

Further delights on Friday included The Struts exhibiting a confidence between Madonna and Bush, their flares, scarves, leather shoes with wedding dress are as appealing visually as their cocksure anthems. Dreamstate have been dreaming of hitting the floorboards of Download festival for the past 20 years, the crowd are with them too with Chin Up Princess and the huge surge of Primrose. Serial Download Festival appearance makers Black Stone Cherry are back in the midst of torrential downpours to bring some stateside sunshine to proceedings, White Trash Millionaire and Blame It On The Boom Boom don’t mince any words. Wheatus are the appetizer to the main event on Avalanche with their cover of Erasure’s A Little Respect and their timeless youthful anthem Teenage Dirtbag. Busted are however the surprise package of the weekend, the forever youthful threesome enter the stage to probably double the capacity, outside the tent there are thousands overspilling trying to get a glimpse of these rock scamps, who would have thought Year 3000, You Said No and Crashed The Wedding would get so warmly welcomed, the lads on stage were in their element.

Saturday’s headliners Fall Out Boy don’t do things by the norm. Patrick Stump with fellow bandmates Pete Wentz, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley do things their way and everyone follows their abnormal way of doing thing, from the opening bars of Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes to the Leicestershire fields echoing to the fatal notes of Chicago Is So Two Years Ago and Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy, the final hits of balloons, streamers, confetti and fireworks makes for their debut headline slot something special. Further bands to get some Saturday night fever include Guilt Trip delving into their arsenal of anthems with their white hot limbs everywhere, crowd pleasers including Tearing Your Life Away. It feels like The Offspring have been around for forever, which is no bad thing. The band exclaim there over 2 million people in attendance to watch their set, and I’m sure that many would attend if they could hear the likes of Make It All Right and punk classic Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) played tonight like their lives depended on it.

Sunday’s sojourn begins in earnest with Bowling For Soup, minus Chris Burney, frontman Jaret Reddick misses his right hand man, this is the only second gig they’ve played without the guitarist, however 1985 still sounds great and the banter the band offer is just about as hilarious. Sum 41 follow the punk skate theme in earnest, this is promised to be their last UK festival appearance, their scissor kicks are as high and bouncy as ever, In Too Deep, We Will Rock You and Fat Lip bring the throngs of admirers bounding forwards, legs and arms flailing everywhere. Fred Durst only needs to walk out on a stage to hear deafening applause, with his band Limp Bizkit in full support of their leader their rap/rock mix of unique dubs is more than welcome. A brief refrain of Nirvana’s Come As You Are mixed in with Behind Blue Eyes along with band originals Rollin’, Nookie and Break Stuff is a classic warm up for headliners Avenege Sevenfold. Nevermind what looked like an electrical powercut midway through their set that lead to a gigantic karaoke stint of DJ Ötzi’s Hey Baby, this is fortunately only a brief escape from the onslaught of Unholy Confessions, Afterlife, Hail To The King and Bat Country, with a lightshow that would dwarf The London Eye on New Years Eve, promising this might be the bands only visit to these shores for their current album jaunt, the starry eyed crowd make the most of seeing their heroes crying out the last of the bands songs with all their breath.

If its not the weather, it’s the traffic and if its not the traffic it’s the weather. But whatever seems to be a mountain to many, becomes a molehill to everyone who graces the doors of Download Festival. 2025, what have you got to throw at us?

Download Festival

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