life :: download

So while it’s still kinda fresh (and I finally am too after 5 days without a shower), I thought I’d tell you my highlights from Download Festival. It’s been over a week since I returned, but all the moments are still are the forefront of my mind.

I even spotted someone in Lancaster town centre on Monday with a Download t-shirt on…I nearly went up to them and asked what they thought of it. Then I realised that would just be weird, and with an awkward made-eye-contact-by-now grin on my face, walked past them.

Download Festival, if you don’t know, is a festival for anyone who loves rock music. The levels of “rock” vary from sorta indie to classic rock to your screamo. Whatever takes your pick, there’s something to suit all rock fans.

I experienced Download for the first time at 16, when I ventured down to Donington with my cousin. I could not have asked for a more perfect three days of music. To this date, Aerosmith are the band I’ve most enjoyed live, and no one as of yet has beaten Avenged Sevenfold on quality.

This year, however, has brought about some strong contenders performance wise.

Before the music began on the Friday, my friend and I had two days of perfect weather to laze about in the sun, and spend a small, and accidental fortune on the rides in the campsite village. Nevertheless, it was so much fun. I described night one on Instagram as “a rosé filled, head spinning, slightly mental start to #dl2016” and that couldn’t be more accurate.


I was lucky enough to get to watch one of my favourite bands ever at Download this year. Twin Atlantic are one of the reasons I wanted to go to Donington so badly. They are just so good. Lead vocals, Sam McTrusty, has one of those voices you couldn’t ever get bored of. I started listening to them after hearing them be played on Radio1, and haven’t stopped since. Their Scottish twang makes them unique and interesting to listen to, and their lyrics are just class.

Tracks to listen to:

  • Crash Land
  • We Want Better Man
  • Heart & Soul
  • Yes, I Was Drunk
  • Make a Beast of Myself
  • What Is Light? Where Is Laughter?



Whether you’ve heard of this band or not, it’s best to say that they’re German, and you won’t be alone if you’ve no idea what they’re singing about. However, their stage presence, pyrotechnics and lighting made it a real show. They were definitely my favourite headliner of the weekend. I haven’t really listened to them much before; to be honest, they give me the creeps and I feel like I’m singing along to some kinda cult. However, they are quite “techno” and the tracks are mostly instrumental and repeated German.

Tracks to listen to:

  • Du Hast
  • Amerika
  • Feuer Frei



This band were my surprise love of the weekend. I had not consciously heard any of their stuff before, but I really enjoyed it. Slightly shouty and screamy (depends what you like), I just enjoyed the real performance they put on. The lead vocalist was in his element, running around on stage like he was off his rocker! It was so much fun.

I don’t know this band well enough to recommend tracks, so check them out for yourself if they sound like something you would be into.



If you don’t know who Black Sabbath are then I don’t quite know what to do with you. Ozzy Osbourne. Yeah. So Black Sabbath are that (mahoosive) band he sings for.

Man, what can I say.

I lasted about five songs before I had to be lifted out of the pit; I was so close to passing out. But this little event was like my 15 seconds (not minutes) of fame, as it involved crowdsurfing. Some (beautiful) guy got me up on his shoulder and I had to clamber up the hoards of random men to get myself out of the disgusting heat and sweat I had been stuck between. I sat up on these few people’s shoulders and just looked at security like “whaaaaat on earth do I do now” – they were motioning for me to come toward them so i just lay forward and crowdsurfed out on my front – BEYOND FUN! I WANNA DO IT AGAIN!!!

After this happened, I fed myself some rained-on sweet potato fries and thought, you know what. Let’s go on the Ferris Wheel and watch Black Sabbath from up to. So, I trekked through the deep, every increasing mud and made it to the wheel. The fiver I spent on this was soooo worth it, and the 85,000 people and even the Lemmy stage looked so tiny yet so powerful. It was definitely five minutes of my life that I won’t even forget.

Post-Ferris wheel, I walked up the hill by the campsite, stopping to watch the end and the encore as the heavens opened. It’s weirdly fun watching live music in the rain, it creates and atmosphere of not caring what is going on and just giving your all.

Tracks to listen to:

  • War Pigs
  • End Of The Beginning
  • Iron Man
  • Fairies Wear Boots
  • Paranoid


We kicked Sunday off with good old Halestorm. As one of my favourite bands, I have only positive things to say. I saw them for the first time in February 2015, and it was one of the best gigs I’ve been to. Lzzy Hale is alwaysssss on fire, with screamy and screechy vocals that only show how capable her lungs are. She never fails to impress. Arejay, her brother, outdid himself on drums as usual, and gave us a few-minute drum solo. He’s also a super beautiful human, I would have had no problem watching a longer drum solo… Halestorm can be compared to Paramore, especially Lzzy and Hayley who share a few similarities. But I just love Halestorm’s consistent energy, and their passion and love for what they do never fails to come across.

Tracks to listen to:

  • Love Bites (And So Do I)
  • I Am The Fire
  • Apocalyptic
  • Mz. Hyde
  • Beautiful With You
  • Break In



After the Hales, we were treated to the heavenly vocals of Brent Smith and band: Shinedown. By far one of my favourite bands, I love Shinedown for their lyrical masterpieces. The tracks are always so moving, with a story to tell and I can now say, even better live. Singing genuinely beautiful songs like I’ll Follow You and Simple Man with about 85,000 people was a moment I will never forget.

Tracks to listen to:

  • I’ll Follow You
  • Amaryllis
  • Cut The Cord
  • Enemies
  • Second Chance
  • Simple Man



During Disturbed (a great band, but I only know one song – Down with the Sickness),  my friend and I popped off to the Kerrang Signing tent. While waiting in the crowd for Disturbed (like a 40 minute wait), I spied on the big screen, the opportunity to meet Tremonti. As Alter Bridge are up there in my top 5 bands, I just had to go meet them. Tremonti, although a separate band, are related because of Mark Tremonti (name drop) who is Alter Bridge’s guitarist. I feel I’ve made this confusing…but never mind.

So we queued with the like 30 other people who had picked up on this opportunity, or were just like me and really keen for “bae”. I’ve been star-struck before, but this was on a different level. I saw Alter Bridge perform at Download in 2014, so going from seeing them perform on the main stage two years ago, to shaking Tremonti’s hand and having a conversation with him was just indescribable.

Said conversation was about my face glitter and it went a little bit like this…

Tremonti: What’s that

Anna: Oh *giggles and touches face sheepishly and blushes like MAD* just like face glitter

Tremonti: I like it – I’m gonna get some of that for myself next time

I love him.

Tracks to listen to:

  • Brains
  • All I Was
  • Once Dead


This post has taken me forever to compile so I hope even if you’re not a rock music fan, you can appreciate it – and perhaps you’ll see the light and enjoy the best type of music (no bias whatsoever).


Lots of love,


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