Having recently read Dom Lawson’s retaliatory post about all the people on t’internet being a bunch of whiny cunts about Download festival, I can see where he’s coming from. Yeah, yeah, every year when they initially give a line up I inevitably say “that looks wank! I’m not going”, but I usually do.
So yeah, I love Download and do go pretty much every year. Think I’ve only missed one (Kiss/Offspring/LostProphets year) so far. Well, and this years. Should be there right now and deep down, I’m pissed I’m not. Last year, I did Download and Sonisphere for the full weekends, plus days at Leeds (for Limp Bizkit & Weezer) and Hevy Festival (For a Stag-do – and Sylosis, Black Dahlia Murder and Despised Icon were playing), and that run of festival madness damn near bankrupted me. So please, this post isn’t to start a fight or anything, it’s just my point of view of the state of festivals today from my side of the fence.
No, I didn’t go to Download this year. The line-up is fucking atrocious in my opinion, with the exception of a few decent bands and yes, I am going to Sonisphere. Big 4? Gotta see that. I have gripes with all festivals, but Download gets the brunt of the barrage ‘cause it’s the one I’ve been to the most and seen change.
Here we go…
Announcing the line up: Please, PLEASE stop fucking around and announce a decent amount of bands and all major headliners before selling tickets! I’d like to know what’s on the bill before I fork out my hard earned readies on a ticket! What if I bought one after you said “Headlining are System of a Down” only to find the next batch was topped by Kings of Leon and Panic at the Disco. What if all the tickets sold out and it turned into a good line up?? Just tell me the bands at the start and I’ll buy a ticket. Or not.
Price: It’s always going to be an arguing point. Festivals like Download have become ridiculously expensive and it ain’t gonna get any cheaper. It’s gonna get to the point where people the festivals are aimed at won’t be able to afford to go. I can’t see the kids of tomorrow being able to raise the £250 price tag for Download 2015. Some of them might even have to sell their GHD straighteners to raise funds!
I get why it’s becoming increasingly expensive. You want bigger crowds, so you add diversity (not the dance outfit) to the selection of bands and facilities you make available. You want to cover all bases of rock, metal, punk, emo, hardcore, thrash and so on and so forth, so you add more stages and more bands to bring in crowds into that scene. And that’s all fine, but…
Think about it. You put on 40 odd bands per day, yeah? We then have to pay for the privilege of having 40 odd bands and pay a little extra to cover the costs of said fantastic/shite bands to play for our amusement. Well, I can’t watch more than one at a time, can I? So why should I have to pay the extra for you to add a bunch of Emo bands to the bill to draw in an Emo crowd? Why should there be a price increase for everyone so you can sell more tickets and add bands that I won’t get to see ‘cause they’ll be on at the same time as other bands. Ok, I like the fact that there’s choice. I’ll pay for good choice. Let’s say I wanna watch Linkin Park, but Rob Zombie’s on at the same time. I’m paying for some of Linkin Park’s fee and I won’t get to see ‘em! Heres another: Korn/My Chemical Romance a few years back. Why should my ticket price increase so MCR can play. I didn’t want them there, I was happy watching Korn.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ranting here saying we should have ticket fees depending on the amount of bands we intend to watch or a fee per band, etc. That would be shite. But please, can you take into account that we can’t watch all bands that are on the bill. It’s just not physically possible, so why should we have to pay so much? £200 for 200 bands is a great deal. Tho, I’m only gonna manage to see about 40 of em, so not so good.
Food: Right, there’s no way I can afford £7 for a feckin Burger n chips everyday. Having already blown £200 on a ticket, £10 for a car park, money for fuel and camping drinks, I’m bloody skint. So what do you do to help us poor, hungry metallers? That’s right, you make us pay £5 for a burger. Last year we were paying nearly £8 for a chicken wrap!
We’re not allowed to take food into the arena these days, so we’re forced to pay unfair prices for food. Same for beer! I remember when you were allowed to take in plastic containers of beer and drink. You even take unopened bottles of water off us! Daylight fucking robbery!! Isn’t a music festival about us watching the bands that you put on for us to enjoy, and not about you robbing us blind at for the luxury of eating??
Download especially pisses me off for this point. You’ve moved the arena further from the camp site, so now I can’t save money by nipping back to my tent for a cheeky pot noodle! If I did, it’s a half hour stroll to the tent, cook and eat, walk back and oh! I’ve missed 3 bands! Yes, I’m a lazy fucker, but that’s not a quick walk for anyone is it? At least at Sonisphere they didn’t fleece me of a bag of crisps and a fucking apple like Download did!
Beer: It’s too expensive and you fucking know it!
Festival Bogs: I can’t really complain about the festival bogs at Download or Sonisphere. I went to Leeds for the day last year and I’ve never seen anything like it! Disgusting doesn’t cover the state of these things! As much as I hate festy bogs, my congratulations go to metal festivals where we can have a relatively clean shitting experience!
Distance from the camp: Ok, I’ve touched on this but why is the campsite soooooo far from the Download arena these days? Ok, they’re doing stuff to the track so you had to move the arena. So move the bloody camp to be nearer it! I like the newer layout of Download, it’s much better than it was when it was by the track, but there’s no point clinging to Donington Park if the festival isn’t there. It’s an epic walk now if you do need to go back n forth to your tent, as some people do.
It’s these reasons that do my head in about festivals and Download specifically, these days, not primarily the selection of bands playing. I’ll still go every year and tolerate the nonsense for the love of the music played, the laughs I have with friends there and the random people who make the camping much more fun!
My decision to not go to Download this year is just a money and line-up thing. If I miraculously came into a spare £200, I’d have gone. I’d go for the day ‘cause I want to check out System of a Down and Alter Bridge, but £80 for a ticket is a li’l much, don’t ya think? It’s £200 for weekend plus camping, so where did you magic the price of £80 for the day with no camping from? Pull that out of your arse, did ya? You might think £80 for all those bands is a good deal. If I could watch all the bands, it probably would be, but it’s PHYSICALLY FUCKING IMPOSSIBLE!!!!! Ain’t it?
These are only my opinions based on going to festivals for the last 17 years or so and how things have changed… not always for the better. I’ve got plenty of festival experience and love and hate them. I’ve been to Donington/Download, Sonisphere, Reading, Leeds, Dynamo and more. I’ve had some great times with many people and friends at festivals and some shite times where we’ve been robbed and had our weekends spoiled by fucking dickheads who’ve got no respect for anyone.
So please, I’m not after a ‘war of words’ over this. I’m just passing on my side of the story.