100,000 people descended on Donington Park this weekend to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the UK's premier rock festival: Download. Over 100 bands played across five stages, including headliners The Prodigy, Metallica and Black Sabbath.
Mud and rain took centre stage for the first three days of the 5-day festival but failed to dampen the spirits of festival goers who donned their waterproofs and wellies and kept on rocking with a huge variety of entertainment across the site including a Friday night 'Download Legends' ball, comedy, fairground rides and exclusive acoustic performances in the backstage press area from Halestorm, Steel Panther and Shinedown.
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Friday night saw the Download debut of dance duo Chase & Status who ripped the Main Stage a new one, before headliners The Prodigy came forth and conquered with an incredible set packed with hits including 'Omen', 'Voodoo People', 'Firestarter' and 'Their Law'.
Special collaborations over the weekend included Corey Taylor joining Steel Panther on stage for 'Death To All But Metal', and Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oli Sykes joining Saturday Zippo Encore stage headliners You Me At Six for final song 'Bite My Tongue'.
Metallica returned to Donington for the seventh time to headline Saturday's Main Stage, performing the 'Black Album' in its entirety, plus hits including 'Master Of Puppets' and 'Seek And Destroy', with the huge crowd furiously fist punching the air whilst fireworks and pyro's closed the two hour performance.
Black Sabbath headlines last night, with other acts scheduled including the long-awaited return of Soundgarden, Megadeth, Refused, Shinedown and Anthrax.
The infamous Download Dog even made a special appearance at a backstage press conference with Festival Director John Probyn and Festival promoter Andy Copping, where a massive 10th birthday cake iced by Radio 1's Rock Show host Daniel P Carter was unveiled. It was announced during the press conference that a limited amount of Download 2013 'early bird' tickets will go on sale 9am Friday 15 June, from the official website www.downloadfestival.co.uk. A new deposit scheme will be introduced, for more information check the website. Download 2013 will take place 14-16 June.
The Download online team worked tirelessly throughout the weekend to post hundreds of photos of a huge range of bands that played the festival on the Download website, with live reviews from all three days added along with interviews with acts including Trivium, Killswitch Engage, Corey Taylor and Axe Wound. Hundreds of people were logging on to the Download web forums, Facebook and Twitter during the festival for the latest updates, news and images, with fans praising the new Download App which constantly provided the most up-to-date festival information.
The Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage returned to Download and once again proved it was the place to see the best up and coming acts from across the UK and beyond. Bringing with it a line up that included 8 successful bands from this year's Red Bull Bedroom Jam online platform as well as a hand picked selection from past seasons, the energy on stage never let up with each band giving their all for the first of this year's festival performances.
Day one saw ska-punk hero's, Jellycats take to the stage closely followed by the formidable Dead Harts and Reachback. The main event of the day however was the surprise addition of Cancer Bats to the headline slot, following the cancellation of their main stage appearance due to adverse weather conditions. Needless to say the audience was captivated as the band drew an even larger crowd from outside the tent. Following a momentous first day, Saturday saw no let-up in the energy with Golden Tanks and I Divide ploughing into the crowd with their fast paced offerings. The tent was bouncing to the sounds of Bedroom Jam's impressive talent.
The onset of much appreciated sunshine on Sunday gave Scottish rockers Mechanical Smile, South London based Adelaide and Birmingham's finest, Strangle Kojak the impressive atmosphere they so deserved as they began the job of wrapping up events on the Red Bull stage. A final day of performances that the biggest of bands would be pleased to produce. To check out what's coming up next on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam, head to www.redbullbedroomjam.com and follow the band's progress through this year's project.
Download Festival's support for Cancer Research UK continues, and this year saw a backstage photo studio set up for the 'Body of Art' project, shooting some of the tattooed acts appearing on the bill this weekend.
Download Festival specials will broadcast next month on Sky Arts with bands included in the programming including Slash, The Prodigy and Metallica, and interviews including Jack Black of Tenacious D. These will broadcast on Palladia and VH1 Classic in the USA later in the year.
John Probyn, Download Festival Director said: "All of us who have worked on Download over the last ten years are very proud to have reached this milestone, and what a weekend it has been! God threw the kitchen sink at us this year and we dealt with it. Not everything was perfect for the 10th Anniversary, but we all got to enjoy it, and the show DID go on!"
Download 2012 presented new challenges, but with staff working through the night on the ground, fixing the known issues and with festival-goers remaining patient and in high spirits, Download was once again a massive success.
John Probyn added: "We are aware of some of the specific issues some customers faced as a result of the bad weather and the effect this has on the festival site and we can assure customers that every effort was made to prepare the ground prior to the event. All options were considered to manage this situation, but unfortunately there was nothing that could be done to prevent the resulting ground conditions. We will use the events of 2012 to once again improve the site for years to come."
Andy Copping, Download Festival promoter added: "This year is undoubtedly the biggest and best line up we've ever had at Download, and we've seen some absolutely cracking performances to help us celebrate our 10th anniversary. The crowds have been fantastic, there's been a real display of true Brit spirit on site to help us through the more challenging parts of the weekend, and to have had Black Sabbath, Metallica and The Prodigy headline our big birthday bash has been amazing. I'll be raising my glass to every single person on site this weekend later!"
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