I have always wanted to visit Flemington race-course, I never imagined though that when I did I would be there to witness a slew of heavy international and local bands tear things up. I know this is not the first time that metal and Flemington have come together but it is however my first time witnessing such an event. It is also the very first time that the premiere world-renowned festival Download is putting on such an event with the intent to keep doing so, filling a much-needed hole in our rock, metal, festival scene. Swap out the suit and ties and replace them with black shirts, get rid of those heels, get on your gumboots and put on your war paint because things are about to get heavy.
Let’s start with the basics. Getting there was extremely simple and easy, I caught the train right into the festival and once inside I was blown away by how big it was, so much larger in scope then I had envisioned in my mind. I take out my trusty Download app and it helps me navigate between stages, alerts me of my set times and everything else I need to enjoy my day. I grab a drink, the bar lines move quite fast and the alcohol is festival priced but full strength, a big thing to a Sydney-sider. When I am not drinking or head-banging I am eating and the food on site was top notch, I am a sucker for a Mary’s Burger and today was no different, fucking delicious. Now aside from the bands there was an inflatable church where all folks were welcome to show their love and get hitched in unholy matrimony, you don’t see that at every festival you go to and I got my photo taken with the Download Dog.
When it comes to the music what can I say, you have 28 bands spread across four stages. You won’t get to catch them all but the set-up of Download was so good that getting between stages quickly and catching as much of the band sets as possible was easy, they were spaced just far enough apart that sounds didn’t overlap and it wasn’t a case of oh man I got to get all the way over there. Having the signing tent and the calibre of top artist that you could meet was another real special addition to the festival and saw many fans have a chance to meet their favourite bands.
Let’s talk acts, of course many of the acts on the bill would just be sensational but let’s give a few shout-outs. Gojira were truly the highlight of the day for a lot of people, Neck Deep showed us why they are one of the most loved punk bands on the bill, Falling In Reverse had flown 25 hours to be here and made a video call to US tour mate Jacoby from Papa Roach, the ever loyal ST army moshed out like psychos, Limp Bizket rocked their set, much talked about super-group Prophets Of Rage, really gave the people something to talk about as they took to the stage and delivered a rage filled set and an ending you will never forget. In their only Australian appearance Korn just wowed us, playing I think every song the band has ever recorded and more I have never heard a better rendition of Snakes and ladders as I did tonight, sensational.
The rain may have come early in the day but once the sun came out and the rock gods shone down upon us things were nothing short of fucking awesome. So many things go into making a festival great from the organisers to the staff on the day, and I found my interactions on the day to be world class, well done to everyone involved. I have a feeling they will be back and even if it does expand, this Sydney-sider still will be making his way to Domington as it was tributarily renamed on the day.
Review – Chad
Photo Gallery – Christian Ross