Thursday, 14 June 2012

Challenge #8: Sarah vs Download Festival

This wasn't on my list, but the fact that Download 2012 is the last festival I will attend as a 20-something and the ridiculous weather conditions I had to endure to enjoy it, I'm adding it as one of the challenges.

Two hats, two vest tops, one hoodie, one fur coat 
and one pair of gloves and I'm still cold

As my sixth visit to Download and my 16th festival in total, spending five nights in a tent was almost second nature and the thought didn't phase me at all. Over the years, I've learned the hard way that wellies are a must, a waterproof coat is essential and a strong stomach can mean the difference between having fun and having the shits.

I've survived wet festivals, I've survived scorching hot festivals, but without a doubt, this year's Download was the wettest, muddiest, messiest and the toughest endurance test I've ever faced out there in the moshing fields.

 Wellies + mud = a good workout for the legs


It started well, we arrived in sunshine, queued in sunshine, pitched in sunshine and then suddenly, it started raining and didn't stop for about 48 hours. The lush green fields turned into muddy streams and the path we were pitched right next to morphed into what looked like a river of diarrhea, and actually could have been considering some of the things that I've witnessed at festivals.

 View from the tent on Day Two

So as Download transformed into Brownload, just walking about became a challenge and we encountered every type of mud you can imagine. Wet and sloppy, thick and sticky, crusty and bouncy, we waded through it all. It was like being on a cross trainer for five days straight.

 Mission to the toilet on Day Three

There were times when I really didn't think I would make it and on Day Two, stuck in separate tents drinking gin as the rain lashed down, I started to wondered where all the fun had gone. Then, on Day Three, when the music started and the rain stopped for a while, it all started to make sense again. And finally seeing Metallica play a two-hour set and the Black Album in its entirety on Day Four made me forget all of the shitty stuff and want to do it again. Fool.

 It just got messier and messier

 Lucky bastard Danny Lad got to watch Metallica on his birthday

My best friend Steve

Team photo: me, Danny Lad and Steve

My Download in numbers...

11.15 on 06.06.12 - the time we arrived
27 - bands seen
15 - bands seen live for the first time
4 - bog rolls used
15,000 (approx) - times I heard someone shout "FENTON, JESUS CHRIST FENTON"
3 - hours spent in Wetherspoons sheltering from the rain
4 - towels purchased to try and stem the leaks in our tent
2 - cheese burgers eaten
2 - jacket spuds eaten
1 - dump taken while there
2 - hours Metallica played for
1 - condom eaten by some drunk dude while queuing to get in on the first day
10 - times I wondered to myself whether condom dude was either dead or in hospital
1 - number of times I later saw the same guy and couldn't believe he was still standing
500 (approx) - times James Hetfield shouted 'YEAH' during Metallica's set
1 - Black album played in its entirety
Shitloads - the amount of people we saw pack up early and leave on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
10kg (approx) - of mud I accidentally brought home with me
07.15 on 11.06.12 - the time we left

"There was this much mud..."

The aftermath. I pity whoever has to clean all this shit up

And would I do it again? Of course, I've started saving for next year's ticket already.

Verdict: WIN!!!


  1. Sounds like you had a blast! Mr H enjoyed it and is determined to also go next year. I'm glad you all survived and I'm also glad to know that the mud was exceptional - don't think Mr H is gonna wanna wash a mountain of muddy clothes like that ever again xx

    1. I'm so glad he had a good time, I was worried he would hate it and go home early. He is a tough soul I'll give him that and it was pretty extreme for his first festival experience. I still need to clean the mud off my wellies, think I'll leave that job 'til I'm fully recovered. You should come next year! x

  2. Hahaha love this post! You shudda whacked some mud on your face and pretended it was a spa too! Love this pic of all 3 of you too, looked like you lot had an awesome time. I still need to experience day...

    I think you should do the numbers thing again, that made me laugh and I like it. Although I can't believe you only went for 1 shit in the whole week hahahaha! x

    1. Thank you, I may do an 'in numbers post again' as it was fun to write.

      You definitely need to experience camping, I'll take you lol. If you had seen the state of those toilets you would be amazed I managed one dump, they were pretty nasty!

  3. Major kudos for sticking it out in all that mud, I've been to some festivals before but not download and never in THAT much muddyness! Although the bands do always make up for the shit weather, it's just a shame they can't play 24/7 the moment people arrive :P

    1. If only they did start playing as soon as people arrive, that would be awesome and would have avoided a whole 48 hours of 'what the hell am I doing here?!!!'

      I'm glad you haven't had to put up with so much mess, but I guess that's part of the experience and part of the fun.

  4. All of that mud looks fun! I love the team photo, hehe. :)


    1. Hey Andrea, despite the hard work trying to trudge through it, it was good fun and a good laugh. Although I think I can easily say that now I've had a week to recover!

      Thanks for visiting.