I have returned from the Download Festival, exhausted.
Not for the first time in my life (or even this week), I grossly overestimated my endurance. It turns out that climbing Mount Doom, catching a 9-hour bus, drinking all night, sleeping on a sofa, catching a 24-flight and (12-hours later) embarking on a 5-day long booze and music binge…is not possible.
Not without eventually passing out. In your chair. With a gin and tonic clutched in a death grip.
Thus was my Wednesday night at Download spent.
HOWEVER! Despite the fact that I couldn’t stay awake late into the night, I managed to have the absolute best time in the arena during the days, rocking out to Rammstein, Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age, Black Stone Cherry, Stone Sour, Turisas, Airbourne, Amon Amarth, Down, Kvelertak, Devin Townsend and Gogol Bordello.
Choosing a favourite is virtually impossible, but highlights included Cossack dancing to Gogol Bordello, battling to Turisas and standing in awe of the raw energy of Kvelertak. Seeing Devin Townsend playing acoustic was also one of the greatest things I have ever, ever witnessed. I actually shed a tear at his sheer brilliance!
Rammstein were, of course, life-changing-ly epic. Never have I pitted so hard for so long.
It was also interesting to sit and reflect on the fact that, this time last year, I walked out of my job, went to Download and never returned to a life of employment.
It has not been an easy year, not by a long way. Yet I am still here, I have just spent 3 months travelling on the other side of the world and I am still clinging to the belief that all of us can do more with our lives than we dare to admit.
Hopefully, I will prove this to myself even more during this next year.
Merry Downloadmas, everybody!