Sunday is a strange day, you know it’s the last day and it’s almost time to go back to reality but there’s still one day left, good job really tokens need to be spent. Having been woken by the planes (maybe there just wasn’t enough drinking yesterday) it was a really beautiful morning, blue skies and a warming sun well it was up to about 9am when the darkest clouds descended on Donington Park – very reminiscent of Slipknot’s cloud of 2005. We had been promised rain and boy did we get it, could it be as bad as last year’s deluge? In the Festivals For All camp we came prepared (well 3 out of 4 of us did) wellies, waterproof trousers, waterproof jackets and the obligatory bin bags. The arena was very quiet at 11:15 when we finally got to it, was everybody sheltering in the tents?

Belligerence – Red Bull Tent
We had heard good things about Belligerence and they were on the FFA must see list, we weren’t disappointed. The tent was packed with people trying to shelter from the rain, and must have been a wonderful site for the 4 piece from Portsmouth when they stepped out on stage. If you put Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and the vocals of Rob Flynn into a mixing pot of rock, out would pop Belligerence. Good heavy classic rock is very much appreciated by the crowd, I for one will make time to see them again. SCREAM FOR ME DONINGTONNNNNNNNNNNN will live long in the memory of Belligerence and hopefully we will see them back on the hallowed turf once again.

October File
October File don’t look like they belong at Download, but their music certainly does. Growling vocals and the tightness of the band soon get the heads banging and the fists pumping. They have melody and they have speed but most of all they have a real belief in themselves and it shows, having fun on stage means the crowd have fun too.

Heavens Basement – Jagermeister Stage
Braving the rain to see one of the best new bands in the UK is well worth it. New singer Aaron really does fit in and his rapport with the crowd is excellent, playing their first Download they play some old and some new songs and the crowd react in giving as much back to the band. Is the acoustic stage right at a place like download? It is right now and it works well, seeing a band in this format is great fun and the band are enjoying it too. Aaron introduces “Rain” to the crowd, as if we haven’t had enough of it already but Heaven’s Basement’s rain is not damp in the slightest, we also get a chance to sing “Comfortably Numb” and Aaron gets a chance to crowd surf on an acoustic stage. Certainly looking forward to seeing them again with a bit of volume, you should too.

Having never seen GWAR before, I wasn’t sure what to expect other than outlandish monster costumes. Musically they play heavy rock with a gruff vocal, visually they are monsters with special effects. The show tells a story of love (for a dead dog), hatred for a monarch and triumph over evil (by a greater evil) well I think that was what the story was about. There was more blood and gore on show than at an abattoir, but I get the feeling that was the aim. The front rows of the crowd were continually covered in fake blood and probably still are! GWAR have been around for years and with a show like this they will probably be around for a few more.

The Gaslight Anthem
The Rain was really taking its toll on the crowd, I can’t remember the last time I managed to walk to the front of the main stage so easily. The Gaslight Anthem come on to muted applause, but from the opening beats of “Orphans” the crowd soon start to forget about the rain and enjoy the band’s music. The Gaslight Anthem are a difficult band to describe, they kind of remind me of The Clash, playing good songs with a rock / punk edge. You can see on the face of Brian Fallon that this gig really does mean a lot to the band, he just can’t stop smiling, he even tells the crowd that his Mom didn’t want him listening to rock music when we was an impressionable teenager, but on today’s performance I’m kind of glad he did. The band have some great tunes and please the crowd immensely with “American Slang”, “The 59 Sound” and “1930” all stories of the great American dream.

Buckcherry play good old sleazy Rock n Roll, and they never let the crowd down. Today is no exception despite the rain and the band swagger around the stage playing to the crowd. “Rescue me” gets the crowd in the mood and from that point on they don’t stop singing, sod the rain this is Buckcherry I hear the guy behind me say to his girlfriend as she continues to winge, if only Josh had heard they would have played “Crazy Bitch” there and then instead of waiting till the end of the set.

Bullet For My Valentine
Is it really only a year since the headlined the 2nd stage? I’m not sure about repeat bookings but some just need to be made and judging by the size of the crowd this one is justified. Ripping through the first 3 songs at break neck speed it seems that the boys from Wales are here to entertain and have a bit of fun at the same time. It seems that British metal is in good hands and one day BFMV will headline this festival, it just needs to be in a few years and not next! “Scream Aim Fire” is just one of the highlights of a set that gives us old and new material, roll on 2014/15 when the boys will be back with even more pyro to close the festival.

The Cult
The first time I saw The Cult was in 1984 and have seen them many times more, oh how I love this band. The rain finally stopped just before the arrival of the band and what song to they play first? You got it “Rain”, quickly running through their greatest hits, Ian Astbury is always a polite man and he responds to the adulation of the fans are giving with a thank you after every song. “Sweet Soul Sister” is just one of the highlights, “Lil Devil” is another. Billy Duffy the other original member doesn’t speak that often during a show but when he does the crowd take notice, but all he can say is “it’s a bit weird looking at you lot, I keep thinking were playing to a bunch of fishermen” who said a band never take notice of what their audience is wearing? Bringing out the big guns for the finale, the opening riff of “She Sells Sanctuary” is greeted with delight and when that finishes they launch into the majestic “Love Removal machine”. Oh how I still love this band.    

Rob Zombie
Listening to Johnny Cash over the PA was a little strange to say the least, however it seemed to lighten the mood after the day’s rain and why oh why are bands late coming on stage? I just don’t get it, I always feel I’m being short changed as we all know they have a curfew. Being late by 15 minutes is no crime but…… Zombie, Zombie, Zombie chant the crowd, smoke engulfs the giant robot on stage, the band appear and the opening to “Jesus Frankenstein” fills the air, Rob Zombie emerges from his hiding place (it would have been the first place we looked, honest) and the show begins. The screens at the back of the stage are so much part of the show that you almost feel you will miss something if you take your eyes of them, but the great man himself is strutting his stuff below, keeping pace with the band and graphics is no mean feat. With songs such as “Sick Bubble Gum”, “Pussy Liquor” and “Mars Needs Women” the crowd are given a chance to sing with their hero, he even goes back to the White Zombie days with “Super charger Heaven” and “Thunder Kiss 65”. He disappears from the stage and the thought that this might be over is a little disturbing, but he reappears to play the wonderful “Dragula” and the he’s gone again, unfortunately this time for good. Ok so I have now forgiven him for being 15 minutes late, but next time it’s detention.