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Festivals 2014

I'm a Prissy Girl and I Threw Myself Into the Pit at Download

Let’s get one thing straight - I’m a princess.

by Stephanie Parkes
17 June 2014, 4:17pm

Let’s get one thing straight - I’m a princess. Not one of those cell-shaded hussies that duets with woodland animals and sits atop milk-floats in the Summer, but a bona-fide silk-stocking that will burst into tears if my morning toast arrives with the crust still on.

With that in mind, some metal-overlord decided it would be a fabulous idea to send me to Download. A festival filled with mud, belly-fat, and sweaty balding men that haven’t used deodorant in two weeks? Sure, why not. I’ll get involved as long as I’m allowed to wear a headband made out of pink flowers. I’ll never miss an opportunity to dress up.

I arrived on Friday morning and dodged, what I can only assume, was a bearded lady and a legion of blood soaked zombies. Lots of people had decided to dress up - or maybe they hadn’t made an effort at all. It was hard to tell.

I immediately went to watch a band called Skindred on the Main Stage and found myself among a crowd of 50,000 metal fans - who decided that, in order to really appreciate the dulcet tones of “Newport Helicopter”, they had to take their shirts off and lasso them in the air.

For 0.2 seconds - or the time it took to reach for my Rescue Remedy - I considered joining in with the twirling. Then I realised taking my top off would ruin my hair; not to mention ruffle the flower crown I’d specifically bought online from ASOS because it looked “cute”. Plus - naked men, eww.

I’d only been here half an hour but it was time for my scheduled lunch-break. I found my bearings - somewhere in between the REALLY LOUD side of Download and the other REALLY LOUD side of Download - and picked up a vegan delicacy. You’ve really got to hand it to festivals - they cater for everyone these days.

We stopped off at the Red Bull Stage to see Drones but I got a bit distracted.

Any idea on who this guy decided to dress up as? I’m going for Christmas decoration that is sold in BHS.

You can say what you like about Instagram - that it’s a service created to aid me and my girls in our mission to convince the world our heads are permanently tilted - but at Download I learnt that Instagram is for everyone. The living dead went wild to get a photo with a sign that spelled out the festival’s name - a word that, probably, still perpetuates Lars Ulrich’s nightmares.

We watched a bit of Avenged Sevenfold - they were alright but we left and went to watch The Offspring instead who were playing a 20-year anniversary celebration. As they played the “hits” from their third album Smash, I couldn’t help but remind myself that Dexter Holland was 35 when he wrote “Original Prankster”.

Of course, I didn’t actually camp at Download. We’d booked a hotel. The only problem is that I couldn’t work out if Download was in Leicestershire or Derbyshire (it has a Derbyshire postcode but is in Leicestershire) and the hotel we booked was several miles down the M1. I had a Herbal Essences bath and went to bed smelling of silk.

I woke up bright and early ready to tackle Day 2 at the world’s biggest legal Satanic celebration. I had a guest pass - obviously - and decided to head backstage to try and find some totty. I ran into Fozzy’s lead singer and ex-WWE wrestler Chris Jericho - he couldn’t help but remind us about his career past because he climbed the ring during Fozzy’s performance.

Bowling for Soup had an enormous crowd. I guess 50,000 people still really enjoy listening to songs with titles like “My Wena” and that one good single Bowling for Soup released back when it was sort of acceptable to wear shorts that went over the knee but I had a terrible time.

At Killswitch Engage (seriously, what on earth is going on with the band names?) a bunch of fans thought it would be a great idea to start a circle pit - which, I’d been reliably informed, involved a circle and a “pit” which was basically just a small location in which physical assault was applauded. It was pretty weird. I got trapped, fell over, and got shouted at for being a girl. I left feeling proud of myself.

I spotted a bunch of people who, if it existed, would probably win the festival cup-collecting championship.

They work as rubbish collectors that get paid 10p per each cup they collect. Don’t ask me why anyone would pick rubbish off the ground when they could just use their credit card - I don’t have an answer. Sorry.

I quickly learnt that Download Festival is all about the headliners - both Linkin Park and Fall Out Boy took to the main stage on Saturday. TBH I couldn’t name more than three of each of their songs but it was kind of enjoyable - mostly because it made me really happy that I stood up to my sixteen year-old boyfriend and haven’t replied to any of his texts since.

Everyone had a great time at Fall out Boy - a young girl aged no more than seven was in the crowd wearing a Happy Birthday badge. They played “Thnks fr the Mmrs”, “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and that other one they wrote with 2 Chainz for whatever reason.

Here’s me looking demented with Patrick Stump. HIYA!!!!!

I couldn’t get any higher than this. I’d met a famous person in a famous band and my work here was done. My Princess duties - mind your own business - meant that I couldn’t stay to watch Aerosmith and Steel Panther on the Sunday and I left right after meeting Patrick.

So yeah - Download Festival was kind of enjoyable, mostly loud, and I’ve got literally thousands of stories to tell my friends when we go for iced-frappucinos on Sunday brunch. Fab!

Follow Stephanie on Twitter - @SteffanieParkes

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