If my last post about Sweden Rock Festival didn’t do it for your or just got you started, here is the next big festival sure to send any rock fan into hardcore metal spasms! The 2013 Download Festival headlining acts have been announced: Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Rammstein. Other confirmed performers for 2013 are Blue For My Valentine, Queens of the Stoneage, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Motorhead, Alice in Chains (one of my fav’s being that I am from Seattle), Him, The Gaslight Anthem, Mastodon, Volbeat, Stone Sour, A Day to Remember, Coal Chamber and more acts that have yet to be announced.
Download Festival is the UK’s answer to a rock your ass off weekend. The 2013 DLF runs June 14-16, 2013 at Donnington Park where the three counties of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire meet. You can purchase your tickets to the show as well as camping access and parking permits directly from the Download Festival Tickets site. Tickets are available for the entire weekend only, no 1 day tickets are being sold at this time and no word if they will be releasing any 1 day tickets yet. Weekend tickets start at £170 (approx $277 USD) and go up based on any other services you want to add-on such as camping. Parking permits are £20 (approx $33 USD), lockers £15 (approx $25 USD), RIP Passes also known as Guest Area Passes £99 (approx $161 USD). RIP/Guest Area Passes give you access to better food and toilet facilities, not the bands.
Similar to Sweden Rock, most people attending DLF will camp at the festival grounds, but hotels are available in the surrounding towns of Derby, Castle Donnington and Melbourne. The weather is always evolving in the UK so make sure you are prepared for cooler temperatures and rain. I will even suggest having a good pair of Wellies on hand (that’s rainboots to us American’s). The festival site gets muddy in the rain so be prepared. It will make your experience much more comfortable.
There are shuttles available to and from the festival from Derby and East Midlands Parkway stations Wednesday through Monday. Big Green Coaches will also be running services throughout the UK to DLF. To book via Big Green Coaches. If you will need to take a plane to get to the UK the closest airport to Donnington Park is East Midlands International. It is about 2.5 miles from the park. If traveling from the USA you can get a flight to East Midlands via Delta and Air France as they service this location. If you need more flexibility in flights the next closest international airport is Birmingham (BHX) which is southwest of Donnington Park by about an hours drive up the M42 then A42. If you do drive, I highly and I mean HIGHLY, recommend getting a GPS and an actual map, the GPS will take you off the main roads from time to time, so make sure to set it to main highways, but having a hard map can save you when that GPS acts up! I know my way around the lower Midlands and south/southwest now without having to rely on assistance but north of London I still use a map and a GPS and plan my route before I drive because the roads are a bit different in the UK than the USA, not to mention you drive on the left side of the road in the UK.
Driver’s are fairly aggressive in the UK, but if you have ever driven in Chicago, Seattle, the IH-35 corridor from Dallas to San Antonio, I-5 corridor from Oakland to San Diego, D.C. or NYC areas you will be prepared for the drivers. Stay to your left on the highway if you are not confident of driving otherwise you will get the impression that drivers are trying to push you off the road. The speed limit signs are also in mph in the UK, not kph. One other tip I can give you, when you rent/hire your car, if you do it online you make sure to select only automatics if you can not drive a manual/stick or are not confident with a manual. The gear box will be on your left in a UK car meaning you will have to shift with your left hand, the petals are the same as in the USA though.
If you are planning on making the trip I recommend that if you have the time, spend some time on the road in the UK and visit towns along the way to take in the sights and culture. I have been to the UK numerous times and I never need a reason to travel there. The UK has some of the friendliest people I have met and there is so much to do whether you are traveling there for music, architecture, historical sites, nature, fashion or anything else. If you are looking to catch any other live music acts while in the UK you can find the O2 Academy in New Castle, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, London Shepherds Bush Empire, Bristol, Oxford, Brixton, Glasgow, Sheffield. In Nottingham there is Nottingham Rock City. These are great venues to catch live acts in. If you only go for DLF you are sure to have a fantastic time, but if you can squeeze anymore time into your holiday you will have an even better trip!