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The Download Lowdown

Get all the goss from our presenters and the Radio 1 team as we go and about at Download!

On our presenters

Joe, Radio 1 important producer type person

The day started like this: The radio is on. OPM's Heaven Is A Half Pipe is playing.

Dan: Oh man, I hate this song. It is utterly horrible.

Mike: wrote this one too?

And that's how it goes. For most of the day. Dan Carter and Mike Davies can argue about anything. The journey back from the festival took an hour and half. First they debated the quality of the Gibson stage sound. Within 60 minutes they were squabbling over the most effective modern treatment for diabetes. They agree that Jonny Truant rocked. They quibbled over their place on the bill. They agree to watch Testament. They disagree over going to HIM. They agree that it's sunglasses weather. They disagree over the wearing of white Ray Bans.

This is like being at Donington with Ricky and Bianca. But in a good way.

Dan and Mike not really fighting


Short but sweet

Mike Davies, Radio 1 punk type person

Dan is a hippie. That's it for now. A dirty, stinky, hairy hippie.


End of the day

Daniel P Carter, Radio 1 rock type person

So day two is over. What can I tell you? I think Mike and I are gonna have to duke it out before tomorrow ends. The unrelenting sarcasm is reaching meltdown, made all the more infuriating by the fact that during Fearne and Reggies show the Guitar Hero 'Sweet Child O Mine' competition Mike beat me by a few thousand points. Lame.

Interviews went pretty well. Got to chat to Biffy Clyro, Ville Valo, Johnny Truant, Chuck Billy from Testament, Matt BFMV and Iain and Aled from Kids In Glass Houses. Good times. The fact that Testament were the first ever band I saw play waaaaaaaaay back in the dizzle made it all the more special. I told Chuck that and realised I was totally approching the point of geeking out, so managed to pull it back just in time.

During Fearne and Reggies Rock-Quest show (clever) I had to go into the tent with a bunch of amps and guitars to try out and had to play bass live on Radio One. Whilst Kerry King from Slayer was in the room. No pressure.

Mike puckers up to Dan

Due to a bunch of interviews, bass solo's and general bowling around like a lord/mug, I only got to see a few bands today. Johnny Truant played a blinding set to a full tent, circle pits and metal, as soon as singer Olly saw me taking pictures at the side of the stage he turned on the swear button. This is because prior to their recent Rock Show session I offered up a swear warning at the start and said he had a 'mouth like a sailor'. He now plans on getting a tattoo inside his bottom lip that says 'Sailor Mouth'. Nice.

Testament from the side of the stage was amazing. Like regression therapy. I was 14 again. After a few tunes I headed over to the Tuborg stage to watch HIM play. The whole crowd were singing so loud, but at a super high register, leading me to believe all of the ladies attending the festival were in the crowd at that stage.

This blog is way dull. Its been a long day and I'm not feeling my sharpest. What can I tell ya?! Download 2008 was rad, I saw a bunch of great stuff, met some super nice peeps and had a good time. Oh, and catering was AWESOME. Day three is gonna be ace...


Goodbye Download!

Reggie, the ultimate Download festival virgin

Its done... Download over and I have a strange pink bandana to prove I was here...Nice.

Reggie's new bandana

I'm in a tent at the moment typing this as the final bass vibrations of Pendulum pump. Yup you guessed it I managed to miss them AGAIN! But never mind I'll listen to em on Daniel P and Mike's show on Monday night at midnight (BBC plug over).

I'm about to drive home with a smile on my face and a small need to have long rock hair - LOL!


Rock on!

Fearne Cotton, Radio 1 rock chick

So we have officially DONE download!!! Losing my Download virginity was an excellent experience!! The show today was such a laugh!! The guitar hero got quite ferocious and my eyes are still slighty bossed from staring at that screen for far too long!!

Charlie from Fightstar

It was ace to catch up with Charlie from Fightstar (who was rubbish at guitar hero) and also Kids In Glass Houses who I'm looking forward to seeing live in London at some point this summer as i missed them today!!

The highlight for me was Biffy Clyro's acoustic set! It was beautiful and the crowd in our mini Radio 1 garden loved it!!! The sun even came out so our little radio tent stayed intact!!

I'm now going to drive home in absolute SILENCE as I'm all rocked out - for today anyway!!


Day 2: Rain, Guitar Hero and orcs

Joe, Radio 1 important producer type person

11.50am: The smell of mouldering 'doodles' hangs thick in the air, and the bulbous black clouds waddle above us. Day two of Download.

12pm: It's raining. There's a cliche that commentators regularly roll out at times like this that goes thus: 'the rain didn't stop the crowd from partying'. Most cliches are based on common truth - not that one. It didn't stop Skindred giving it their all as the opening act on the main stage, but everyone who could was soon hunkering from the rain drops as heavy as the early rising eyelids. It swiftly passes though.

Mike and Dan playing Guitar Hero

Not that Fearne, Reggie, Mike or Dan notice. Because they're playing Guitar Hero. A lot. Then some fella from the band Jonny Truant pitched up. It may be my imagination, but I think his eyes may have rolled back in his head as he played. He certainly seemed to emit an ethereal hum. And he played the expert level. And hit every note. And suddenly everyone in our tent held their manhoods cheap.

Once it dries out a bit though usual business is resumed. Ringwraiths appear. 10ft dancing girls amble around. Orcs play drums. And the rock is back. It's getting dustier, and suddenly you realise that what yesterday seemed like a really odd place for a festival has been sufficiently scuffed that it feels like our beloved Download once again.

This is place is the absolute heart of rock and metal. In the years when there was no 'Monsters Of Rock' and before Ozfest and then Download came into being there was something missing in the scene. Yesterday, away from the middle of the racetrack it still didn't feel like we were pulsing. Today it does. I now know why bands say 'It's good to be back'. It may be a cliche, but it's also very true.


Reggie taking over the world

Reggie, the ultimate Download festival virgin

Its Download day two and i am officially a rocker!

I just rocked out playing 'Sweet Child O' Mine' live to a room full of people and they loved every minute. The fact it was on the Playstation at the time is a minor detail I won't really focus on. Truth be told I was rubbish and Cotton, Mike Davis AND Daniel P Carter killed me points wise on the game. Thank God a Welsh bloke in a storm trooper outfit was totally hopeless otherwise I would be really red faced.

A few minutes ago we got to hang out with Pendulum and apparently one of the boys has a brother called Reggie! The name is taking over the world...Fact.

Give me an hour and I'll be in face make up and tight jeans. If you're lucky eye liner may be worn...


Settling in!

Fearne Cotton, Radio 1 rock chick

So its Saturday and Reg and I feel very at home at Download now. We have been hangin in our tent most of the morning unable to prise ourselves away from the guitar hero!! I had never played before and was secretly quite nervous!! Daniel P Carter had already shown us the stuff and i really didn't want to embarrass myself!! I opted to go before Reg and somehow managed to get a very reasonable score of about 46,000. Reg (who today was wearing much more sensible black trainers and jeans) was up next and SUCKED!!!!! I was so glad I beat him and quite spectaculy too!!

We also managed to creep backstage and meet up with Pendulum too who were really nice and well ready to rock out on stage later!! We have fuelled up on food and are now ready to really get the guitar hero compition going when we go live on air at 4pm!!

We are really looking forward to rockin out to some class rock tunes during the show! Reggie is also peeling BAD from his holiday last week and keeps flaking gross skin everywhere!! NOT very rock n roll!!!

Reggie's peeling skin - eww.


"You're not skint, you were in A!"

Joe, Radio 1 important producer type person

Mike and Dan are back at the hotel after a triumphant Dillinger Escape Plan set - and as usual between these two, it takes a competitive turn...


On meeting legends

Daniel P Carter, Radio 1 rock type person

Dan with Kiss - yes!

All fears are allayed - Rob Halford from Judas Priest turns out to be the nicest guy alive and then I met Gene Simmons from Kiss - and it was the weirdest experience of my life. It was like meeting Spiderman or Batman and finding out that they were real people....kinda.

Rob Halford from Judas Priest with Dan


Kiss liked Dan's shirt

Mike Davies, Radio 1 punk type person

Daniel P just interviewed Kiss. It was the most bizarre thing I've seen in a long time. We had to wait to the side of the backstage area while they did a meet and greet with some of their fans. Then Gene and Tommy walked in standing about 7ft high and fully of cocky swagger. Dan asked them some questions. Gene ignored them and talked about Dan's shirt. Ok? Now we're going to see Dillinger Escape Plan. Nice. I'm out.

Mike spies on Dan's Kiss interview


The Download virgins! Part 1

Fearne Cotton, Radio 1 rock chick

Fearne &  Reggie at Download

So here we are.... the Download virgins !!! It's Friday and so far we have had a ball!! The crowd here are so up for it and mega friendly! We have made about a million new mates today already!! We have been about and discovered a tattoo parlour back stage (heaven!!) and a hair salon (double heaven!!!) And even a rock shop!!!

Kiss are just about to go on and we have seen so many Gene Simmons look-alikes, I might not even notice if the real one walks passed me!!

Tomorrow we are doing our show live from the site in our Radio 1 tent and are currently setting up Guitar Hero for all the bands! I can actually reveal that Daniel P Carter has even been practicing for it! We'll see who wins tomorrow

But for now lets ROCKKKK!!!


The Download virgins! Part 2

Reggie, the ultimate Download festival virgin

Fearne & Reggie browse through tattoos

So its Download and I am so not dressed for rock! Between the suede trainers and new jumper i think my non-rockness really is obvious.

We have eaten wood (don't ask) and thought about getting a free tattoo.

Download rocks....literally.


Kid Rock, The Priest and some motorbikes

Joe, Radio 1 important producer type person

Fearne & Reggie have arrived. Looking unfairly stylish it has to be said. Fearne looks in her element. Reggie looks a little less sure. And when I say less sure, I mean 'imagine how Abraham Lincoln would look if he was dropped into a 1978 block party and saw Cool Herc in action'. Baffled is probably a good word.

Oh, and Kid Rock didn't perform by the way. The man charged with telling the crowd was nervous of what the reaction was going to be. It went a bit like this...

MC: I've got some news about Kid Rock

Crowd: Booooooo

MC: He's not able to perform

Crowd: Yeeeahhhhhh

MC: So in his place, Disturbed will be playing a longer set

Crowd: Yeeeahhhhhh

MC: And so will Judas Priest

Crowd: Yeeeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

I doubt that MC will ever announce a cancellation with such success ever again.

There are two rumours about Mr Rock - that he was taken to hospital, and that he took one look at his dressing room and left. We'll never find out of course, but it's fun to speculate. Though if he is ill we're deeply concerned for him etc etc...

But then, all of a sudden, everything went Priest.

Rob Halford from Judas Priest

Now, you may wonder why metal fans often wear clothing that tends toward the - how should I put it? - well, camp. The reason is one man. His name is Rob Halford, his band is Judas Priest and such is their pioneering standing in the pantheon of hard rock and heavy metal that rock would simply not be the same without them. Rob 'came out' in 1998, much to the rock audiences surprise. Evidently his habit of whipping motorbikes on stage, dressing in leather fetishist clothing and penning anthems such as 'Hell Bent For Leather' hadn't been enough of a hint. Genuinely, no-one knew. Which is why the red blooded bikers and leather'n'stud sporting footsoldiers of rock dress as they do. As subversion goes, it's something of a high water mark.

But right now that doesn't matter. Because as Halford says,'It's Donington, It's Friday Night, and The Priest are back!'. No-one's pretending that the Priest are young, but they are Metal Gods, and they look thrillingly at home on the stage. Excessive outfits, glossy production, and broad midlands accents. Brilliant.

Like all festivals, there are those not watching the main stage. Some are emitting low whistles of admiration as the motorbike stunt arena puts on a pretty stunning display. Now if they did it in floor-length leather coats it would be the perfect act.


Arrival at Download

Daniel P Carter, Radio 1 rock type person

After a drive that consisted of the greatest compilation of our time and the unrelenting sarcasm of a vaguely jet lagged Mike Davies, we arrived on site and went straight into interview mode.

Rob Halford from Judas Priest

Disturbed prove themselves once again to be super nice and answer a barrage of inane questions as I struggle to take in the festival site. A slightly more compact site this year has already proven to be paying off nicely for some of the smaller bands.

Black Tide pull off a triumphant opening to the whole of Download 2008 with a man down. Crowd are loving it and the band appear for brief interview afterwards and can barely contain the glow of excitement that only allow them to say 'This is f****** awesome' to pretty much every question fielded.

I get 20 minutes to check out Rolo Tomassi on the Gibson stage and for a band that sound like several bands playing at once in an amusement arcade, they have a full tent and a great reaction. Next we trudge en masse as a fully fledged posse over to the Dillinger Escape Plans tour bus where Greg and Ben are in suprisingly fine form despite the fact we are stood in a river of p*ss thats pouring from the tour bus toilet.

As we are getting interviews for the four hour Download special on Monday night and also a few things for a Metallica documentary thats in the pipeline, Greg from Dillinger happily tells the world how important Metallica are in the scheme of life in general. Top man.

I have a list of bands still to interview, including Rob Halford (The Metal God) and Gene Simmons (The Other Metal God) both of which I am pretty terrified about doing.

However I am gonna try and cram in a few more bands to see and wander the festival site taking in the sites (mildly horrific) and the smells (noodles meets diesel, since christened 'Doodles') and try and blag as much swag as possible. Atticus thus far have been the most generous and have hooked up a large part of the R1 posse with hoodies as it freezing here. The stall selling suncream and shades are not doing a roaring trade.

Gonna go interview Rival Schools now. Pretty stoked... More later.


The Journey...

Joe, Radio 1 important producer type person

We've just arrived on site, and Download looks oh so very different.

Due to a rumoured kebab incident last year (the word is that a kebab van spilled a lake of cooking fat on the track at the event last year and caused havoc for Valentino Rossi et al when the British Grand Prix pitched up a week later), the festival is no longer fringed by the legendary Donington Race Track, but is instead on the outskirts of the site - and on tarmac. Whether that will change the nature of the event remains to be seen.

Drove up here with Daniel P Carter and Mike Davies. Mike was in charge of the CD player for the journey - and the soundtrack ran like this:

Bon Jovi - Living On A Prayer
Bryan Adams - Summer Of 69
Don Henley - Boys Of Summer
GnR - Sweet Child O Mine
Meatloaf - Dead Ringer For Love
Kiss - Crazy Crazy Nights
ZZ Top - Sharp Dressed Man
Black Crowes - Hard To Handle
Whitesnake - Fool For Your Loving
Rainbow - All Night Long
Dan suggests an Electro interlude
Break Machine - Street Dance
Ollie & Jerry - Breakin' There's No Stopping Us
Rock Steady Crew - Hey You The Rock Steady Crew
Mike intervenes
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magick tracks 1-7
Slayer - Raining Blood
Judas Priest - You Got Another Thing Coming
.....and by that point we reached our hotel.

Ditched bags, got back in car and marvelled as Mike buffed himself with a special lint brush.

Due to having three quiet cats back in LA, Mike carries this 'pet brush' to clean his baseball caps. And his backpack. And his jeans. And once buffed to a high shine we have headed onto site.


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