There's really nothing like Download when the sun's out, and Day Three's weather is a belter. Temperatures rise, sales of Factor 30 go through the roof, and the old park bakes in glorious heat. On stage, the action continues, and here are some of our personal highlights...
Inglorious open up the main stage - never an easy job - and perform as if they own it. Nathan James' voice is as good as you'd expect, and he's in fine, avuncular form, telling the crowd that once the set is over he's going to get as pissed as he's ever been. But it's the band that really lifts the atmosphere, and the ballad Holy Water becomes one of those festival moments, their Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City moment. The overly compressed, modern crunch the band default to on album is gone, the sonics smoothed by a festival PA, and they sound very much like the real thing.
Baroness's music is triumphant by design, and this was a triumph in every respect. The bond between John Baizley and audience is clearly strong, new guitarist Gina Gleeson is a force of nature, and Shock Me is possibly the most jubilant moment of the entire weekend, the uplifting nature of the song only heightened by the large inflatable lobster being tossed around the mosh pit.
As anyone who has been to a festival since the invention of mobile phones will know – phone signal is shite in fields full of people. But not this year! For three full days we were able to keep in contact with our mates and post all kinds of drunken, idiotic videos to Instagram that we regretted in the morning. It's a big change from the old "I'll meet you by the ice cream van" routine we've become accustomed to.
Those motorbike stuntmen
How on earth does this madness happen without them killing each other?
To the uninitiated, Meshuggah might sound like a demented musical set in a rivet factory, but the sheer, impossible fury of their percussive, melt-your-face clang is a wonder to behold, even in broad daylight. Pravus and Straws Pulled At Random might just be the most intense pieces of music performed at this year's festival.
If you have ever doubted Body Count's metal credentials, then you're a damn fool. Opening on a blistering cover of Raining Blood, Ice-T and co. grab Donington by the throat and chokeslam them through 40 minutes of joyous, riotous rock 'n' roll. No Lives Matter, There Goes The Neighborhood, Cop Killer (with Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta on guest vocals), it's a powerful, passionate performance from the 25-year veterans who can put a smile on even the most stern-faced kvlt metaller. Of course, the MVP of the set is Ice's two-year-old daughter who comes out to Talk Shit, Get Shot – soon to be on guest vocals for sure.
This was the best Download festival in years. The sun! The bands! The motorbikes! The cherry crumble! GUNS N' FUCKIN' ROSES! The crowds! Great atmosphere. Great weather. Great times. Long live Donington.