Archive - Download 2003: The First Year Reviewed

The first Download Festival happened in 2003. Iron Maiden and Audioslave headlined. But Metallica stole the headlines. Classic Rock explains why...

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It was heaven and hummus at Donington Park, beneath azure skies constantly sliced by Easyjets on landing alert. As the sun beat down it was difficult not to be seduced by glorious strangeness: by the sight of Hell’s Angels sharing a bottle of Chardonnay; Marilyn Manson cavorting in the unbecoming daylight; and, with a twist of managerial genius, Metallica storming in on the back of myriad rumour and performing a blistering set on the smaller Scuzz stage.

Mick Middles

Mick Middles is the author of nineteen books, most of which have concentrated on Manchester's music artists from punk to the present. He was the Manchester correspondent for Sounds magazine and his work has appeared in publications as diverse as the GuardianDaily Telegraph, the ExpressManchester Evening News, The FaceKerraangClassic RockRecord Collector and Rock'n'Reel. He lives in Warrington.