Download 2017’s final day had the feel of a classic Monsters Of Rock bill. HRH Mag’s Chief Reporter Andy Spoors wraps up the action with a bite-size review of Castle Donington’s Super Sunday.

 

Fozzy Heads In The Morning

The opening spot on the last morning of a festival is a tough gig. Thankfully Fozzy were on hand to blow away the cobwebs with an energetic and entertaining set. With many in attendance evidently hearing Chris Jericho and co. for the first time, it was a fantastic opportunity for a band that seem to be enjoying a swift and overdue rise in popularity following the release of new single Judas. They took their chance. And then some.

Sweet Emotion

If this was, indeed, the final farewell for ‘America’s greatest rock band’, it was a sensational way to say goodbye. But did anyone really expect anything else? Every member of Aerosmith was in top form – their blues-soaked set a perfect contrast to the metal and hard rock headliners from the two previous nights. Vocals that still resonate on a level they did on first listening – and guitar solos that need to be heard by the biggest audiences – enveloped Donington. This was a band at the height of their powers.

NXT Takes Over

The inclusion of a tent dedicated to wrestling raised eyebrows last year but the popularity of WWE and in particular its NXT arm cannot be denied. Indeed, talking to fans inside the NXT tent there were more than a few who attended Download for the wrestling alone: build it and they will come. With two shows a day and superstar signings in between, it’s hard to argue against this mantra with a plethora of stars on display and a wealth of matches to boot. Sunday’s crowd witnessed a slightly sour end to the weekend – and were handed a stark reminder of the potential dangers these men and women put themselves through in the name of entertainment. British rising star and rocker, Mark Andrews, ended his incident packed weekend in the back of an ambulance but later tweeted confirmation that he was ok and thanked local hospital staff.

Smells Like Community Spirit

Music has long been credited as having a cathartic effect on people in troubled times. And as troubled as these times have been, the unity amongst musicians and fans – allowing them to relax and enjoy the weekend – was evident in spades at Download. Heavy security searches were inevitable but organisers deserve credit for keeping the main arena relaxed and accessible. The obvious sense of heightened security never threatened to dampen the enthusiasm of a boisterous crowd. Artists unafraid of using part of their set to scorn politicians around the world also offered condolences and thoughts to those affected by the atrocities over the last few weeks on UK soil. And speaking of soil – or more specifically the ground – the idea of asking fans to fill rubbish bags and pay them for doing so, all in the name of Greenpeace, was an inspired idea. The usual sea of plastic beer cups at your feet is now a thing of the past thanks to deposit and clean up schemes destined to make a lasting impact.

Diversity

No, not the dance troupe, but the brilliant selection of acts on offer over the weekend. From the aforementioned wrestling to a mini fun fair, thrash metal to country rock, Sunday had something for everyone. The nation still has plenty of festival options to mine if you’re actively seeking your favourite sub genre (HRH Sleaze anyone?) but here you could take your pick by walking from tent to tent. With Sunday’s headliners Aerosmith and Slayer bringing the festival to a fitting climax, a huge array of fans of all ages mingled freely  to enjoy the delights of a historic Derbyshire field together.