Download Festival 2022 – A review from a staff member

By Kira Gibson

I dreamed of one day going to Download Festival. My dream came true this year when I was able to arrive at Donington Park, ready for Download 2022 in June. 

I wasn’t expecting to walk nearly three miles just to get to the arena, where I would be camped out with the rest of the merchandising staff working the event. 

The site was massively spread out, with the village being another mile or two away from the arena in the opposite direction to where I’d originally come from. Another mile away from the arena was the RIP area where they had their own stage and stalls (a perk of being able to afford to camp in that area). 

The day I turned up, I was dropped off at 6:30am at the blue gate and had to walk for what seemed like forever in a straight line, unsure if I was going in the right direction to get to work. Instead of it being forever, it was more like an hour, along three miles on a straight road, carrying and pulling a suitcase and my tent, along with my bedding and other things needed for the week (June 8-12). 

I’d never been camping alone, had no idea how to put up a tent and yet I still pushed myself with excitement that I was finally here at the festival I’d dreamed about for the last 19 years of my life.

My role in the event meant I was able to access anywhere on the site, and I could enjoy the premium showers and toilets that were only allocated for RIP ticket holders. All of this added to my happiness about working at the event I’d only ever wished I could be a part of. 

During the lead up to the event, I added many groups on social media to figure out what to expect during the festival, something of which came in handy on the job. Posting on social media about what I was selling brought ticket holders to my stall and sent rumours flying around the site about what was being sold at the stall I worked for the majority of the week. 

Previous years Download RIP memorabilia (Photo credit Kira Gibson)

I was able to see what bands I wanted to see, as I was given breaks during the day to go and watch bands and get something to eat. Shifts varied depending on where you were stationed and if you wished to work more hours after you finished working after the stall you were on had closed, you were given that choice. 

However, the week wasn’t without challenges. The festival was a cashless event which caused major issues for me when buying my lunch. I was being paid for lunch during the day with cash. Thankfully, there was a co-op shop in the village which took cash on a couple of tills so I was able to have something to eat other than Pot Noodles and snacks that the company provided. 

Another issue that had arisen during my time at the festival was multiple brushes with security guards that challenged me on my staff status and on my disabilities. 

I was challenged on the second night at the festival due to forgetting my hi vis at the stall where I was working for the weekend. I was informed I wasn’t allowed to access my tent due to not having it, because I wasn’t allowed in the arena without it. I did end up being able to go to my tent without it, because another guard talked to me about it and we sorted the issue, but it didn’t stop a few people eyeing me up and wondering whether I was staff or not despite having the wristband. 

The biggest problem I had with security was on the Saturday night after Iron Maiden. I came back from the village after they had finished and the crowd had been funnelled out to the different campsites across the park. I came to cross the crowd and when they stopped for a minute to let a vehicle through, I crossed the busy street. I was confronted by a security guard who, despite me having a hoodie saying I was staff and the wristband, did not believe I was staff and certainly didn’t believe I was disabled. 

The guard wanted me to walk the long way round, back to the village to get to my campsite… which was in the arena and the complete opposite direction to where they were sending me. I told them I was disabled (not even a day before this, I was struggling to walk) and they looked me up and down, and said with a hint of disgust in their voice: ‘I’ve heard all of that before.’

I was able to resolve the issue by talking to one of their superiors after the particular security guard had walked away, but it highlighted a bigger problem across the site. Some people only decided to enforce the rules when it suited them. Others were around me at the time that weren’t staff and hadn’t been approached by anyone. 

An ex-security guard at Download who attended as a normal attendee this year with his family, Stephen Hemphill said: “We had our autistic children searched on Sunday evening which we have taken to the head of Festival Republic and the matter has been settled. The days before we were never searched at all.

“The matter is resolved and I have full respect for Festival Republic on how they handled it.

“We have had this issue sorted for everyone as my kids’ disability isn’t visible so some staff will be trained a lot better.”

His experience, along with mine and many others, shows that sometimes not everything goes to plan. Whether it’s staff or members of the public, something can always go wrong. However, it’s the way that people handle it that can show how well a festival is run. 

The experience I had working at Download 2022, was one of the best weeks of my life. I was able to see bands I had wanted to see for a long time, and meet some amazing people who I am still in contact with nearly two months later. 

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New Leicester band plays first concert

by Kas Ellis

An up and coming Leicester band played their first concert on Saturday, March 12th. 

Robbie Childerhouse, the bassist for Leave Your Body Behind, performed with his two other bandmates at the SoundHouse. 

After only a month together, the band took to the stage with their seven song setlist, featuring six of their original songs. 

“It was nerve-wracking,” Robbie said. “It was extremely intense.” 

Robbie had never played with other people before Leave Your Body Behind, but once they performed a few sound tracks, his nerves went away. 

Despite a few mistakes, Robbie said the performance went well, and was enjoyed by both the performers and the audience. 

“It couldn’t have gone much better,” Robbie said. 

With all the excitement from the event, Robbie said it has taken a while to come down from the rush, saying it’s the ‘only thing he can think about.’ 

If you want to listen to psychedelic rock band Leave Your Body Behind, their music has been uploaded to Spotify, and they are planning on performing another concert in mid-May. 

Leicester band Dreamcage to headline home-town show in aid of debut single

By Alfie Linville-Sibley

Leicester three-piece Dreamcage have announced their debut single, alongside a festival booking and a home-town headline show.

Dropping the single tomorrow(FRI,APR8), the release will coincide with a headline performance at the Soundhouse, along with their first merchandise release. In a strong showing for the local scene, Dreamcage will be supported by both Dum Language and SKIRT.

“The really nice thing is everyone is so friendly and willing to gig share and have a good time”, the band said.

“There’s such a buzz around the local scene, so many people who would go to gigs as a night out haven’t been able to, you see fresh faces at every show, it’s great to see.

“We have a relatively small but very local fanbase who come to just about every show,” the three-piece continued.

The band also announced they’ve been booked for an hour’s set at Essex’s ‘The Giveback Festival’, a music festival in aid of charitable causes, this Easter Sunday evening.

The band said: “We can’t wait, it’s definitely going to be a big step forwards for us and nice to get ourselves out there a little.

“It’ll be our biggest crowd… there’s bound to be some nerves here and there, but once we get out there, we’re pretty confident we’ll just play how we always do.”

‘The Giveback Festival’ will run throughout the Easter weekend (April, 15 to 18) and will also see appearances by Toploader and Tinchy Strider.

Tickets are also available for their single release show via The Soundhouse’s website, https://www.thesoundhouseleicester.co.uk

Australian folk duo Charm of Finches announce first UK tour to include Leicester

By Courtney Stevens

On tour: Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes (Pic credit: Laura May Grogan)

Australian sister folk duo, Charm of Finches, have announced their first ever UK tour for Spring 2022.

The tour is to promote their third album Wonderful Oblivion which is available in the UK from May 6 via Anti- Fragile Music.

The tour kicks off in Oxford on Saturday, April 23, stops at The Musician in Leicester on Tuesday, May 3, and travels around the UK before finishing in Whitstable on Sunday, May 8.

Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes, grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and started busking and singing at festivals from a young age.

They made their first EP in 2014 at ages 11 and 14, later releasing their debut album, Staring at the starry ceiling in 2016.

They have described their music as being about ‘love, grief and whispering trees, with tight sister harmonies, and many stringed instruments.’

Mabel and Ivy said: “This album covers a lot of different themes and is about looking into the future.

“Our last album was about grief and processing the death of one of our close friends, whereas this album is about coming out of that and is more hopeful.

“This album explores the innocence of childhood, dreams and new beginnings.”

The duo are already well known in their home country, having won the 2021 Music Victoria’s Best Folk Act and Youth Artist of the Year 2021 at the Australian Folk Music Awards.

They were also nominated for the 2021 Australian Music Prize.

The pair are looking forward to their first UK tour and to performing to live audiences again after the coronavirus lockdowns.

They said: “We’ve never been to the UK before, so it will be a wild adventure, we don’t know what to expect.

“We’re very excited.

“We wrote and recorded these songs within the space of six months during lockdown, so it’s great to be able to finally play these songs to an audience.”

The sisters knew from a young age that they wanted to do music and work together and have spoken about the inspiration behind their sound.

They said: “Music has always been a part of our lives and we have been singing folk songs together from about age six.

“We both picked up string instruments at age nine and started writing our own songs, and it kind of all snowballed from there.

“One of our early inspirations was First Aid Kit, they started out young and we thought well if they could do it, so can we.

“We also love Sufjan Stevens – who is probably our biggest musical hero.”

You can listen to their music here: Charm of Finches – YouTube

Tickets are available now from:  https://charmoffinchesband.com/shows

Dates of Charm of Finches UK tour

DMU and UoL bands clash in musical Varsity contest

By Lara Alsaid

Tuneful students battled it out in a music competition last night(TUE,MAR15) at 2Funky Music Cafe as part of the annual Varsity contest between De Montfort University(DMU) and University of Leicester(UOL).

The Shipping Forecast was the first band to play for DMU.

Varsity is a yearly tradition where during a week, DMU and UOL compete in different sports and activities.

The DMU Music Society competed against UOL by choosing three bands from its membership to perform in the competition. 

First year DMU student Alicia Santamaria, who is a member of DMU Music Society, said: ”It felt exciting, this was the first time I experienced this. I have heard the bands that perform for DMU, and they are really good. I even voted for one of them to represent us tonight.”

The bands performed both covers and original songs with different genres, the most popular one being rock.

It was a perfect night to bring two universities together through a common interest for music. 

All performing bands from DMU and UoL together on stage at the end of the night.

After impressive performances from both universities, DMU ended up bringing back the trophy for the Varsity music competition.

To view performances, visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/DMUMusicSociety