Eugh, I haven't done a review for a gig in so long. Probably not the best idea to try and pick up the pieces with download festival, but I will anyway
Unfortunately for myself, the dates of download this year and my exam timetable were pretty interwoven. I bought myself a 5 day camping ticket (thanks for charging me an extra £10 download, just great) and later found I had exams wednesday afternoon, friday morning, and the monday morning directly after.
"No matter though" I thought. I'll get my mates to set up my tent, chill on wednesday evening and thursday morning, go home thursday evening, get a good nights sleep, ace my friday exam and be back in time for bands.
Roll on wednesday. My exam didn't end till 4 and I'm not up at donington till 5. My tent is vaguely set up, but the outer has been ripped, and the whole thing is badly set up. I brought up the spare outer and sorted it all out. Good job. Down to the serious business of drinking and meeting our camping buddies. As ever, our welsh friends have shown up, and a group of new people are here too. Being the friendly sods we are, they are all welcomed under Gail (our Gazebo) TIme to check out the village. Looks kind of meh as usual.
Back to the tents and time to sleep. I wake up at 4 and find the inner of my tent open. Suspicious. A cursory glance outside reveals my wallet open and penniless. The first time I have ever not kept my wallet in my pocket overnight, and I lose £50. Just great. It turns out they hit every tent in our area, and I was unfortunate enough to not wake up when they came into mine. Shitsux. I borrow a £10 off my sister for lunch, and go home that evening as planned.
Roll on Friday, roll on music. I come back to download having (hopefully) done well on my exam, with another £50 in my wallet, and settle down again in our campsite for a few early morning drinks. Down to the arena with a can in each pocket (they never check right?) and the walk is bearable. Clip the apex on the corners for the sake of it. As I'm walking through the barriers into the arena I clang. Badly. So typically the security searches my pockets and takes my cans. I down them quickly, but I've lost my mates. Down to the front anyway, to watch my first band of the weekend
A solid performance with a couple of new tracks thrown in there. The sound was bad at the side, but when I'm in the middle it's fine. They are never as good at a festival as their own shows though... 
Apply suncream. It's sunnier than I thought it would be.
I watch a little
but only a couple of songs, before I head off to the second stage to watch (well listen to actually, I was lying down for the whole performance)
Coheed & Cambria
With a setlist boasting In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 and Three Evils (Embodied in love and Shadow), it wasn't a setlist for the faint of heart. Great playing from the all though. 
After a bit of ringing, I finally find one of my friends, and we watch the start of Bullet for My Valentine
but I haven't really listened to them since The Poison, and we quickly head off to watch some of
Them Crooked Vultures
They seemed to get a lot of hate for some reason, but I thought it was great, and I was losing track of time during them, getting caught up in the playing 
But I manage to drag myself away, to head down to the 4th stage for the first (and actually only) time in the weekend, and watch
Devil Sold His Soul
Last.fm recommened me these guys, with the promise of being similar to Rinoa. They were somewhat right. Less melodic, more heavy, but still great. Favourite band of the day
Back to the mainstage, and it turns out I missed the memorial slideshow (which was apparently not great) but I find a place to stand and patiently wait for
Who are AC/DC right? Great songs, a decent level of energy, and their own stage. It's fun, but it's not 10/10 worthy. I leave early (because I always do) and there is a guitar solo that lasts my entire walk back to the campsite. 
I think I'm going to be the first of my friends back, but some of them have been there for half an hour. No matter, time to get down the the deadly serious business of heavy drinking. Only not, because it's fucking freezing, and everyone is in their sleeping backs already. Damn. Off to sleep then, and this time I don't get robbed overnight. We also have some new friends camping with us, but I we don't socialize heavily over that night.
My friends are so lazy. Apparently they watched RATM on this day, and that was literally it. I have a good enough time anyway. First band of the day for me
Another Last.fm recommendation and also a great one. They have a habit ( like all bands of their type) to lose focus in the songs, and incorporate LOLSORANDUM type moments, but thankfully they come out of it a lot better than iwrestledabearonce. I was really impressed with them. A song is dedicated to hayfever sufferers. I don't suffer from hayfever. 
Down to the mainstage again, meet up with my sister and a chicken wrap. Time to watch
or so the timetable would have you believe
It was infact time to watch
and I didn't pay attention because of this. They could've played the greatest songs on earth, and I wouldn't have cared.
Five Finger Death Punch
come on, and it's time to mosh. And go over the barrier. And get their set cut off early. Whoops. Decent band, decent songs. 
Now the big guns are getting ready to come out
Lamb of God
Take to the stage like, well, Lamb Of God. Fists pumping, heads banging, pits moshing, walls deathing. You get the idea. I don't know if it's a sign of me growing up, or just being lazy (probably the latter) but I don't even go into the crowd. Solid performance though 
Show up on stage next. A few songs in, Dave announces they are going to play a few songs from Rust In Piece. I raise an Eyebrow. It's a pretty good set, I'm just not paying much attention still 
And now I head down to the front for most of the next band
This is when I started paying attention again. Opening with Rocket Skates, and blitzing through a mix of new and old songs (they do play alot from the new album actually) it's a blinder of a set, and thought the crowd seems a little lazy at times, when the right songs hit, it's just amazing. 
Back up to the my sister again, since I don't feel like being crushed at all to watch
Rage Against the Machine
After initial crushings, everyone steps back. Damn. On the other hand, from my view at the back, I can see the funniest drunk guy ever, generally being awesome. He goes to the bar, buys the wrong type of booze, so I get a free pint out of it all. It's great song after great song with Rage though, Bomb Track, Bulls On Parade, Sleep Now In The Fire, and a cover of White Riot. I leave during Wake Up, because I always leave early, obviously. Also I need a cheeky shit. 
Back at the campsite, I trade some water for a can of beer, and it's finally actually time to get down to heavy drinking. 100 minutes later, between 3 and 5 occasions of people chundering, we have finished a round of centurion, and we are all pretty damn wasted. A rousing chorus of Total Eclipse Of The Heart is given. And then another. Actually I don't think we stopped singing that much at all over the course of the evening. The silent disco is packed, so we go to bed instead.
I wake up after a great nights sleep (thats the bonus of heavy drinking) and manage to force down a cookie. Someone has stolen my half empty crate, but I don't care. An hour later, my tent is strewn about, the fibreglass poles are looted, and ready to be taken home by my sister. My bag is also packed.
After a bit, I head off into the arena. Mark comes with me (the rest of my friends are being lazy. Again.) We go our seperate ways, and I settle down at the second stage to watch my first band
It's strange going from slick americans talking to you on stage, to a brummie. Nonetheless, this is still Napalm death, and they play a collection of songs, some normal length, some Grindcore short. They include 'You Suffer', which as you should well know is stupidly short. 
The crowd thins as Napalm Death leave and the stage is set for
The Damned Things
A band consisting of members from Every Time I Die, Anthrax and Fall Out Boy. Suprisingly, the two Fall Out Boy members have some real chops, and playing with ETID and Anthrax members seems to bring them out. They play a handful of good songs to a mostly disinterested crowd who aren't quite sure whats going on
The Dillinger Escape Plan
A glorious bottle fight occurs before they come on, and the rain starts to spit lightly on us. DEP hit the stage and it's mental. The rain starts to pour, bodies flail wildly and the floor becomes muddy. Playing a real storm of a set, with immense versions of Black Bubblegum and Sunshine The Werewolf. Closing with a resounding Farewell Mona Lisa, the band leaves the crowd thoroughly satisfied. My band of the weekend 
After this the rain is just too heavy for me. I'm soaked from head to toe, and I left my waterproof at camp. I ring for a lift, and head out to home. A shower later and I'm warm and dry. I got a cold the next day. Fun.
Overall, a great weekend, spoiled by weather at the start and end. Good bands, good friends, and less drinking than planned. Also less money than planned.