Featured image: Matt Higgs
After an impressive and exceptionally warm Download Festival 2023 weekend, the final day of the festival was in sight. Seeing campers eagerly packing their tents away was a bittersweet feeling, knowing that nobody in the field truly wanted to leave, but it made Sunday more exciting, especially knowing what was to come.
First up were the deathcore legends Lorna Shore, fronted by vocalist idol Will Ramos, famous for his enticing vocal abilities. They played an early 1:10 pm slot on the Apex Stage to a crowd of people not letting Saturday night’s hangover ruin the last day of music. There are no other words to describe Will’s vocals than breathtaking. The band has the ability to leave an audience in awe, and I didn’t expect anything less after seeing their previous support slot while on tour with Parkway Drive last year.
The Hu also powered through a set on the main stage, while all-girl band Hawxx dominated the Dogtooth Stage. Frontwoman Anna stole the crowd’s full attention with her stage presence and captivating energy.
The entirety of Palaye Royale’s set on the Opus Stage was full of mind-blowing stunts as the band members climbed the stage, joined mosh pits with fans, and, to top it all off, crowd-surfed over the audience in an inflatable boat whilst shooting a water gun, cooling everybody down.
Electric Callboy are a band whose music I have heard non-stop over the past few months, hyping me up to finally see them live, and they did not disappoint. A setlist full of sing-alongs and a crowd of people dressed in aerobic costumes—what more could you want from a festival performance? Musically, they were exceptional. The perfect combination of rock and dance.
Back on the Apex Stage, the crowd gradually filled capacity, with over 90,000 people waiting in preparation for the headlining finale: Slipknot. When they finally arrived in full masked outfits, fans went insane. The intro of ‘The Blister Exists’ sent the audience into instant chaos, while the band performed a show reinforcing their title of being one of the best. From songs to make thousands cry like ‘Snuff’ to hits that made the entire crowd move, Slipknot gave us everything. I wasn’t sure what to expect following the previous headliners throughout the weekend, but the last song topped it out. Despite a lack of pyrotechnics and fireworks like the other bands, once ‘Spit It Out’ began playing, the crowd knew where things were headed. Following frontman Corey Taylor’s request, the entire crowd kneeled to the floor and jumped up in due time.
The entire weekend was a blast, and, in all honesty, I couldn’t have wished for anything else. The bands were exceptional, and the organisation was on top form considering the festival was sold out for the first time in many years. Here’s to next year!