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Download Festival 2023: Day Three review – Polaris, Fever 333, and Metallica deliver unforgettable scenes under the sun

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Featured image: James Bridle

The weather for the third day of live music at Donington Park was exceptionally enjoyable, with not a cloud in sight. Day three of Download Festival 2023 was off to an incredible start as festival-goers gathered together as early as midday to see Polaris on the Apex Stage. While many tracked down areas out of the sun, the band played to a sizable crowd, with a number of mosh pits appearing throughout their set. Their set consisted of seven songs, ending with their most well-known song, ‘The Remedy’, which went down a treat with those spectating.

Despite Polaris being a great experience and yet another band to tick off the lifelong bucket list, we were lucky enough to experience Fever 333’s set from the sought-after ‘snake pit’ area, which appears at a handful of Metallica shows. There were roughly 30 people standing considerably closer to the stage than any other fans in the crowd, getting a front-row view of the up-and-coming band. Watching their performance was especially moving at times due to the fact that they create music speaking on topics such as racial inequality, misogyny, and other important issues we face in society. Throughout their set, the singer backflipped, jumped off high objects, and even unexpectedly climbed a tower by the end of their show. Looking back, their set was one of the most interesting throughout the 20th anniversary weekend and definitely a highlight I will never forget. 

We headed over to the Opus Stage next, where Motionless in White played a setlist that fans would dream of. Vocalist Chris Motionless was kitted out in make-up and gothic attire, along with the rest of the band. They performed their recent single ‘Slaughterhouse’ as well as the well-loved ‘Eternally Yours’, which went down a treat with the crowd.

Next up were Canadian band Alexisonfire, which I must admit I haven’t previously listened to, but their vocals were extremely powerful, easily reaching the back of the arena. With sounds similar to Alter Bridge and Underoath, the audience loved the set.

Disturbed were the most emotional band of the day, most notably for paying respects to those in the music industry that are sadly no longer with us. Chester Bennington was given a personal acknowledgement from singer David Draiman, which undoubtedly caused a reaction from the crowd. “Raise your hand in the air if you’ve ever dealt with depression or addiction?” was spoken as virtually the entire audience raised their arms, following into one of the band’s slower songs. The energy was raised again when the well-known ‘Down With The Sickness’ filled the speakers as an end to their set.

There was an hour-long wait for the final headliner’s second set of the weekend, Metallica. I was curious as to what they would bring to the table following their previous headline slot on Thursday, and I was not disappointed. It was a pyrotechnic, firework wonderland as the band played through a long sixteen songs, including a ‘Whisky in the Jar’ cover previously performed by Thin Lizzy. The set and Saturday night were concluded by the playing of ‘Enter Sandman’, a song that everybody knows and loves. With this being their tenth time headlining Download Festival, Metallica were one of the best choices to play the anniversary weekend.

The Doghouse Tent would have most definitely been packed to capacity following the sunny day that we had just experienced, and it just made things more exciting to then appreciate the final day.

Check out our Download Festival 2023 Day Four review.

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Rianna Ram

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