SSE Hire was at Download once again this year, for the festival's 10th anniversary, with the Prodigy, Metallica and Black Sabbath headlining.
SSE Hire supplied the PA for the main stage - appropriately named the Jim Marshall Stage, in honour of the legendary "Father of Loud" Marshall Amplification founder, who died in April.
Download usually marks the start of the festival season for SSE, although this Summer promises to be record breaking, with several festivals and events already completed. The weekend of 8-10th June also saw SSE Hire's debut at inaugural festival No Direction Home - just up the M1 from Download, and in Amsterdam with the Stone Roses.
The system at Download comprised two L'Acoustics K1 main hangs, supplemented by KARA and KUDO for infill and four VDOSC delay hangs, designed to provide maximum SPLs within the arena, while minimising spill into the residential neighbourhood. A total of 44 SB28 subs were provided in left, right and centre stage positions. (Pic: K1 hang with SB28 subs)
An Avid VENUE Profile digital mixer was provided at front of house, with a Yamaha PM5D on stage for monitors. The headliners each used their mixing console of choice, with Metallica's Big Mick Hughes favouring the Midas XL8.
Torrential rain slowed down the load in by 5 or 6 hours, but everything was set by 4pm on Thursday. The quagmire did though lead to a delay in the festival start as organisers made the arena safe following the high winds and heavy rain.
Fortunately the site slowly dried out over the weekend. But little could dampen spirits as the heavy metal legends thundered out their sets to an equally thunderous response from the 100,000 strong crowd. Over 100 bands played across five stages, including headliners The Prodigy, Metallica and Black Sabbath.
Dance duo Chase & Status, made their Download debut and ripped the Main Stage before The Prodigy, making their only UK festival appearance of the year, topped Friday night's bill. They played an incredible set packed with hits including Voodoo People and Firestarter.
This year, it was the 21st anniversary of the release of Metallica’s Black album – and they played it in full. This was Metallica's seventh time at Donington - and SSE Hire has done them all. The huge crowd were entertained for two hoursm, before fireworks and pyro's closed the show.
Thumbs up from Metallica's Big Mick Hughes with SSE MD John Penn and the Midas XL8
But the real veterans closed the festival. Black Sabbath, complete with Ozzy Osbourne, entertained the crowd with a Paranoid, banging set that reminded us that this is the band that invented heavy metal.
In among the crowd was SSE Audio Group founder and MD, John Penn, who recalls his first gig ever - Black Sabbath at Dreamland, Margate in 1969 - "They started it all!"
Download's Production Manager, Neil Macdonald commenting on SSE's contribution to this year's festival said: "Rock, Roll and Audio Perfection. SSE went up to up 11 at Download."
Backstage, with Festial Director John Probyn and Festival promotor Andy Copping, a massive 10th birthday cake was unveiled.
John Probyn: "All of us who have worked on Download over the last ten years are very proud to have reached this milestone, and what a weekend it has been! God threw the kitchen sink at us this year and we dealt with it."
Andy Copping added:
"This year is undoubtedly the biggest and best line up we've ever had at Download, and we've seen some absolutely cracking performances to help us celebrate our 10th anniversary. The crowds have been fantastic, there's been a real display of true Brit spirit on site to help us through the more challenging parts of the weekend, and to have had Black Sabbath, Metallica and The Prodigy headline our big birthday bash has been amazing. I'll be raising my glass to every single person on site this weekend later!"
After this year's Download Festival, Live Nation's Paul Latham and John Probyn set off on The Long Walk - a 144 mile walk from Donington Park to Hyde Park, London to raise money for Cancer Resarch UK. Asked why, Probyn said:
“Cancer Research UK is a charity that Live Nation has supported for some time and I wanted to do something personally. I’m never going to climb a mountain or cycle across the desert, but I’m very good at putting one foot in front of the other. It’s 144 miles past 73 pubs, what could possibly go wrong?!”
Last we heard, they'd raised £28,000! See The Long Walk
The Long Walk begins...
SSE Hire Crew at Download
Project Manager: Pete Russell
Crew Chief and Head PA Tech: Nick Pain
FOH: Gerry Parchment
Monitors: Jasen Hattams & Alex Hore
Stage: Miles Barton, Ollie Hudson, Marc Lewis, Ray Breen, Keith Sujeen, Tim Lowe
RF Co-ordinator: Sam Manigly
Released on 18th June 2012 (Ref. GP/PR)