Before a foot had trodden on the hallowed Donington turf, many an armchair promoter and naysayer wailed at the 2014 offerings. With competition from other festivals and the memory of 2013 there was always the expectation that this year would be a quieter one for Download. Well as quiet as a rock and metal festival can be.
The new 100-strong musicians' letter on behalf of the still-jailed Pussy Riot members Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is a wholly good thing. And it is. It's not about whether I'd listen to music from this enormous body of artists (though I would in a few cases), but ... well, you know what I'm saying. It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it.
When we first started out I had no ambitions other than not being a one-hit wonder. That was it. I didn't want to just have one tantalizing taste of what we were chasing and then no more. I didn't want to work in the family ice cream business. Of course, I wanted to be a success but, if you'd have told the young man that I was, that nearly half a century on he'd still be getting away with it, I'd have laughed you out of Catford... Some poor sod worked out that we've done over 6000 shows, played to over 25 million people and been away from home for more than 23 years.