Download Festival (held in the midlands of the uk) is the highlight of my summer. I love watching live music, partying with my friends, and I have to admit there is something so alive about being in a field, however muddy, surrounded by thousands of people all just having fun! Every year we spend weeks building the excitement up with our regular group we go with, outfits are planned, food and beer is purchased and the line up of bands is scrutinised over and over.
This year wasn’t ruined by the weather (in the end) but it definitely put a downer on the weekend to begin with. When we turned up on Wednesday it had been raining solidly for a few hours, we then set up our tent in the rain, and it was still raining without break on Friday morning! Our tent flooded, our clothes got ruined and our gazebo was blown away but we still had a party! So apologies for the muddy, rain filled background to my photos!! Here is what I stood on all day:
I’ve always gone with the mind set that I will be eating junk food for 5 days, we don’t have set meals you just grab food when you can inbetween the bands. Often we’ll have packet noodles for breakfast, some form of fast food during the day and dinner will be a mix of toasties and sweets at about 1am after the beers have started flowing and we’re wondering around the village (an area with bars, stalls, fair ground rides and a DJ tent).
This year I really wanted to try and make sure I was eating well and also I was worried that I wouldn’t find vegetarian food easily, other than chips and tomato pizza atleast. On the Download forums I found a few people with the same concerns – so here is the high light of what I ate this weekend. Hopefully it will reflect the growing variety of vegetarian offerings at events such as festivals. Firstly here is a list of food essentials which I packed so that I didn’t have to spend loads of money on food:
Cous Cous - This is perfect because you can take it dry and then you just have to add hot water and cover it. I got a variety of flavours (pictured is Mushroom) and it filled me up for the morning.
Pitta breads – Great for scooping up any juices from meals and it’s great for filling you up! Carbs are good for soaking up the alcohol
Pasta – Now I’m not saying this is the pinnacle of health but you can buy packets of pasta where you just add water and there is a powdered sauce. I have to admit these are my guilty pleasure at a festival and this is the only time I allow myself to eat them! This one is Cheese and Brocilli and I had packed a tub of salad which lasted the first two days before the arena opened.
Soreen/ Cereal Bars – These ‘snack pack’ sized Soreen loaves were perfect, I popped one in my bag all day and they kept me going when energy levels were flagging.
Fruit and Nuts: I took some sandwich bags with me and seperated the pack into 5 portions then put a portion in my bag each day. These were great for snacking on and stopped me from buying chips/ crisps when everyone else did.
And now to look at the food I bought, I have to say I was so impressed with the food I purchased this year and it made me realise just how unheathily I was eating before – pizza, sausage baps, chips, toasties, hog roast and cheap cheese burgers were replaced with….
A Vegan burger with salad, egg free mayo, tomato salsa all in a whole meal bun. I could have eaten these every day but I just had the one this year. It was from the main Vegan/ Vegetarian stand in the arena (there were only two vegetarian stands). To say this burger tasted amazing is an understatement! I also bought a salad one evening from their stall which was the lettuce salad as seen on the burger and also a carrot and sultana salad with a tahini dressing…everyone else was eating pizza!
On Sunday I just really needed something special to eat so I headed over to the other vegetarian food stall in the arena and I was going to get a falafel wrap when I noticed people walking away with this Nacho Chilli bad boy! Nachos covered in vegan chilli packed full of vegetables topped with guacamole and jalapenos…all in an edible bowl, although I didn’t eat the bowl because it was just pastry.
I actually ate this whilst stood waiting for Scott and the others to get their food and I had some big tattooed Rocker guys leave the queue at the “whole rotisserie chicken and potatoes” stall and ask where I got it from. To begin with I felt bad to tell them it was vegan but they all went over and bought one! WIN for the veggies!
And it was all washed down with plenty of Peppermint tea:
My only disapointment this weekend was that I bought a bag of maltesers and when I’d finished them I was looking at the packet and they don’t seem to be vegetarian……I could have cried!! Not because I had eaten them but because that means I shouldn’t eat them again. Maltesers are my favourite and a big tradition in my family
Ok and lastly I should just mention some of the bands I saw which were amazing:
Slash with Myles Kennedy – just superb, great atmosphere and Myles Kennedy can blow the roof off with his voice!
Metallica – They were as good as last time and James Hetfield is definitely my secret crush plus they played Nothing Else Matters <3
Black Sabbath – Just fab to see Ozzie stumbling around the stage looking like a very happy lost puppy! Good times
Tenacious D – First time seeing them and they lived up to all my expectations, just wish they could have had a much longer set
Steel Panther – Insanely offensive but in such a fun way so glad to see them again, definitely future headliners!
Fozzy – three words = YES! YES! YES! legend
I saw loads more bands but they were my faves of the weekend.
Overall I had a great time and discovered that even at a festival I can still stay (pretty much) true to my diet and healthy ethos! Bring on next year!