Y'all ready to rock? It's that time of year, when metal fans from around the UK congregate at Donington Park to sleep in tents, get caked in mud (and this year we're expecting a lot of it), and partake in what are some of the rowdiest circle pits in all the land. It's time for Download Festival 2011.
I'll be there, blogging, Tweeting (don't forget to follow us at @nme_festivals), BBMing (you can reach NME.com on 22E955A0 if you've got a BlackBerry), reporting and roaming around with a flipcam.
We know there's heaps of stuff to do at festivals, and it can sometimes get a bit overwhelming trying to plan your day accordingly. So here's my handy little tip-off to you lot on the five things you should definitely schedule into your day. Check back on Saturday and Sunday mornings for some more advice. And as usual, leave your comments below if there's something we've missed that you think everyone should be sure to see this weekend.
1. Dress like the undead.
For the first time in Download's history, they've declare a fancy dress day. For the innaugural Fancy Dress Friday, the dress code is zombie. It's actually quite perfect festival attire, as the dirt will only add to your costume. And let's be honest, by the end of the festival, we'll all look like zombies anyway. There's also gonna be a be a Zombie Ball at night over at The Doghouse (formerly called the Ball Tent). Kudos if someone can pull off this look from Zombieland:
2. Catch the recently-reformed The Darkness.
Following a few warm-up shows, the 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love' band are ready to hit the big stage at Download. If you're undecided, just watch their video below. Fingers crossed they can still squeeze into those spandex outfits, and that their guitars still shoot lasers.
3. Visit the Outdoor Cinema.
Need some quiet time to relax at the end of the day? Sit on a log and catch up on some classics. This year, they'll be screening Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's alien-filled comedy Paul, Al Pacino's classic gangsta film Scarface and the Johnny Depp-narrated The Doors documentary, When You’re Strange.
4. Check out some lesser-known acts
While we'll all be sure to see the likes of Def Leppard, Pendulum and Korn, festivals are always perfect for catching some brand new acts. Here are my tips for today: Evaline (their old drummer jumped ship to join Placebo, but they're still ace); Modestep (they're playing the last slot at the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage) and Japanese Voyeurs (they do one hell of a cover of Nine Inch Nails' 'Closer').
5. Win a chance to meet the bands
The festival's organised a little text message competition to meet some of the bands. It closes at noon each day, so get your entries in early. Today, they've got meet-and-greets available with Black Veil Brides, Times of Grace, Black Stone Cherry and Hyro Da Hero. Click here for all the details. Good luck!
Right, I'm off to work on my zombie slap.
We will be reporting direct from Download and Isle Of Wight Festivals 2011 over the weekend. Download our NME Festival App - Powered By BlackBerry for line-up news, photo galleries, instant reviews and backstage video interviews from all the UK's best-loved festivals.
Plus you can follow us on Twitter @NME_Festivals and add us as a BBM contact using the pins 22E955A0 (for Download) and 26E588A4 (for Isle Of Wight).
Download Festival 2011 - 10 Lesser-Known Bands To Check Out At Download
Download Festival 2011 - Essential Playlist
Download Festival - classic photos