Here's my notes taken at Sonisphere:
Thursday: Having narrowly avoided Mike leaving his new sleeping bag at home we hit the train at 14:14 and were in Stevenage by 3. And still there until nearly 5! They simply weren't expecting so many people to arrive on Thursday. Once on site there was more queueing to get our tickets (I meant wristbands) and then quite a while before we were caught up by John, Jed, Jesus, Stu and Lorna. An epic trek across the site has found us a good spot though, and we've been chilling out since then. Increasingly so after the sun set: hurray for thermals and a sleeping bag. Mildly ribbed for bringing my SW mag and eating celery :) And now we have the flickering light of a disposable BBQ and the dulcet tones of Steel Panther on the stereo.
Friday: Rain in the night but a warm tent in the morning, woke at 7:30 or so. Baked beans from the burger/breakfast van were a great idea and then it rained again. Once it stopped we went for a walk and a shop and it tipped it down on us for a while: hurray for waterproofs. Rest of morning and early afternoon spent around camp, where we erected the flagpole (or rather supervised John and Jesus and Stu while they crafted it from cheap rubbish bamboo canes and lots of gaffer tape) and listened to the stereo, There were some more light showers but generally it improved. Rae managed to get into the campsite despite a no camping ticket and joined us.
Over to the main stage at 3ish for music. Chilled pleasantly if not excitingly to Diamondhead, Anthrax kinda passed me by. Megadeath were great (particularly Symphony for Destruction and Stu's new dance moves). Slayer were good but didn't inspire me as much and Mike certainly wasn't quite as enthused - Raining Blood the highlight. But for me Metallica blew the rest out of the water - didn't know every song but a large proportion - and loved some of them. Enter Sandman was great but so were several others. The encore with the Big 4 on stage together was fun (but a little spoiled for me by having seen a clip online on Weds of them doing it earlier in Europe). Awesome show. Definitely glad of the earplugs though since we were very near the repeater speakers - the baby blues were perfect. Tired now and not staying up later - esp as it's a bit chilly out again.
Saturday: Fine at first: Sylosis OK, Richard Cheese good fun in the sun. Bought a new hoodie. Architects quite familiar - surprisingly - but not that great live. Someone I forget too - then Cavelera Conspiracy were great. Kids in Glass Houses brought the rain - a little heavy but persistent. Caught up with the others at Bad Religion - who were good. John and Jesus were rightly proud of their X-Wing and Tie Fighter lovingly crafted from paper cups, chopsticks and gaffer tape. Sum 41 OK - couple of good tracks near the end. Then Mike and I went to find food and the heavens opened again - soggy noodles. Soggy us too for the rest of the day - my waterproofs barely up to the name. Couple of bands in the tent were OK but not great, then in a brief bit of sun we grabbed an icecream - it had rained again even heavier while we were inside and everything was starting to get muddy. Back inside we bopped along to Ginger Wildheart (great) lying on the floor at the back. Gojira were quite good in a heavy way - loud fans! And I enjoyed Paradise Lost tho' I don't remember a lot of their stuff. Finally the Sisters: well worth staying for - though the muddy sound made even well known songs hard to recognise Dominion (Mother Russia) and More were highlights, but desperate for the loo we had to run away before the end: no Lucretia or This Corrosion. Then home and now to bed. Tent still dry inside thank goodness!
Sunday: Spent most of the day between the main two stages and only really skipped one band for lunch. Joined for the day by Vic, who was staying w/ Jesus after her friend went home early yesterday - in small world syndrome we recently met online. John was not feeling the love after too much rain yesterday, a lost coat and a trashed tent so left early but the rest of us soldiered on. Today's highlight was definitely Bill Bailey - even in the pouring rain he both rocked and made us all laugh - and played the 4th rendition of Enter Sandman of the weekend on an array of air horns. The other bands can wait until I have a program handy to use as a crib sheet - but headliners were Slipknot and were great. The rain added to the light show and didn't dampen anyone's enthusiasm too much. Good fun, and very touching finish as a tribute to Paul Gray who died last year.
To finish off here are the bands I saw but didn't mention in the notes above: Saturday: the early band I forgot were Gallows: mostly I remember they were breaking up. And in the tent the first two bands were Pulled Apart by Horses and Periphery. On Sunday we mostly missed Volbeat who started early and played a lot of crowd pleasing covers. Black Tide were OK but not memorable. Arch Enemy were quite good, and House of Pain were mostly ignored apart from when they played Jump. We skipped Parkway Drive, didn't pay much attention to In Flames, but vaguely enjoyed Mastodon. Airbourne we didn't go see but did hear part of from the other stage. Mötorhead were a must see for the history, and Ace of Spades was worth it, but they didn't really seem to have their heart in it. Opeth were good but didn't get many songs in due to them all being 10 minutes long - actually I did really enjoy them. And what we saw of Limp Biskit was good fun, even if not really our cup of tea and we didn't go out of our way to catch the whole set.
And on Monday morning we packed up, said our farewells to those who were awake, and decided we'd rather walk to the station than wait for a coach. Maybe 3.5 or 4 miles in total with big packs in about an hour, letting us get a train home just after 9. Tired, sun-browned and slightly muddy in places but very happy.