J.C. Kim sends words and pictures from the frontline at Donnington Park...
Download Festival at Donnington Park stretched over three days for the first time, a clear sign that rock is back with a vengeance.
With so many bands it's difficult to pick out the good from the bad and truly ugly, in a magnificent line up spanning three generations of rock giants and including some of the best bands from across the world.
As the sun went down on Saturday, Velvet Revolver rose. "So what is rock and roll in 2005?" Scott Weiland, lead singer from the band summed it up: "It's like sex, it starts off slow, it picks up pace and then we climax".
But like sex, their performance didn't seem to always work for everyone participating. Despite a classic performance from one of the biggest rock bands of recent times, some in the audience seemed unmoved.
Perhaps they were just saving themselves for the headline band of the night? And if that was the case, Black Sabbath didn't let them down. The crowd witnessed the bizarre experience of Sabbath's awesome sound being quite literally overshadowed by large jumbo jets flying low over the main stage as they took off from nearby East Midlands Airport. Could the passengers hear Ozzie? No doubt about it!
Ozzie said "Jump" and the crowd jumped, Ozzie said "Light your cigarette lighters" and the sea of flickering flames stretched for miles. For many of the younger members of the audience their closest contact with Black Sabbath would have been on MTV.
Can the man who shuffles about on screen really be the same superstar who held the undivided attention of over 100,000 and delivered one of Sabbath's most stunning performances for years?
Rock musicians have never ceased to shock the general public and media with their hard living lifestyles. But Society 1 managed to have the same effect on many in the audience too, as Matt "The Lord" Zane sang suspended from the roof of the stage by a series of hooks through the bare flesh on his back.
The highlight of Sunday afternoon was most probably the strong performance from Papa Roach, who set the crowd up for an amazing line-up of the kings of rock appearing later.
Lead singer Coby Dick enticed the crowd to "make some noise" and they dutifully obeyed.
Halfway through Slayer's set Post Mortem roared out of the stage, waking the dead and anyone else daring to listen to any of the other bands playing nearby. Even the heavy guitar riffs of Mandatory Suicide couldn't beat the loudest track of the day. They are still "slayin'em" after 20 odd years in the business.
Untamed, Slipknot revealed themselves as the masters of thrash metal when they tore off their trademark masks mid-way through their set. Playing without Clown, the eight brothers of thrash made up for his enforced absence with a truly mighty performance, mixing classics with new tracks.
The final hours of Download 2005 were left to System Of A Down, and boy did they use them well. Audience participation at its loudest as the crowd screamed along to tracks such as Toxicity and Aerials, whilst songs from the new album left the masses truly Mezmerize'd.
Best performance of the festival? It had to be the impromptu acoustic set by Bowling For Soup in the Kerrang hospitality tent. Is this how rock should be? Up-close and personal?
The boys blasted out a few of their best numbers and Eric Chandler survived on five strings whilst Jaret Reddick entertained the crowd with his electric wit and school boy charm. Watch these guys - they're going places.