Name a Download Festival stage 'The Legacy Stage' to bring more awareness to mental health

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Today, I am not me. Today, I am them.

Being a musician is lonely, being a frontman is lonelier. Creative people, particularly musicians, are more susceptible to depression and have a tendency to keep things bottled up. We pour our heart out over our songs, bare all in the lyrics... it's possibly one of the most personal, emotional and vulnerable things we can do. We open ourselves up to constant criticism and people's opinion whilst wearing our hearts on our sleeves, ready for someone to share or scratch at for your entertainment.

Chesters death has shaken me, it has grabbed 16 year old me by the throat and swiftly kicked me in the nuts... just like the 'bigger boys' did to me throughout my first year at school.

Yes he made that choice, yes he left a family behind... but depression doesn't allow you to think logically. It tells you, and genuinely makes you think that those people would be better off without you. It tells you it's ok, that they would be happier... depression is a filthy liar, and a good one at that.

Historic child abuse is something that can devastate for a long long time, no amount of counselling makes the pain go away or makes the memories fade... it stays with you until you find a coping mechanism. A way to shut it up, a way to control the feelings you get. Until you find a place where you can exist without it making those decisions for you, the effects of child abuse control your life... or until it becomes too much.

Today, I'm living... not for me, but for every single one that wasn't able to cope; for the Chester Benningtons, for the Chris Cornells... for those who lose their fight with this horrible illness.

Mental health and depression is something that needs to become less taboo... less embarassing to talk about, it needs to be something that when people ask you 'how are you?', it is second nature to think about your mental state as well as your physical...

Naming a stage 'The Legacy Stage' will not only honour some of the fallen heros, rock Icons and genuinely fantastic human beings that have touched our lives; But it will open up the possibility for thousands to know that it is ok to not be ok.


Today, I am not me. Today, I am them.

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