Famous Download Festival returns on smaller scale as Covid test event
Rock fans are invited to “mosh, dance and hug” as one of the East Midlands’ top music festivals confirms it will take place this year after all – albeit on a smaller scale.
Download Pilot will be a smaller version of the famous Download Festival, one of Britain’s biggest rock and heavy metal festivals with a capacity of 111,000 at Donington Park, close to the border of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.
Instead, it will be a 10,000-capacity camping festival at the venue from June 18-20, “to help open up live music” as part of the second phase of the Government’s Event Research Programme as it looks to ease restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic.
It follows just a handful positive Covid cases among the many thousands of people who have already taken part in test events, including football’s FA Cup final, snooker’s World Championships in Sheffield, and a concert in Liverpool.
A festival spokesman said: “Everybody on site will have taken a lateral flow Covid test before entry and received a negative result and will have taken a PCR test too.
“That means you’ll be able to mosh, dance, hug your fellow Downloaders, and rock out without a mask or social distancing.
“Frankly, we can’t think of anything that sounds more awesome after 15 months away from our hallowed ground.”
Public Health England researchers will be overseeing the study, gathering data on transmission risk, the suspension of social distancing and face coverings over the festival, to help ensure events later this summer can go ahead safely.
Download 2021 was postponed to next year, back in March.
At the time, Team Download said: "We’re heartbroken for everyone in the Download family, from artists to suppliers and of course our passionate Download fans.
“We’ll be back on June 10-12, 2022, as strong as ever, with an amazing set of headliners – Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro.”
However, it has now confirmed a smaller event will go ahead this year after all.
The spokesman said: “To say thank you for sticking with us through these tough times, Download 2022 ticket holders will be given first dibs for 48 hours on tickets for the pilot event.
“We’ve missed all our Download fam’ so much and can’t wait to see you all again.
“This is going to be epic.”