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Download fans blamed for drones shutting nearby airport

Download festival
(Image credit: Joseph Okpako/WireImage)

Heavy music fans attending Download Festival in the UK at the weekend were accused of shutting down the nearby airport.

The single runway was closed for an hour on Friday night at East Midlands Airport after drones were seen flying in the area, causing the diversion of six cargo flights and two passenger flights. It reopened just after midnight.

The Daily Mail ran the headline 'Now heavy metal cancels flights too! Rock fan using drone to film Download Festival forces East Midlands airport to close runway and divert passenger flights', complete with a picture of rock fans.

The newspaper wrote that “rock fans” were “adding to the misery of holiday goers this summer,” referring to the UK’s problems with understaffed airlines and oversold flights. The report added that the drones had been “attributed to the festival.”

Airport boss Clare James said: “It's a criminal offence, it is very inconvenient for passengers, it costs thousands of pounds for cargo carriers but most of all it is a flight safety risk.

“We have detection equipment here, we are working with police, so my message to whoever is doing this is just stop or face prosecution.”

Download management issued a joint statement with the police, saying they’d “enhanced the number of patrols on site and the surrounding areas.

”The public are reminded that flying a drone in proximity to an operational airport is an offence under the Civil Aviation Act 1982 and is a huge risk to public safety.”

This year’s Download festival was headlined by Kiss, Iron Maiden and Biffy Clyro with an attendance of around 111,000. As you can probably tell from our review of Iron Maiden at Download, we had a lovely time.

Freelance Online News Contributor

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.