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Download announce 'Download Pilot' festival set to go ahead in June

Download Pilot logo
(Image credit: Download Festival)

Download will stage a reduced-capacity, government-approved festival at Donington Park on June 18-20.

The full bill for the event, expected to feature around 40 bands, will be unveiled on May 28. Ticket-holders for Download 2022 will be given priority access to purchase tickets for the June event. All tickets will be weekend camping tickets only: no day tickets will be released and you will need to stay on-site for the duration of the festival. As a Government scientific Events Research Programme event, festival-goers will need to consent to take part and must be over 16. The best news? Moshing will be totally allowed.

Festival Republic director Melvin Benn says: “Following the huge success of our Sefton Park event, we are delighted to contribute to Phase II of the Government’s Events Research Programme with the creation of the first three-day camping festival which will be the Download Pilot at Donington Park. 

"This massive next step will help us understand and study the safe return of large-scale festivals with no social distancing or facemasks over a full weekend… the return of the full festival experience we have all been waiting for and a much needed return to work for musicians, backstage crew, caterers and many more that form part of the UK’s exemplary live music industry.”

A statement about the event lays out the following conditions for entry: "Whilst festivalgoers will not be socially distanced or required to wear face coverings once inside the festival, they will be required to follow existing Government guidance when travelling to and from Donington Park and adhere to rules set out by the festival organisers. 

"Attendees must have proof of a negative lateral flow test result to enter the festival. As part of the wider scientific research on the trial events, the Download Pilot attendees will also be asked to take a PCR test before and after the event to gather further evidence on the safety of the festival camping experience, reduced social distancing and the removal of non-pharmaceutical interventions like face coverings. 

"They will also have to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace to ensure everyone can be traced in the event of an audience member receiving a positive test after the event."

The Download festival event follows the trial event which saw indie band Blossoms play to 5,000 fans at Liverpool’s Sefton Park on May 2.

On that occasion, the gig took place without social distancing or masks, but attendees were required to show a negative Covid test in order to enter the arena, taking a lateral flow test in advance at a local testing centre: they were also asked to take a test following the gig. Ticket holders were also required to give their contact details to NHS Track and Trace to ensure they could be reached if anyone at the gig tested positive for Covid-19 in the follow-up tests.

When the Blossoms gig was announced in April, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We're one step closer to a summer of live events now our science-led programme is under way. Testing different settings and looking at different mitigations is key to getting crowds back safely.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock added that the results from the concert would "inform our approach to ensuring future big events can take place safely.”

Full details of the Download 2021 event will be revealed on May 28. Check their official site for more details.

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