Download Festival’s 10,000-capacity pilot event is “100%” proof festivals can go ahead soon, say organisers

A weekend of moshing, no social distancing, and the inevitable rain has just wrapped up.

Download 2021

A photo that was taken in 2021, although it doesn’t look like it. Image: Press

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One of the biggest events to take place in the UK since COVID-19 related restrictions came into force has just wrapped up. The ‘pilot’ version of Download Festival UK had a reduced capacity of 10,000 and required a negative test to attend, but no social distancing or masks were required.

The festival took place over 18-20 June. Bands playing at the festival included Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes, Enter Shikari and Bullet For My Valentine as headliners, as well as appearances from While She Sleeps, Skindred, Frank Turner And The Sleeping Souls, and Loathe.

Speaking to the PA news agency, organiser Melvin Benn said the success of the event was “one hundred per cent” proof that at least some of the UK’s summer festivals can go ahead. “It’s extraordinary really. It’s really fantastic. I am very heart-warmed by it all. What is extraordinary about it is the level of compliance around the testing and requirements we have is absolutely extraordinary.”

“It is coupled with a level of normality that is equally extraordinary when you have been out of it for so long,” he added.

It’s hoped that the transmission data gathered from the event will help similar events get the go-ahead sooner. Benn continued, saying: “In fairness, the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) are on board with the message which is that these things can happen and they can happen safely.

“What we want from Download is data that scientists can analyse that will effectively reinforce that position, and that data is being gathered and I am certain it will do just that.”

Find out more at downloadfestival.co.uk.

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