Fans of rock and heavy metal rejoice! This summer’s Download music festival will be taking place after all – just two months after it was cancelled.
The three-day event has been resurrected and will feature as part of a government pilot event testing the water for the return of live music.
The Download pilot will take place at Donington Park race track from June 18 to 20. The line-up is yet to be revealed.
It follows a number of other successful test events which have been closely monitored to see if large gatherings can be safely held without causing a spike in Covid-19 infections.
Leicestershire’s premier music festival won’t be the traditional melee, however, as the capacity for this June will be limited to just 10,000 – just a fraction of the 111,000 music fans who would normally on Castle Donington ever year.
But it is back on! And organisers are keen to point out that “moshing will be allowed”.
The move comes as it was revealed that only 15 coronavirus were reported from 58,000 people who took part in events ranging from the Leicester City’s FA Cup final triumph at Wembley Stadium to the Brit Awards.
Download’s organisers said they “couldn’t be more hyped” at the development.
In a statement, they said: “Downloaders, we couldn’t be more hyped to announce that we will be running a pilot event as part of the second phase of the Government’s Event Research Programme (ERP).
“It’s gonna be a 10,000 capacity camping festival in Donington Park!
“Everybody on site will have taken a lateral flow 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.”
Researchers from Public Health England will be overseeing the study and gathering data on transmission risk, the suspension of social distancing and face coverings over several consecutive days.
The data will then help to inform events planned later in the summer and, hopefully, mean that they too can go ahead in some tangible form.
The Download spokesperson said: “There’s certain criteria the science bods need you to fulfil for their research (being over 16 is one example).
“Anyone who wants to attend will need to read and agree to a consent document first to ensure they understand the research process and meet these criteria before they can buy a ticket.”
They added: “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.
“You’ll need to take a Lateral Flow Test at home and it has to be negative for you to enter the event. If you test positive, don’t worry – you’ll be refunded.
“The researchers also need you to take a PCR test and drop it in a Priority Post Box before you get to the event.”
All you need to show at the gate will be your ticket, matching ID and your negative lateral flow test result (this will be shown as a text or email from the NHS).
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Five days after the event, festival-goers will be asked to take a second PCR test and send it back to the ERP.”
The Download spokesperson said: “These post-festival tests are really vital to the research and you must send yours back!
“We’ve missed all our Download fans so much and can’t wait to see you all again – this is going to be epic!”
For more details on the Events Research Programme and the testing procedure, click here.