- 21 Jun 21
Headliners included Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Enter Shikari and Bullet for My Valentine - after the government allowed the festival to go ahead as a test event in May.
Leicestershire's Download Festival went ahead over the weekend, which saw 10,000 revellers enjoy a euphoric atmosphere - despite the wet weather.
The pilot heavy metal music event in Donington Park did not require festival-goers to wear masks or practice social distancing.
The festival, the UK’s largest rock event, usually welcomes about 80,000 people to Donington Park each June, but this year it is operating at reduced capacity as a pilot of large-scale events ahead of next month’s full reopening in England and Wales.
All attenders were required to submit negative lateral flow and PCR Covid test results before arrival, but once inside the festival gates there were no social distancing or face masks required.
Revellers were not prohibited to leave once they entered the festival, with all attenders required to camp for the full duration of the three-day concert.
Headline acts included Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Enter Shikari and Bullet for My Valentine.
Absolute SCENES as @therattlesnakes closed The Main Stage last night at Download Pilot. 🔥 It felt SO good to be back in the pit! 🤘 🐍#DownloadPilot pic.twitter.com/KaML5k0w02
— Download Festival (@DownloadFest) June 19, 2021
With the final easing of UK restrictions pushed back by four weeks in England and Wales due to the Delta variant, there is a lot riding on test events such as Download Pilot to prove that festivals and the live music sector can open back up safely.
“It’s emotional and hugely exciting. And I’m confident that, providing you put people in an environment where they are all tested or vaccinated, people can enjoy music very safely,” Melvin Benn, director of Festival Republic, told the Guardian. “I pay tribute to the fans who are coming because they are putting themselves forward as test dummies, so to speak.”
Researchers will be using CCTV cameras to monitor crowd density across the site, and to try to pinpoint any areas of Covid transmission – such as in mosh pits, the crowd, the queue for the bar or the campsite.
Benn said he had pushed the government to allow a camping festival in the events research programme, and when they agreed, Download was his first choice.
“The Download festival community is an exceptional community, the music is marginalised to a large extent, so the festival where they can gather means a huge amount,” he said. “This audience needed that gathering probably more than any other.”
Last Friday, the organisers of Latitude Festival said they were confident the event would be able to go ahead on 22 July, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson delaying "Freedom Day" from 21 June to 19 July.
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