Image Credit: Download Festival
After being cancelled in March, Download Festival is back on – as a government pilot festival to monitor Covid-19 transmission.
Moshing is back. In March, Download Festival announced that it was calling off this summer’s event, another musical casualty of the ongoing pandemic. The festival’s 4-6 June scheduling meant it would have taken place too early for the next stage of lifting the UK lockdown due on 21 June. But festival-goers can now rejoice – Download is back on, except this year as a trial to monitor the spread of coronavirus at large-scale events.
With a reduced capacity of 10,000, the one-off Download Pilot could well be the planned 10,000-capacity trial festival with camping which was announced by the UK government last month as part of its Event Research Programme. In a normal year, Download Festival usually has room for 111,000 people.
The significantly reduced capacity allows for revellers to be tested for Covid before entry. Ticket holders will need to take a lateral flow test at home, and take a PCR test beforehand too, but will be refunded if the result is positive. Five days after the festival, another PCR test will need to be returned to complete the research.
All the scientific hoop-jumping means that festival-goers can act like any other year at Download – camping, hugging, and of course moshing, all without wearing masks. The second phase of the government’s research programme comes after the news that the previous pilot events, including a day festival in Liverpool, returned no detectable spread of coronavirus. Only 15 people tested positive for Covid-19 out of 58,000 at the series of pilot events in May.
Download Pilot will take place at the festival’s usual home of Donnington Bridge from 18-20 June. Artists booked to perform include headliners Enter Shikari, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and Bullet For My Valentine. Tickets went on sale today, Thursday 3 June.