Download Festival still planning to go ahead in 2021
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  • Post published:12/04/2021
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Download Festival still planning to go ahead in 2021

The rock festival say they “hope to have more news for you by March 1”

By Andrew Trendell

Download Festival
The crowd at Download Festival CREDIT: Joseph Okpako/WireImage

Following yesterday’s cancellation of Glastonbury 2021, Download Festival have assured fans that they’re “continuing to work behind the scenes” to see that this year’s edition of the rock event goes ahead.

  • READ MORE: When and how could festivals and gigs return in 2021? Industry insiders and medical experts speak out

Yesterday saw Glasto confirm the long-feared news that “in spite of their efforts to move Heaven and Earth”, the event at the end of June would not be able to go ahead due to complications that have arisen from the coronavirus pandemic – meaning a second enforced fallow year.

Now Download, which is set to take place in Donington from June 4-6 and see headline performances from Kiss, Biffy Clyro and System Of A Down, have issued a statement to reassure fans, and tell ticketholders that news should be coming in March.


Responding to various fans on social media, the festival said: “Rest assured we’re continuing to work behind the scenes to get ready for Download this summer and hope to have more news for you by March 1. In the meantime, stay safe.”

This follows similar comments made by Isle Of Wight Festival, which is due to take place towards the end of June in the week before Glastonbury was scheduled to go ahead.

Isle Of Wight boss John Giddings previously suggested that the UK’s empty music venues and out-of-work live crew should be put to use to help with the mass roll-out of the vaccine, before telling NME that he was confident there was still enough time to take action to ensure that festivals could happen safely.

“I think you’d probably need for 50% of the audience to be vaccinated, and for 50% to be able to get a test in a very short period of time, like five-to-10 minutes,” Giddings told NME. “I don’t think that’s unrealistic. Isle Of Wight Festival is six months away, it’s not tomorrow. I just want to help accelerate the process.

“Everybody talks and nothing happens. We need to up our game. I’m bored with it. I want to see something physically happen. They can talk ‘til the cows come home. The discussions in Parliament don’t make my festival happen. Injecting people with a vaccine makes my festival happen. There is absolutely no reason for it not to happen. If we all pull together to achieve it, it’s possible.”


Credit: Getty

Reading & Leeds boss Melvin Benn agreed that he was “super confident” that a summer of festivals could take place provided that vaccination targets were met and efforts amped up, while Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton, warned that the necessary level of vaccination might not be reached until the end of summer.

“We’d want a bare minimum of 50% of the population to be vaccinated [before festivals can happen], but probably more like 60%,” Dr Head told NME. “That would probably take us towards the end of the summer at around August or September.”

This comes as Glastonbury bosss Michael Eavis has revealed that he hopes to hold a “smaller” event in September.

At the start of January, The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee heard from organisers of Parklife and Boomtown that many summer festivals could be cancelled as soon as the end of this month without urgent government clarity, assurances on what might be possible and help with insurance.

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