Download Announces Scaled-Down 2021 Festival

  • Axl Rosenberg

Although the annual Download Festival won’t be happening for the second year in a row as a result of the ongoing pandemic, the fest’s organizers have announced that they will be staging a (relatively) scaled down version of the event, dubbed “Download Pilot,” next month.

Like the regular Download Festival, Download Pilot will be a three day event held at Donington Park. It will have a max capacity of 10,000, which sounds like a lot of people until you remember that the average attendance of a normal Download Fest is more like 80,000.

Additionally, Download Pilot will not offer single-day tickets , and attendees will be required to camp on the festival grounds for the whole weekend.

That’s presumably because the not-quite-a-full-festival is being produced as part of the UK government’s Events Research Programme, which “aims to examine the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from attendance at events and explore ways to enable people to attend a range of events safely.” Or, as stated by the organizers of Download Pilot…

 ​“Whilst festival-goers will not be socially distanced or required to wear face coverings once inside the festival, they will be required to follow existing government guidance when travelling to and from Donington Park and adhere to rules set out by the festival organisers. 

“Attendees must have proof of a negative lateral flow test result to enter the festival. As part of the wider scientific research on the trial events, the Download Pilot attendees will also be asked to take a PCR test before and after the event to gather further evidence on the safety of the festival camping experience, reduced social distancing and the removal of non-pharmaceutical interventions like face coverings. They will also have to provide contact details for NHS Test and Trace to ensure everyone can be traced in the event of an audience member receiving a positive test after the event.”

So you’re kinda-sorta agreeing to be a guinea pig if you go to this thing. Just sayin’.

Download Pilot will take place from June 18 – 20. The line-up will be announced this Friday, May 26; people who have tickets/passes to the regular Download Fest will be able to buy tickets/passes to Download Jr. starting June 1. If there are any tickets left by June 3, they’ll go on sale to the general public. No one under the age of sixteen will be permitted to attend because, again, attendees are agreeing to be guinea pigs.

If we were to make a semi-educated guess as to the line-up, we’d probably focus on UK bands or bands who are already scheduled to be near the UK around the same time as Download Pilot. So take this with a grain of salt, but Korn are playing in Stockholm, Sweden on June 16.

More info as it becomes available…


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