Ten thousand people brave heavy downpours to attend Download festival three day pilot event

  • Report by Rajiv Popat

Download festival, the UK's largest rock event, is returning this weekend in a smaller format.

Thousands of people are braving a rainy few days at the newly named Download Pilot, which will host 10,000 ticket holders instead of the usual 80,000.

The event at Castle Donington will form part of the government's ongoing testing around large-scale events after it was cancelled at the beginning of the year.

It will be the first three-day camping festival as pandemic restrictions relax. Fans were seen arriving on site at Donington Park in Leicestershire and setting up tents wearing rain coats and waterproof ponchos

There will be ten thousand fans attending this weekend, with no social distancing or masks necessary. Credit: PA

Festival goers are expected to follow these measures:

  • Attendees must camp on site for the duration of the event (three days).

  • They must how a negative lateral flow test to gain entry, and take a PCR test before and afterwards.

The culture secretary Oliver Dowden said the test events so far have "been a real success."

He said just 15 Covid-19 cases had been detected among a total of 58,000 attendees across events including the Brit awards and the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

This trial event at Castle Donnington follows several pilot clubbing events in Liverpool, where very few people tested positive for covid. Credit: PA

Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn said the Download Pilot is "a massive next step will help us understand and study the safe return of large-scale festivals with no social distancing or face masks over a full weekend".

The UK government is expected to publish more data on the events in the next fortnight.