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Download Tests 2021 ‘Pilot’ Fest to Ease Into Live Music’s Return

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England’s Download Festival, already canceled for 2021 and with an announced lineup for 2022, will go ahead with a smaller “pilot” festival this June as the U.K. music scene eases into live concerts’ return following the largely festival-less year that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Download Pilot, capped at 10,000 attendees and with no performers yet announced, has backing from the United Kingdom’s government. The event to take place at Download’s usual stomping grounds in Leicestershire’s Donington Park and is part of the ministry’s ongoing Events Research Program, currently in Phase II. Phase I included a fest in Liverpool’s Sefton Park that brought 5,000 concertgoers together outdoors without face coverings or social distancing.

“We’re hyped to announce [Download Pilot],” the fest revealed on Wednesday (May 26), “a camping festival pilot in Leicestershire’s Donington Park that’s part of the government’s Event Research Program.”

Here’s how it works: “Everybody on site will have taken a lateral flow test before entry and received a negative result and will have taken a PCR test too,” Download explained. “That means you’ll be able to mosh, dance, hug your fellow Downloaders, and rock out without a mask or social distancing. Frankly, we can’t think of anything that sounds more awesome after 15 months away from our hallowed ground.”

Melvin Benn, the managing director of music promoter Festival Republic who is involved in the project, said, “Following the huge success of our Sefton Park event, we are delighted to contribute to Phase II of the government’s Events Research Program with the creation of the first three-day camping festival which will be the Download Pilot at Donington Park. This massive next step will help us understand and study the safe return of large-scale festivals with no social distancing or facemasks over a full weekend. … The return of the full festival experience we have all been waiting for and a much-needed return to work for musicians, backstage crew, caterers and many more that form part of the U.K.’s exemplary live music industry.” [via Blabbermouth]

The Events Research Program “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,” according to the U.K. government’s website.

Download Pilot takes place from June 18-20. Tickets go on sale starting June 1 for Download 2022 ticketholders; general on-sale begins June 3.

Get more information at downloadfestival.co.uk.

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