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‘Heartbroken’ Download organisers cancel festival for a second year

The event was due to take place in early June.

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Kiss at Download Festival in 2015 (Katja Ogrin/PA)

Kiss at Download Festival in 2015 (Katja Ogrin/PA)

Kiss at Download Festival in 2015 (Katja Ogrin/PA)

Download Festival has been cancelled for the second consecutive year.

The rock event, which is held at Donington Park in Leicestershire, was due to take place between June 4 and 6 with headliners Kiss, Biffy Clyro and System Of A Down.

Organisers said that, following the announcement of the road map out of lockdown, it had become clear that going ahead with the event would be impossible.

However, they said Download will return in 2022 with veteran heavy metal band Iron Maiden replacing System Of A Down as headliners.

The Government hopes to lift all remaining restrictions on social contact by June 21 at the earliest, which would mean larger events including festivals could go ahead.

Some festivals have been able to reschedule until late summer or early autumn – Parklife in Manchester moved its 2021 edition from June to September.

But Download did not say why it had chosen to cancel instead of reschedule its 2021 dates.

A statement said: “Following the announcement of the Government’s road map and despite the extraordinary efforts the NHS have put in to roll out the vaccine, we can sadly now confirm that Download Festival will no longer be taking place this year, but we have exciting news for 2022.

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Fans at Download Festival (Katja Ogrin/PA)

Fans at Download Festival (Katja Ogrin/PA)

PA

Fans at Download Festival (Katja Ogrin/PA)

“We never gave up hope of bringing the festival back to Donington this June and had been working so hard behind the scenes to make that happen, but, sadly, we now know it’s not possible.

“We’re heartbroken for everyone in the Download family, from artists to suppliers and of course our passionate Download fans.”

Confirming the festival would return in 2022, the statement continued: “We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the NHS for their extraordinary efforts in rolling out the vaccine, as well as thanking all of you for your patience and for keeping the spirit of Download alive until we can be together again.”

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) warned on Monday that independent festivals could be forced to cancel if they do not receive government-backed insurance and VAT intervention by the end of March.

Events require Covid-19 related cancellation insurance in case the road map is delayed, it said.

AIF chief executive Paul Reed said: “The Prime Minister has set out a road map and a ‘no earlier than’ date for festivals, and audiences have responded, demonstrating a huge appetite to be back in the fields this summer.

“But we need government interventions on insurance and VAT before the end of this month when festivals will need to decide whether they can commit to serious amounts of upfront capital.

“Now that we have a ‘no earlier than’ date, insurance is the last remaining barrier to planning.”

The UK festival circuit has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with its 2020 season effectively wiped out.

In January, Glastonbury was cancelled for a second successive year after organisers said they had tried to “move heaven and earth” to make it happen.

However, events including Reading and Leeds, Creamfields and Field Day have seen a boost in ticket sales since they confirmed they will be going ahead, with some selling out.

Festivals added £1.76 billion in gross value to the economy in 2019, with almost one in three Britons watching Glastonbury on TV.

PA


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