Better Access, Shorter Distances & More Sustainability: Download UK Improves Festival Site

Katja Ogrin/Getty Images
Download Festival took place as a pilot event limited to 10,000 visitors in 2021, as part of the UK’s events research program. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes headlined. (Photo by Katja Ogrin/Getty Images)

Download Festival UK will look a bit different when it makes its full-scale return to Donington Park in Leicestershire, England, June 10-12.

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Site improvements include better access for all guests, more comfort and shorter walking distances. The festival area known as The Village will move closer to the main site, the Arena, and will now be located on hard-standing ground. The move water-proofs the site, which suffered from bad weather in 2019, but it also means The Village will be located much closer to the Access Campsite, enabling disabled guests to go freely from their camp to The Village without leaving solid ground.

JAJ TEM 110422Download 013
The Download Dog pictured alongside managing director of Festival Republic Melvin Benn (left) and Download Festival booker Andy Copping (right) at the entrance to the Tarmac Lake at Donington Park. The Tarmac Lake section of Donington Park is set to be used as part of the festival site, improving accessibility for festival goers. Download Festival 2022 press launch event, held at the home of Download Festival, Donington Park in Castle Donington. Photo: Monday 11th April 2022. Copyright: Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post

Download promoter Festival Republic/Live Nation have worked with the disability-led charity Attitude is Everything since 2001, signing up to its Attitude is Everything Live Event Access Charter and currently holding the Gold Award within the charter.

Download’s Accessible Campsite remains on the same hardstanding location. The Accessible Campervan space has moved to a flatter more accessible location and the space for campervans has increased by 42% to over 100 spaces for 2022. Returning in 2022 will be British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters on the Main and Second Stage platforms, provided by Performance Interpreting. There’ll also be Camp Accessibility Ambassadors, Wheelchair Charging tent and more on site.

Site Map
The new site map of Download Festival UK.

In 2022, Download is partnering with Trees for Cities, while also introducing a new Circular Camping option, offering clean, upcycled tents and camping equipment. Circular Camping will be located right next to the Eco Camp, which returns in its third year. An additional £1 car park pass donation will fund tree-planting projects in both Derbyshire county and Leicestershire county in the coming planting seasons.

The festival’s recycling and composting rates rose from 46% in 2018 to 59% in 2019, by its own admission, with zero waste going to landfill. All water bottles sold on site are made from 100% recycled PET, and retailer Co-op’s reverse vending machines return for a third year.

Sustainability has always been close to the heart of Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn, who has been measuring his own festivals’ carbon footprints since 2008. He is a founding board member of Julie’s Bicycle, which is dedicated to carbon reduction. And he may be the only promoter since 2008 to have a permanent, full-time sustainability manager on the payroll in Vickie Chapman.

See: Impact International Honoree Melvin Benn

Benn and his team developed a sustainability policy in Europe in May 2019 with slight amendments to fit the United States, at which point Michael Rapino adopted it as official policy, and appointed Benn as member of the Green Nation board.

Sustainability, Benn told Pollstar, is “very close to my heart, and we are pushing on it on every single front. We as a company, Festival Republic, are fully supporting Music Declares Emergency here in the UK and are fully working with a climate action group that’s part of Extinction Rebellion. It runs through every single vein of my body.”

Back to Download 2022: All water refill points in the Arena have been completely redesigned with “high flow,” meaning that a one-liter bottle can be refilled in just three seconds.

When planning travel to the festival, coach services offered by Big Green are now completely carbon neutral, and Download’s “Liftshare” for car sharers returns as well.

See: Metallica To Headline Download Germany Premiere

Alongside new locations for all campsites, Festival Republic managed to decrease walking distances. Festivalgoers should be able to reach even the furthers campsites from the main festival Arena in 25 minutes.

Last but not least, the newly built Castle Donington Bypass, there’s now space for the addition of new car park on the east of the festival site.

Melvin Benn commented, “It’s 58 days from today until the opening of the campsite gates. It will be a massive 1,092 days between Tool closing on June 16, 2019 and Heriot playing those first guitar chords on June 10. It is time for the Download Community to reunite!”

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