'Euphoria' as Download Festival begins without masks or social distancing

The festival is part of a government events pilot. (Photo: Shutterstock)The festival is part of a government events pilot. (Photo: Shutterstock)
The festival is part of a government events pilot. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Download Festival kicked has kicked off to an atmosphere of “euphoria” this weekend, the event’s promoter has said.

The festival is taking place this weekend as part of a Government live events pilot, meaning fans do not have to wear masks or socially distance.

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The capacity for the heavy metal event has been significantly reduced from 111,000 to around 10,000.

Promoter Andy Copping told the PA news agency there is a “real sense of euphoria” despite the rain.

“The thing is, it wouldn’t be Download unless there was a bit of rain and we had to have that,” he added.

He said the festival organisers are “honoured” to be among the first large-scale events to return since the start of the pandemic.

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Headliners at the festival include Enter Shikari, Bullet For My Valentine, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. More than 40 UK-based bands are in the line-up across two stages.

Festival organisers announced in March that they were cancelling the event for a second consecutive year due to the pandemic.

However, Download was given the green light in May to proceed as a Government test event, following a number of smaller pilots and the Brit Awards in May – the UK’s first major indoor live music event in more than a year.

Mr Coppling added: “It’s great that we are involved as a festival organiser, but just for that genre of music to be recognised as being important enough to be part of a very, very significant event… is really good.”

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Fans were seen arriving on site at Donington Park in Leicestershire and setting up tents while wearing raincoats and waterproof ponchos.

More rain is forecast for later in the weekend.

Additional reporting by PA.

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