Download Festival reveals major site improvements for 2022

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Download Festival has revealed major site improvement plans for 2022, including improvements to accessible camping and sustainability initiatives.

Festival Republic, which organises the rock festival, made the announcement yesterday at Donington Park, which plays host to the event from June 10-12.

The organiser has made changes following audience feedback. Hence, The Village has moved even closer to the main arena and will now be located on hard-standing ground. With the new location just 350 metres from the Access Campsite, the closest it has ever been, access customers can now go freely from their camp to The Village without leaving solid ground. 2022 is expected to be a record-breaking year for Download and its loyal access customers, with the festival’s highest ever number of access customers set to attend the event.

Festival Republic has worked with Attitude is Everything since 2001. Download Festival signed up to the Attitude is Everything Live Event Access Charter and currently holds the Gold Award within the charter. The Accessible Campsite remains on the same hardstanding location but the Accessible Campervan space has moved to a flatter more accessible location and the space for campervans has increased by 42 per cent to more than 100 spaces for 2022.

In further developments, Download is also partnering with Trees for Cities. An additional £1 car park pass donation will fund tree-planting projects in both Derbyshire county and Leicestershire county in the coming planting seasons. Furthermore, the festival is introducing a new Circular Camping option, offering clean, upcycled tents and camping equipment. Circular Camping will be located in the Green campsite, next to the Eco Camp, which is back for 2022 for a third year with 100 per cent of tents taken away in 2018 and 2019, and being delivered by Be Your Environment Community Camping (BYEco).

For 2022, Download Festival has reduced walking distances for festival attendees by moving campsites, car parks, the transport hub and The Village. When campers were looking at almost an hour walk to the campsites from the Arena, the new campsite locations mean that Downloaders can reach their tents in the furthest campsites from the Arena in just 25 minutes. As The Village is now a central hub between campsites, this can be reached from the majority of campsites in 15 minutes or less.

Download Festival also introduces a new East Car Park, which alongside the West Car Park, will be dedicated to weekend campers with easy access to campsites either side of the site. The East Car Park will also be easily accessible by those travelling from the North of England via the newly created Castle Donington bypass. Improved conditions within the car parks aim to better handle weather conditions. The increase in car parks also means Downloaders no longer have to walk for miles with their weekend belongings, as if parked in the East Car Park, they can reach the nearest campsite in just two minutes. Additionally, the new car parks mean that festivalgoers can look forward to bridge-free access to the festival and campsites.

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, told StandOut magazine: “I am looking forward to the summer. Download will be our first major festival of the season and it will be emotional.

“Last year, Download was a pilot in the government’s Events Research Programme. It was extraordinary, good fun, emotional and loud. But it wasn’t ‘proper’ Download. The Download audience was impacted by the pandemic and our Download community was separated. We’ve been without Download for far too long and it’s time for the community to come back together.

“This year, things feel more settled but they’ll also be different and so the changes will go unnoticed and feel special at the same time. Everyone is just eager to be back together.”

Speaking about the supply chain, Benn said: “It’s been a bloody nightmare and a challenge. We’ve had a frantic six months to get on top of suppliers and contracts but everything now has a purchase order. I can’t pretend that it’s not been easy and we’ve had to change some suppliers, such as marquees and fencing, but I have been renting equipment for a long time and I’d like to think that I’ve been a good customer.”