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Download To Stage COVID-19 Pilot Festival
Christian Eede , May 27th, 2021 17:12

The 10,000-capacity event is part of the UK government's Events Research Programme

A pilot edition of Download festival will take place in the UK next month as part of the government's Events Research Programme.

The 10,000-capacity Download Pilot is being staged at the festival's usual Donington Park base, with researchers hoping to get an insight into the transmission of COVID-19 at outdoor festival events ahead of the UK government's current plan to relax social distancing measures from June 21.

"Following the huge success of our Sefton Park event, we are delighted to contribute to Phase II of the government's Events Research Programme with the creation of the first three-day camping festival," said Melvin Benn of Festival Republic, which runs Download. "This massive next step will help us understand and study the safe return of large-scale festivals with no social distancing or face masks over a full weekend."

The lineup for the event will be announced on May 28 and, encouragingly, "moshing is allowed," according to a press release announcing the pilot festival. Passes go on sale to Download ticket holders on June 1, while a general sale will begin on June 3.

Download Pilot follows on from a series of events that the UK government staged in Liverpool last month as part of its Events Research Programme. A report that emerged last week said that only 15 out of a possible 58,000 people had tested positive for COVID-19 following other events within the Events Research Programme.

While the government's plans to relax social distancing measures from June 21 still remain, some doubt has set in with the emergence of the new B.1.617 strain of COVID-19, dubbed the Indian variant. A decision on any further steps that might be taken by the government, such as on the introduction and use of vaccination status certificates, is expected before June 21.

Download Pilot will take place from June 18 to 21, 2021. Find more information here.