COVID-19: Download Festival cancelled again due to lockdown, say ‘heartbroken’ organisers
Written by Hitmix News on 2 March 2021
The Download Festival has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic for the second year running, its “heartbroken” organisers have said.
England’s roadmap out of lockdown, announced by Boris Johnson last month, makes it impossible for the three-day weekend event to take place between 4 and 6 June, they said.
In a statement, organisers said: “Following the announcement of the government’s roadmap 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.
Live COVID updates from the UK and around the world
Image: Iron Maiden will replace System Of A Down in 2022, organisers say
“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 it plans to return in 2022, they announced veteran heavy metal band Iron Maiden will replace System Of A Down as headliners.
The government hopes to lift all remaining restrictions on social contact by 21 June at the earliest, which would mean larger events including festivals could go ahead.
Parklife in Manchester, also due to be held in June, is one that has rescheduled its 2021 edition – in its case to September.
Download did not say why it had chosen to cancel instead of reschedule its 2021 dates.
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 roadmap 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.
Image: System Of A Down, seen in Denmark in 2017, will not appear at Download in 2022
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 £1.76bn in gross value to the economy in 2019, with almost one in three Britons watching Glastonbury on TV.