Download Festival has today (April 7) announced major improvement plans for the 2017 festival. Included in this are new drainage systems, alternative traffic routes, improved disabled access, a 400 strong ‘Dog Squad’ to aid festival goers, and a stage relocation to better meet the needs of Download fans.
Speaking about the changes, Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn said: “As a festival we’re always looking to improve the experience for our customers – it’s always at the forefront of any planning we do, so the feedback we received on last year’s festival has been invaluable. We introduced the dog blog this year which has enabled us to really listen to the Download fans and take on board all suggestions, and in turn implement plans that will see this year’s Download be the best yet.”
One of the major initiatives is a direct response to fan community requests, following last year's unprecedented downpour that saw over 70 million gallons of rain falling across the weekend – the equivalent of 106 Olympic sized swimming pools. The 2017 event will see the introduction of a new drainage system which totals over 3,000 metres and quadruples the amount in previous years. An additional 1,115 metres of new ditches have also been added to take water away from site.
Another key addition is the relocation of the disabled campsite, which will see improved ground conditions and provide ease of access for disabled customers. The improved location will allow for customers to park nearer to their tents in an area with an increased amount of hard standing ground, and pathways with a better central toilet and shower facility that is easily accessible. Access roads between the car park, campsite and Main Arena will see the maximum solid ground routes available, and customers will have a dedicated arena entrance with access to the internal roadways in the arena.
Download have also reviewed traffic management plans and are working closely with local authorities to produce alternative travel routes following the implications of the unforeseen closure of the M1 in 2016. A new route from the North and three new routes from the South will aim to better control festival traffic, to ease congestion for locals and festival goers alike, minimalising traffic in the event of a major road closure.
Ticket holders driving on and off site each day will now park in a relocated car park, with the aim being for most vehicles to be parked on hard standing ground, allowing for greater ground resilience against wet weather. This will in turn be complemented by new trackways that will be put in place where needed to allow ease of vehicle movement and to improve conditions underfoot for people walking through the campsite.
An increased number of free onsite shuttle buses will also be available for the Main Campsite customers across the weekend from the West Car Park, as well as 400 members of a newly appointed ‘Dog Squad’ - an elite group of festival helpers - who will be stationed across the car parks, campsites, village and arena to aid festival goers with any onsite issues throughout the weekend.
Other changes will include: The Avalanche Stage (Third Stage) being relocated to allow easier access between stages; the opening up of the area around the Zippo Encore Stage allowing for improved crowd movement and flow, and the Quiet campsite will be positioned further from the East Midlands Airport runway, with the North East corner of the current campsite undergoing development over the next 3 years to provide a better-withstanding ground.
Additionally, the Download Festival Dog Blog has been active on the website since the start of the year, allowing customers to email in questions or suggestions. 24 hour security will remain in operation across the site, and more Zone Managers will be put in place for each field. These new representatives allocated by the festival will attend daily briefings with Site Management to ensure the most up-to-date information is provided to fans.
Download Festival takes place on 9 - 11 June 2017 at the spiritual home of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire.