Download Festival is held every June in Donington Park, Leicestershire, UK. It has been running since 2003 although it’s origin comes from the Monsters of Rock Festivals that were held on the same site between 1980 and 1996.
In an attempt to cater for all, Download features a wide range of Rock & Metal genres and manages to attract some of the biggest touring metal bands as headliners. They also host NXT UK Professional Wrestling Competitions during the weekend.
Download Festival Dates
Download Festival will take place from 4th – 6th June 2021.
Checkout the List of European Metal Festivals for other festival dates, including sister festivals Download Paris and Download Madrid.
Download Attendance Capacity
The daily capacity at Download is 110,000. It is the biggest Metal Festival in the UK and one of the biggest in Europe. The attendance is made up of a mixture of day ticket and weekend ticket holders. From my experience, Friday’s are usually the least attended days and Sundays the busiest.
3 Night Standard Camping and Festival Tickets are available, costing £243
5 Night Standard Camping and Festival Tickets are available, costing £250
Download also offer Early Bird Tickets, Eco Camping Tickets, Reduced Price Tickets for Children and Payment Plans whereby you can make an initial deposit and then pay by instalments.
Day Tickets become available much nearer to the festival date and will be priced accordingly.
Download Loyalty Scheme
Download operate a Loyalty Scheme whereby you can provide them with details of past Download Festival tickets purchased and obtain vouchers up to the value of £50 off drink and merchandise at the festival. So, make sure you keep your ticket purchase information safe.
Download Festival Stages and Line Up
There are 4 stages at Download. Because it is such a big festival, the stages are quite a distance apart so you need to plan your days wisely to avoid doing lots of unnecessary walking.
The Main Stage is where the headliners and many of the bigger named bands will appear over the weekend.
The Second Stage (Zippo Encore Stage) is also a decent size and located in a different part of the arena, compared to many big festivals where the two main stages are side by side.
The 3rd (Avalanche) & 4th (Dogtooth) Stages are in tents within the arena and host some of the lesser established bands.
Download 2021 Headliners will be KISS, BIFFY CLYRO and SYSTEM OF A DOWN
Tip! There will be band clashes across the stages. Use Clashfinder to help plan your itinerary. Note that Clashfinder initially is just a guide and will only become accurate once official stage times have been announced.
Camping at Download Festival
There are 6 campsites for standard camping. All identifiable by being named with a different colour. They are vast campsites with lots of room to pitch tents. They are however quite a distance from the arena so be prepared for a fairly long walk each day back and forth and try to take everything you need for the day as popping back to your tent isn’t as straight forward as at smaller festivals.
There are also campsites for RIP ticket holders and camper vans and caravans. These are located quite close to the main arena.
Tip! If you plan to do some cooking, you will unlikely be allowed stoves with flames and gas canisters. Use a Solid Fuel Stove instead.
Tip! The Car Park is a long walk from the camping sites so a Festival Trolley could turn out to be a good investment for transporting all your heavy gear and drink.
Tip! A Camping Chair is recommended when camping so you have somewhere to sit in the mornings and evenings before/after the bands and is essential if the ground is wet.
Download Festival Location and Postcode
Download Festival address is: Castle Donington, Derby, DE74 2RP England.
Travelling to Download
Travelling to Download by Car: Castle Donington is accessible from all parts of the country by road. Junction 23a off the M1 is the closest motorway exit. Once you start getting close to the festival site there will be plenty signs directing traffic.
Download Car Parking: A Parking Pass is required to park at Download for the duration of the festival. 1 pass per car. Passes are £20 if purchased in advance or £25 on the day. Click Here to Purchase a Parking Pass, either with your festival ticket or separate.
Tip! The Car Park is half a mile away from the camping site so be prepared for the walk and consider how you are going to transport all your camping equipment. A Festival Trolley could turn out to be a very good investment and many people use these.
Travelling to Download by Bus: Castle Donington is on many local bus routes so you will need to look up the timetables and routes depending on where you are travelling from.
On the journey to the festival, there are bus stops on the roads near to the festival entrance. When leaving the festival, busses can be boarded at the Transport Hub.
Tip! The queues for the busses get quite long as soon as the headliner act has finished. So it is advisable to start making your way to the Transport Hub just prior to them finishing if you want to be sure of getting near the front of the queue, and not have a long time to wait.
Travelling to Download by Coach: BIG GREEN COACH pick-up from over 60 UK locations for Download Festival transportation. Coaches can be booked in advance from their website. They sell weekend return tickets and day return tickets.
Travelling to Download by Train: The nearest train stations are East Midlands Parkway and Derby. From both you can easily catch the direct festival busses to and from the festival site.
Travelling to Download by Air: East Midlands Airport is close to Castle Donington and from there Taxi or Bus can be used to take you to your hotel or the festival.
Local Taxis to Download: Taxis will be able to pick-up and drop-off at the Transport Hub. No stopping is allowed on the roads in the vicinity of the festival site for drop-off or pick-ups.
At the Transport Hub there is a designated area to queue for taxis. In the evenings the queue gets long so if you want to catch a taxi you are advised to get to the taxi area outside peak times.
Download Shuttle Bus: These operate from East Midlands Parkway and Derby train stations throughout the duration of the festival.
Drop-Off / Pick-Up Point: Inside the Transport Hub there is an area reserved for dropping off and picking up. It is sign-posted once you are close to the festival site.
Hotels and Accommodation Local to to Download Festival
There are lots of Hotel and Accommodation options available close to Castle Donington and the festival site. Mainly due to East Midlands Airport being nearby.
Some of the hotels are either walking distance to the festival or a short bus ride away. Here is a selection of bigger hotels very close to the festival site.
Jurys Inn – East Midlands
Holiday Inn Express – East Midlands
Radisson Blu – East Midlands
Days Inn – Castle Donington
Tip! The hotels do get booked up quickly so if you know you are going to go to the festival, you are advised to then book your hotel ASAP before prices go up and/or they sell out.
You can find a selection of accommodation options near to Download Festival, Castle Donington, DE74 2RP on the interactive map below. You can zoom in/out and drag.
Loughborough is a very popular place to stay when Download Festival is taking place. There are 2 large and reasonably priced hotels in the town centre with pubs and places to eat nearby.
Firstly there is the RAMADA HOTEL that has parking included and is near the Amber Rooms Wetherspoons pub, and also has a pub with a beer garden across the road where lots of the festival goers drink on the Thursday evening. I often stay at the RAMADA and it is perfect for what I need.
Secondly there is the TRAVELODGE, which is also near the Amber Rooms Wetherspoons pub. Parking is across the road and costs extra.
Both these hotels have bus-stops almost directly outside where the SKYLINK bus service (operated by Kinchbus) goes to Castle Donington and the festival Transport Hub. The journey takes about 30 minutes. Busses run 2-3 times per hour and do run late at night after the headliners have finished. A day return ticket is just a few pounds.
Tip! The hotels do get booked up quickly so if you know you are going to go to the festival, you are advised to book your hotel ASAP before prices go up and/or they sell out.
Purchasing Food and Drink at Download
Food: There are plenty of outlets to buy food at Download. These range from Full English Breakfasts to burgers, noodles, paella and many more options including vegan and vegetarian.
Beer: There are bars situated at different locations around the arena where you can be lager, beers and soft drinks. Beer prices vary at Download depending on what you have. A standard pint will cost £4.50 – £5.00.
Download operate a drinking cup scheme whereby you purchase a cup initially and keep the cup with you during the day.
Payment can be cash or card
Food & Alcohol are not to be taken into main arena
Water: Free drinking water is available from designated water points in the arena.
Tip! To stay hydrated, use your empty beer cup and have a cup of water from the free water taps occasionally.
Tip! Fill up on snack bars at the campsite before going to the arena in the morning.
What to Take to Download Festival
Wristbands and Entry
The site officially opens for campers at Noon on the Wednesday. If you turn up slightly earlier, there is a fair chance you will be allowed in.
Wristbands are handed out upon arrival and will differ in colour depending on the camping package or ticket type purchased.
Download has merchandise stalls for official merchandise and also a Metal Market full of stalls belonging to various traders.
When it rains at Download, the grounds get muddy very quickly and soon turn into sludge. This is the case in the arena, at the entrances and exits and around the campsite. Make sure that if the forecast is for rain, you take waterproofs and have boots that go above the ankle.
Tip! If rain is forecast, take some bin bags into the arena to sit on as there isn’t much seating at Download. You could wear plastic bags inside your boots to keep your feet dry.
ATMs and Paying for things at Download
Purchases made at Download festival can be made by cash and there are ATM machines on site so remember to take a credit/debit card if you think you may need some cash. Note that there is a charge at each machine for a cash withdrawal. Purchases can also be made by debit/credit card.
Mobile Phone Charging: There are facilities available to either charge your phone securely or to hire or purchase a 100% charged portable charger.
Wi-Fi: You will need to check nearer to the festival date to see if Wi-Fi access will be made available and the cost.
Download Festival App: Each year Download have available a festival app for iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded for free.
Accessibility and Disabled Facilities at Download
The festival website has information regarding accessibility and disabled facilities at Download.