Source: Download Festival 2017 Event News
There were many great ideas, conversations and questions that came out of the recent Fan Forum Live and we want to make sure you’re kept up to date with what we’re doing about them, so this is where we are so far:
The updated Traffic Management plan is now complete and includes several alternative routes and actions that can be taken to reduce congestion, should we have a similar situation to last year when the M1 was closed over two days. We also discussed how we would get information out to people travelling to the festival should there be problems ahead and this included the Download App, Twitter, Facebook and linking in with local radio stations and media partners to spread the message as far and wide as possible. One thing we pressed upon was the importance of not using sat nav routes or routes that you may be familiar with from previous trips to Donington, but to follow the Download traffic signage to ensure that you get to the appropriate car park as fast as possible.
Drainage and Walkways
The drainage work is now well underway, along with the installation of new roads that will enable us to keep things moving in the public and back of house areas should we have severe wet weather conditions again. This will also include a walkway from the Campsite Village entrance through the Village. However, this is not just a quick fix one year plan and Festival Republic will continue to work with Donington Park to ensure that we continue to improve drainage, walkways and other facilities throughout the site.
The new security contractor has been fully included in the planning of the event, but questions were raised about briefings and how well their staff would know the layout of the festival in the first year. There are four security companies working across the festival this year and they will all report to two security co-ordinators who work for Festival Republic and will oversee all briefings, deployment and running of all security. Briefings will now take place at the beginning of each shift and not just on day one. All staff will have copies of the staff handbook to help them with any questions they may be asked. Both the security contractor and Festival Republic will have quality assurance staff on site throughout the festival ensuring that all security and stewards are briefed and clear on what their duties are.
There were also questions about the search policy on entry to the Arena and Campsite and even complaints from people who were not searched and felt they should have been! The search policy is agreed between Festival Republic, Leicestershire police and the security co-ordinators and is set based on the threat level to the festival. Just because you haven’t been physically searched on the way through a gate does not mean that security is bad, it means other security measures are in place and are working well.
The Dog Squad
Totally separate to our security procedure, we will also have our very own team of people there to help you when needed. If you can’t find something or someone, you’re not sure what direction you are heading, need to know where something is or need to know what’s happening, The Dog Squad are there to help you in any way they possibly can. Over the weekend they’ll be situated in the car parks, Campsite and Arena at various times. If you fancy volunteering for this you can find out more information at www.hotboxevents.com
We’re also talking to Child.org about the return of Charity Concierge, but this time they’ll be offering a drop off and pick up service for your luggage from the Car Park to the Campsite in return for a donation. We hope to be able to bring you more information on this soon.
The location of the new Disabled Campsite and car park was explained and it was agreed that it would be impossible to get a better location for either of them! Dog Squad, security and access management staff will be there to help people transfer all their stuff the very short distance to the campsite, and there is more hard standing than you could ever wish for with wheelbarrows available to help make it easier for everyone. However, we are very aware that the experience last year for many of our customers was not great, so the accessibility team will be arranging a daily meeting with a representative of the campsite and the Festival Management team to ensure all is running the way it should be. We were also made aware of the fact that some customers had been abusing the PA lanyard scheme last year and a slightly revised system will be in place to ensure this does not happen again, please contact the Accessibility team for more information.
This is now effectively an island allowing customers to walk directly from the NXT Arena part of the site through to the Zippo Encore Stage area. This field has more than doubled in size to make room for the Avalanche Stage as well as NXT along with new bars, food outlets, market stalls and sponsor activations. The Avalanche Stage has moved to enable us to develop the guest area and make better use of the drainage in that area; we think the new layout will make a big difference to how people move around the Arena and help avoid some of the congestion we have had in the past.
Lots of ideas and questions about location and number of bars in the Village so as well as the Hair of the Dog and the off licence, there will be a bar inside the Doghouse and hopefully something very new and very exciting that we are working on… more to follow shortly! Comments on fairground ride music were taken on board and the contractor for the Campsite and Arena has been given strict guidance on what they can play this year, so no more EDM, pop, country, jazz, blues or The Wurzels!
Seating and cover is mentioned at every Fan Forum and we explained that whilst we will be developing communal seating areas in the Campsite and Arena, it is impossible to put enough in for everyone. We also discussed the possibility of a Beer Hall type structure in the Arena but this is something we may have to develop in future years due to availability of space.
Toilets are also a popular subject and we explained how the access to them has been improved this year to ensure they can be serviced on a regular basis. The number and location of toilets throughout the festival have improved and we will have our own eco managers going around the site checking them on a regular basis.
The role of the Green Messengers was explained with their focus being on ensuring that we are recycling as much waste as possible as well as minimising the impact we have on the environment in many other ways both now and in the future. We also discussed the Tent Salvage initiative and invited people to let us have their ideas on how we can make better use of the thousands of tents, sleeping bags and other equipment that is left behind every year.
We have now released details of the reusable cups and based on your feedback so far, they are going to be very popular. You simply go to the bar and the first time you buy a drink you pay a £2 deposit on your cup, if you take your cup back to the bar on your next visit, you will be given a clean cup and won’t have to pay £2 again. At the end of the night or festival, you can go to the cup/bottle return point at the four Main Arena bars and get a £2 refund for each cup or take it home with you. The cups will be available in the Arena and Guest Area. Bottle refunds are also available from the same locations and you will get £1 for every 10 plastic bottles or £5 for a full recycling bag.
The three bin recycling system will be in the campsite once again, allowing you to separate compost such as food waste, recycle plastic bottles, cans, paper etc and general waste. Please try and use these sensibly, we can only reduce the impact on the environment with things like this if you make the effort to use them. There will be a recycling point in each campsite hub as well as in the Village.
Food and Drink
All food traders will clearly show what is available in terms of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free products and most bars will be able to offer vegan beers and ciders, please ask staff for further information. Bars will have the ability to take debit/credit card payments and this year some food traders will be able to do the same. If you’re trying to find them, they are likely to be close to the main bars.
There was clearly confusion last year, not helped by misleading information given out by the festival so this year we have a clear policy. Flags and flag poles are allowed in the Campsites; the only restriction on this will be in areas such as part of the Camper/Caravan field where there are overhead power cables. People camping in that area will be advised on what can and cannot be used. Flags are allowed in the Arena but NOT flag poles. This was put to the vote some years ago and the majority felt that flags on poles restricted the view of the stages.
Football and Election Coverage
Many have asked about the England vs Scotland game on the Saturday and even more of you about coverage of the General Election and not missing out on your right to vote. We will show coverage of the game in the Cinema Tent in the Village as well as any important Election Broadcasts, but if you’re going to be at Download on Thursday 8th June the best thing to do is register for a postal vote. To register your application, go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote Your application must be download, completed and returned to your local election office 11 working days before the poll.
There are many other things that we are investigating, developing and discussing with various parties and we hope to have further updates between now and this year’s festival including information relating to the Loyalty Scheme, so please keep your ideas and questions coming as they really do make a difference.