New traffic advice issued for Download 2024 after “unprecedented” congestion at last year’s festival

Download Festival attendees have been issued new advice ahead of this year’s event to avoid a repeat of the “unprecedented” congestion that took place last year.

READ MORE: Download Festival boss on gender-balanced festival line-ups: “All festivals need to look at how diverse they are”

There were major delays on the surrounding roads, including the M1, A50 and A453, as festivalgoers descended on Donington Park in Leicestershire last year. Some fans said it took them up to seven hours to get on the site, while according to the leader of Leicestershire County Council, around 600 people missed flights at the nearby East Midlands Airport due to traffic jams.

Part of the reason for this may have been that last year’s event took place over four days as opposed to its usual three in celebration of its 20th anniversary. Consequently, many fans were travelling all on the same day and their arrival was less spread out than usual.

In total, 75,000 people are expected to attend Download next week, which takes place from June 14-16. National Highways has said the M1, A42, A453, A50 and A38 were expected to see significant increases in traffic from June 12, when campsites open, and when people leave on Sunday night and Monday morning.

They advised people driving to the festival to allow extra time for their journeys and to follow the signs around the festival rather than relying on sat-navs. Motorists have also been told not to assume the route or entry point they have used in previous years will be the same.

National Highways added that there will be more parking fields than in previous years with an increased number of access gates. Festivalgoers can scan a QR code on their parking passes for live updates on car park availability and capacity.

To reduce congestion, pick-up and drop-off points will not be in the same areas as the camping entrances.

Meanwhile, motorists travelling to East Midlands Airport have been advised to allow more time for their journeys and any non-festival traffic should avoid the area.

Download Festival. Credit: Joseph Okpako/Getty

“We are really aware of the issues that took place last year,” festival director Jess Shields said [via BBC].

“The format of this year’s event is quite different. We now have two arrival days as opposed to one last year so we can spread arrivals over two days. We have been working really closely with National Highways and the council to make sure everyone’s happy with the plans we have in place.”

Last year, the head of Leicestershire County Council warned that the festival could be under threat if there is a repeat of the issues from the 2023 edition.

Nick Rushton, the council leader, described the situation as “an absolute disaster” with the worst queues he’d seen in Download’s history. However, he remained optimistic that the situation would improve next year “with a bit of controlling”.

“Donington are pretty good operators but they really messed up big time this time,” Rushton told the BBC. “Something’s got to change for next year otherwise I’ll be pressing that the damn thing is cancelled.”

In other news, Download boss Andy Copping revealed last week that a “big band” will perform a surprise set at this year’s edition of the festival.

Copping recently hosted an hour-long show on Planet Rock called Andy Copping’s Secrets of Download during the bank holiday (May 27), where he revealed that fans should look out for a secret set this year.

“One thing’s for sure, you’ve got to keep your eyes and ears peeled for this year at Download because, yes, we have another band coming in doing a secret set. Something very, very special. Big band. So look out for that.”

Any remaining tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.

The post New traffic advice issued for Download 2024 after “unprecedented” congestion at last year’s festival appeared first on NME.

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