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Local council threatens to cancel Download Festival over “unprecedented” traffic chaos and 600 missed flights

“Something’s got to change for next year otherwise I’ll be pressing that the damn thing is cancelled” – Leicestershire County Council’s Nick Rushton



This year’s Download Festival may have been the biggest ever – more than 100,000 people attended the four-day event – but many fans travelling to the site reported long delays getting to the designated car parks, and now the local council has threatened to cancel the festival altogether if the issues aren’t addressed.

Last week festival organisers launched an investigation into what went wrong, after some ticket holders reported that it took more than seven hours to access to Donington Park site, and multiple non-festival goers were also affected.

Now Nick Rushton, leader of Leicester County Council, has had enough.

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

“My lawyer who works in Ashby and lives in Melbourne, a normal 10-minute journey home took her two-and-a-half hours,” he added. “Hundreds of people emailed me from their cars, phoned me from their cars, people trying to get to the airport – 600 people actually missed flights – it was an absolute disaster.”

Festival promotor Live Nation have said that the record attendance – and the increased number of cars attempting to access the site – were the main contributing factors to the delays, as well as issues on the travel routes to the car parks. The festival site is located next to East Midlands Airport.

“We recognise that the level of traffic congestion was unprecedented and not acceptable due to the effect it had on our customers and the local community,” said a spokesman for Live Nation. “As organisers of the festival, we have committed to a full review of the traffic management plan and information that was provided to ticket holders relating to the route to designated car parks.”

National Highways, which manages the road network, has said plans would be put in place to ensure that such disruption doesn’t happen again.