Covid: Download Festival cancelled for second year

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image captionDownload Festival was also cancelled as a result of coronavirus in 2020

This year's Download Festival has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers have confirmed.

The rock and metal event had been due to take place from 4 to 6 June, headlined by Kiss, Biffy Clyro and System of a Down.

Festival bosses said they had concluded it was "not possible" to make the event happen.

Ticket holders have been told they can retain their spots for next year or receive a refund.

The event had been due to start a few weeks before the government's 21 June target date to remove all legal limits on social contact.

Last year the festival was also called off due to the pandemic, in what would have been the 40th anniversary of its original incarnation, Monsters of Rock.

Instead, fans were encouraged to pitch tents in their gardens and share pictures while watching archive interviews and performances.

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In a statement, organisers said the decision to cancel this year's event came "following the announcement of the government's roadmap and despite the extraordinary efforts the NHS have put in to roll out the vaccine".

They said the festival "will return stronger than ever" in 2022, with Biffy Clyro, Iron Maiden and Kiss already confirmed as headliners.

Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson said the band were delighted to be invited back for next year's event.

"Like everyone, we were all hugely disappointed when the global pandemic forced the cancellation of Download 2020 which would have been Maiden's seventh time headlining here," he said.

"As most people know, this festival is hallowed ground for us and our fans' vocal support and enthusiasm is always phenomenal and much appreciated.

"We can't wait to see everyone again, and are determined to make the show one hell of a party and the greatest homecoming ever."

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image captionHeavy metal legends Iron Maiden were due to headline the three-day festival last year, and are down to appear in 2022

Californian trio Cemetery Sun also tweeted their disappointment at the cancellation.

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The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are continuing to be felt across the live music industry.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) warned independent festivals could be forced to cancel if they do not receive government-backed insurance and VAT intervention by the end of March.

Its chief executive, Paul Reed, said: "The Prime Minister has set out a road map and a 'no earlier than' date for festivals, and audiences have responded, demonstrating a huge appetite to be back in the fields this summer.

"But we need government interventions on insurance and VAT before the end of this month when festivals will need to decide whether they can commit to serious amounts of upfront capital.

"Now that we have a 'no earlier than' date, insurance is the last remaining barrier to planning."

In January, Glastonbury confirmed it would not return until 2022, though a number of other festivals say they are hopeful of being able to host events later in the year.

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