This weekend saw the welcome return of major festivals to the U.K., with Download Pilot seeing 10,000 fans descend on Donington Park. 

The renowned rock festival became the first major festival in the U.K. this weekend when it returned as part of a government initiative to research the return of live music events on a large scale, as per Loudwire.

Researchers have been eager to work out how to hold such big events safely without the risk of spreading COVID-19. While Download Pilot saw just 10,000 fans – still a huge amount – attend, if all goes well, the full festival is expected to return next year.

After having to watch with envy as countries like New Zealand put on huge live events recently, they made sure to make Download Pilot a rowdy one with a strong lineup. Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes headlined on the first night, while Enter Shikari, Bullet for My Valentine, Creeper, and Neck Deep also performed on the exciting bill.

The lucky 10,000 had to follow social distancing guidelines while travelling to and entering the festival and the only prerequisite for entry was a required lateral flow test taken the morning of arrival with a negative result of course needed.

Fans were allowed to remove their face masks once inside the event and mosh pits were also back on the menu as social distancing guidelines were relaxed too.

“The important part of this is to actually do this as realistically as possible,” Professor Paul Monks, the lead scientist for events research, told the BBC. “Because we couldn’t understand that risk and reduce that risk unless we do it by people acting normally.”

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Typically English weather – a downpour of rain during summer – couldn’t dampen the joy of those just happy to be back at a festival for more than a year.

Live music fans in the country will now be hoping that the data gathered by the researchers is positive and Download Pilot can be the first major festival of many in 2021.

For more on this topic, follow the Live Music Observer.

Check out Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes chat backstage at Download Pilot:

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