Virtual Festivals: How are the stress levels one week away from D-Day?
Andy Copping: Very stressful as we finally attempt to get everything into place and adhere to any last minute requests from the bands.
VF: What's new for 2006?
AC: Pretty much the same as last year, although we are doing more entertainment in and around the campsites to keep people occupied and entertained. We’ve also looked where we can to improve facilities to make the whole Download week-end experience more comfortable.
VF: Do you think it’s going to be the best Download yet?
AC: I think there is no question we have got the best line-up ever. Tool, Metallica and Guns n’ Roses as headliners is just awesome and will take some beating. I saw Tool play in the U.S. Last month and they were just awesome! The rest of the bill just strengthens what the festival is all about....what more can you want if you are a rock fan?
VF: What do you think is likely be the highlight this year?
AC: The Prodigy in the tent will be something special, as well as Lordi in the third stage tent.
VF: Which 10 artists are you most excited about seeing?
AC: Metallica (with Lars!), Tool, Bullet For My Valentine, Trivium, Avenged Sevenfold, Coheed & Cambria, Guns N’ Roses, Alice In Chains, Lacuna Coil and All American Rejects.
VF: The line-up seems to have narrowed somewhat in terms of genre, compared to last year. Is that more a reflection of the increased popularity of heavier forms of rock now or a conscious decision on your part to present a more focused bill?
AC: I personally feel we should try and keep Download as close to what our ticket buyers want and expect...this year I believe we have done that. However, lot of the way the bill comes together is dictated by who is available and touring during the time of Download.
VF: How have you found working with Axl Rose and is he still as 'unpredictable' from a promoter's point of view as he used to be?
AC: Axl is Axl and is a total legend! Guns n’ Roses are currently touring at the moment to rave reviews and they appear to be on fire with regards to the show and the songs they are playing – unpredictable? Always but that’s part of the buzz..they WILL be awesome!
VF: Tell us about Download Ireland - how did that come about and how closely is it related to Download UK?
AC: We wanted to give fans in Ireland the opportunity to get a taste of Download in their own back yard and although they haven’t got a full line-up of bands like Donington has, they still have a great bill.
VF: What have been your all-time top three greatest Download Festival moments over the years?
AC: 1) Joey Jordinson/Dave Lobardo drumming with Metallica.
2) Trivium coming of age during their baptism of fire which was opening the main stage on the Saturday morning last year.
3) Matt Zane swinging from hooks suspended from the lighting rig while playing with Society 1.
VF: Download's Online Community have famously begun to make their own real mark on the festival by hosting on-site football championships, not to mention Twister competitions and a pre-festival BBQ on the Thursday night. What is your take on all this?
AC: I love it, it’s brilliant! It means that more and more people want to be part of Download and it makes it like feel like going on holiday with 60,000 of your best friends!! Hopefully, this will continue and more and more of the fans will get involved over future years and become part of the Download ‘family’.
VF: What does the future have in store for the festival?
AC: I honestly believe Download will start to get the recognition it deserves as being THE most customer friendly festival in the UK, Europe and hopefully the world...we’ve still got work to do and we are definitely improving year on year - we are determined to get there.