Download organisers vow to listen to complaints
16 June 2004
Agro security, five-hour queues, bad sign-posting, and cramped campsites -
some of the verbal fists that have been shaken at Download organisers by a number of festival
goers, via the Virtual Festivals and Download message boards during the last week.
While the majority admit to having had an otherwise amazing time over the weekend, it seems a number of organisational glitches caused a few headaches.
Fortunately, Download is one of the most open organisations on the festival circuit and prides itself on encouraging feedback through its message boards so that things can only get better.
In fact, the forum it's created is perhaps one of the main reasons for the recent backlash. All festivals have their problems, but not all actively seek to identify areas that can be improved upon.
And so, never ones of avoid the flak of controversy, the good folk at Download have held up their hands, attempted to answer their critics, and vowed to learn some lessons for next year's festival.
So what exactly were the main problems?
The main gripe concerned queueing. Several frustrated festies reported tent-laiden tailbacks stretching as far as the eye could see, with some claiming it took up to five hours to get into the campsite on the opening Friday.
Organisers have since put the official wait time somewhere between two and four hours and claim they were only trying to improve last year's queueing nightmare by changing the location of the entrance.
A spokesman said: "It obviously didn't work but rest assured, we will make it better for next year. The queues were so bad on Friday we tried to ease them by only putting on one wristband and leaving the arena wristbands until the next day."
Unfortunately, this led to more queueing the next day, as did a flux of people returning to their cars to pick up more belongings. So why was the car park so far away in the first place?
"We had a lot more people and cars this year," Download explained. "We couldn't use the adjacent fields, as they don't belong to a racetrack but to a farmer who did not want us to use them as car parks! This year, we had two double-decker buses running from the car parks back to the main entrance to the festival. Next year we are planning to have 16 shuttles."
Several people complained of campsites being over-packed, however on closer inspection there were in fact a number of vacant spaces that it seems people were simply unable to locate. Download declined to comment on claims of unhelpful security guards and bad sign-posting within the site, but have said they are looking into it.
As for waiting for two hours for Metallica to come on stage while they searched for stand-in drummers? Well come on now, you were lucky enough to be part of metal history!
Click here for the best Download 2004 coverage on the planet.