Download booker “not scared” by online criticism

Download Festival's booker Andy Copping has posted an open letter, urging critics of the event's headliners to judge the Donington festival on the diversity of its attractions and "awesome" atmosphere rather than its bill-toppers.

Copping and his festival have come under fire from fans on the official Facebook and message board forums, peaking after they announced Def Leppard as the third headliner last week.

Following some fairly heated reposts via Twitter, the booker – responsible for the pioneering rock festival’s line-ups since it launched in 2003 – has now attempted to set the record straight with a more reasoned appeal to fans.

He posted the following on the official Download forums:

“I am on a train and the signal is not working that well… I’m not scared… I book Download to the best of my ability and with what is available…if you don’t like it, there is nothing I can do about that. I’m built of stern stuff, I can take criticism but some of the comments, as ever, are ill-informed, wrong, unfair and downright rude!

“Download is a festival of numerous stages and numerous bands and an awesome atmosphere. That never changes year on year. Some bands you like, some bands you don’t… I have always tried to mix it up. I have had to put up with many posts saying that I have abandoned the classic day/stage… clearly I have not. Some of the suggestions I have heard year on year have been laughable but I just crack on. I personally thought the three headliners that were delivered in 2010, were the three best festival headliners ever….my opinion. However, I got roasted because, as like all bands, they are not to everyone’s tastes…I take it all on the chin and carry on.

“If people honestly think that Def Leppard has ruined the festival, then I am flabbergasted. You wanted a classic rock headliner, you got one. If you don’t like them, go watch Pendulum or Danzig – there’s something for everyone. No one forces anyone to watch a specific band at any one time, as there are always other choices and remember last year not one band was prepared to go up against AC/DC. If you didn’t want to watch AC/DC, you could go grab a drink, get some food, get an early night…in fact you could do whatever you wanted…it’s your festival, no one is forcing you to do anything.

“Download’s atmosphere will never change…Donington has something no other festival has…I don’t know what it is but it’s there and it’s great…regardless of who is playing. You should just come and enjoy yourselves…Korn, Alice Cooper, System Of A Down, Alter Bridge, Rob Zombie, Pendulum, Linkin Park, Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, Twisted Sister, Def Leppard, Down…what a mix. Maybe expectation levels are too high because you expect so much & rightly so but for God’s sake before you condemn the festival & me…look at what you get as whole. Download is Download is Download, always was, always will be. Andy.”

The diversity of the line-up is something that Anna Hyams praised in our blogs section (read her thoughts here), while Gavin McInally was one of the Def Leppard detractors (see what he wrote here).

System Of A Down, Linkin Park and Def Leppard will headline Download Festival 2011, which will take place at Donington Park in Castle Donington from 10-12 June.

Click here to see the latest Download Festival line-up.

Download Festival 2011 tickets are on sale now priced at £180 for a weekend ticket with five days camping, £170 for a weekend ticket with three days camping and £145 for a weekend-only ticket.

Click here to buy Download Festival tickets.