Download Festival 2022 death: what happened as man dies at rock music event before Iron Maiden performance

People gather around the main stage during the hard rock music Download (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)People gather around the main stage during the hard rock music Download (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)
People gather around the main stage during the hard rock music Download (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images
According to the authorities, the man had fallen ill on the second day of the festival and had been taken to Derby Royal Infirmary

A man has passed away in hospital after becoming unwell at Download Festival, a rock music festival held at Donington Park in Leicestershire.

Authorities have confirmed that the man was transported to hospital shortly before headlining act Iron Maiden took to the stage, and that his death is being treated as unexplained.

This is what you need to know.

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What happened at Download Festival?

Police have confirmed that a man has died after a medical incident occurred at Download Festival on Saturday (11 June).

A statement from the Leicestershire Police said that the force was investigating the circumstances surrounding the festival goers death.

A spokesperson for Leicestershire Police said: “We can confirm the death of a man who had been attending the Download Festival in Castle Donington at the weekend.

Fans wait for the next band at the main stage during Day 3 of the Download 2008 Festival on June 15, 2008 at Donington Park in Castle Donington, England.  (Photo by Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images)Fans wait for the next band at the main stage during Day 3 of the Download 2008 Festival on June 15, 2008 at Donington Park in Castle Donington, England.  (Photo by Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images)
Fans wait for the next band at the main stage during Day 3 of the Download 2008 Festival on June 15, 2008 at Donington Park in Castle Donington, England. (Photo by Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images) | Getty Images

“The man became unwell at the festival on Saturday evening (11 June) and was taken to the Derby Royal Infirmary where he sadly died.

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“The death is being treated as unexplained and enquiries remain ongoing.”

One eyewitness reportedly told LeicestershireLive: “It happened just before Iron Maiden came on and noticed people were shouting and then paramedics were going back and forth to help whoever it was.

“It was during the first song that they were taken away. I don’t think many people realised what was happening at first.”

A view of the main stage during day three of the Download Festival on June 10, 2007 in Donington Park, England. (Photo by Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images)A view of the main stage during day three of the Download Festival on June 10, 2007 in Donington Park, England. (Photo by Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images)
A view of the main stage during day three of the Download Festival on June 10, 2007 in Donington Park, England. (Photo by Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images) | Getty Images

The man’s death comes shortly after the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) and the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance were dispatched to the festival following reports of a separate medical emergency regarding a different festival goer.

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An EMAS spokesperson said: “We received a call at 12:49pm on Saturday 11 June to Castle Donington, Leicestershire, to assist with a medical emergency.

“The air ambulance was in attendance and assisted medical teams on site.”

No further details pertaining to this incident are known, with this person’s condition also unknown.

What is Download Festival?

Download Festival is a British rock festival that was founded in 2003 as something of a followup to the Monsters of Rock festivals that had been held between 1980 and 1996 at Donington Park, which Download describes as “the spiritual home of rock”.

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While interest in the Monsters of Rock festivals had declined over the years, eventually leading to its demise, the 2002 Ozzfest showed that there was a renewed appetite for live rock and heavy metal music performances amongst British audiences - enter Download Festival.

Fans in the audience enjoy Megadeth perform on the main stage during day one of the Download Festival at Donington Park on June 8, 2007 in Donington, England.  (Photo by Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images)Fans in the audience enjoy Megadeth perform on the main stage during day one of the Download Festival at Donington Park on June 8, 2007 in Donington, England.  (Photo by Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images)
Fans in the audience enjoy Megadeth perform on the main stage during day one of the Download Festival at Donington Park on June 8, 2007 in Donington, England. (Photo by Dave Etheridge-Barnes/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Beginning as a two day event with two stages, Download has since evolved into the biggest and most popular British summer rock and heavy metal festival, boasting performances from some of the biggest bands in the genre, including Slipknot, Linkin Park, Thin Lizzy, Guns N’ Roses, Rammstein, AC/DC and many more.

The 2022 festival began on Friday 10 June and ended on Sunday 12 June, and featured performances from acts like Kiss, Biffy Clyro, Korn, A Day to Remember, Rise Against, Funeral for a Friend and Marianas Trench.

Next year, the 2023 festival will mark the 20th anniversary of Download.

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