Ultimate Guide to Staying in the Download Festival Campervan Field

Download Festival Campervan Field is probably the best festival campervan field we have visited so far. It’s well managed, relatively secure, has good facilities and excellent access to the arena. The article below provides information on what you need to know and the main safety rules you need to abide by.

General impression of Download Festival Campervan Field?

Of all the festival campervan fields we have visited over the years; Download Festival arguably is the best. Its facilities are comparable with those in other big festivals and it is relatively secure. It’s big selling point, however, is that its arena entry point is right at the side of Main Stage, which means you can be at the front of Main Stage in 5-10 minutes, depending on which end of the field you’re staying. And, most importantly, pop back to your van for a cream tea between bands, if you want.

What tickets do I need to stay in the Download Campervan Field?

You only need one Campervan Supplement Ticket per Pitch, however, every occupant staying on the pitch (regardless of whether they are sleeping in the van, awning or tent on the pitch) must have a valid 3-day or 5-day weekend camping ticket. If you are all staying for 5 night from Wednesday through to Monday morning, you will all need a 5-day camping ticket. People with day tickets are not allowed in the Campervan Field.

What do Download Festival Tickets cost?

2020 tickets are currently on sale at Early Bird Prices:
Early Bird – Weekend 5 Night Camping – £185.00 + £10.00 Fee
Early Bird – Weekend 3 Night Camping – £175.00 + £10.00 Fee
Campervan/Caravan Pass – £130 + £10.00 Fee
See downloadfestival.co.uk/tickets new tab for details of other tickets

BEWARE – Popularity and demand seems to grow year on year. The Download Campervan Passes sell out very quickly. Much more quickly than the weekend camping tickets. If you want one, don’t hang around. For the best chance of getting one you need to be looking to buy immediately after the current festival finishes. You are warned.

What about Campervan Terms and Conditions?

The weekend Campervan Pass is subject to the festival organiser’s terms and conditions, the most important of which are covered in this guide. So, if you stick to the suggestions in this guide, you stand a good chance of being compliant with festival organisers’s rules.

How big are the pitches?

The pitches have shrunk a little in recent years. The standard campervan pitch allocation currently measures 9m by 7m and is marked out by a mown grass boundary. They are arranged in double rows with a fire lane between each double row.

They are big enough to fit a standard campervan/motorhome and awning on them and many pitches you see will also have a tent squeezed on. If you have a biggish caravan, plus awning and a large towing vehicle, it can be a bit of a squeeze and you might struggle to get a tent on as well.

The camping vehicle, car, awning, tents etc must fit within the pitch. The stewards on site are getting increasingly picky about this, particularly if someone complains that you’re encroaching on their pitch or you are blocking the fire lane.

If you come as a group and pitch next to each other, it seems fine to go over the boundaries between your pitches. It’s common to see tents and gazebos pitched over the boundaries.

What is allowed on the pitch?

This is an important topic that some folks do fall foul of and it has been the subject of much debate in recent festivals. Back in the day, it wouldn’t be unusual to see an array of strange looking vehicles with a mattress thrown in the back, in the Campervan Field. The festival organisers have tightened up on this a lot in recent times so read this section carefully and make sure you can comply with the rules.

Only the following camping vehicles will be allowed in the Campervan Field: campervan; motorhome; caravan; trailer tent; purpose-built vehicle with camping facilities within.

The following vehicles are not allowed: van with a mattress or bunk bed only. Or, crucially, any other vehicle deemed to be inappropriate by the festival organisers (See the section below which details the official definition of campervans/caravans).

You are only permitted to sleep in your campervan/caravan or a tent. Lots of people sleep in a pod on an awning so seem to be ok. You can’t sleep in cars, people carriers or ordinary, unconverted vans.

You may only have one camping vehicle per pitch. Cars, people carriers and vans are only allowed to stay on your pitch, if they were used to tow a caravan.

What counts as a campervan/caravan

If you are in a standard campervan, motorhome, caravan or trailer tent, you’re going to be fine. For van conversions and more unusual vehicles it would be a good idea to read the following official definition of a campervan/caravan which is taken from the official download regulations:

  1. There must be a door that provides access to the living accommodation.
  2. A bed, which is an integral part of the living quarters which has a minimum length of 1800mm or 6 feet. This can be converted at night from seats used for other purposes during the day but must be permanently fixed within the body of the vehicle.
  3. There must be a water storage tank or container on or in the vehicle.
  4. A seating and dining area, permanently attached to the vehicle. The table may be detachable but must have some permanent means of attachment to the vehicle. It’s not good enough to have a loose table.
  5. There must be a permanently fixed means of storage, a cupboard, locker or wardrobe.
  6. There must be a permanently fixed cooking facility within the vehicle powered by gas or electricity.
  7. There must be at least one window on the side of the accommodation

If you do not know whether your vehicle is suitable for access to the Campervan Site, you should purchase a Campervan Ticket and then send a picture of your vehicle to [email protected] within a week of purchasing the ticket. You will then be contacted to inform you whether or not it is acceptable. If you are told that your vehicle is not suitable you can either bring an alternative, suitable vehicle or can opt for a refund of the price of the Campervan Ticket (The festival organiser’s decision as to the suitability of your vehicle is final)

Can I pitch a tent?

Campervan pitches must have at least one camping vehicle on them. Pitches must not be used by tents only unless they are trailer tents.

You are allowed a gazebo or awning and one tent provided that it all fits within your pitch alongside your camping vehicle.

You do see people pushing the limits with this, but you risk the wrath of the stewards. If a member of the site staff asks you to remove any vehicles, tents, awnings or gazebos, you must do so immediately.

What about gas cylinders?

Gas cylinders are not allowed in the Campervan Site, unless they are professionally installed within the camping vehicle. So, your integrated gas supply in your campervan/caravan is ok. Stand-alone gas bottles/cartridges are not permitted, so leave them at home. There is a history of pretty insane behaviour with gas canisters at festivals so the stewards have been known to get in a proper strop about gas.

Can I take petrol generators?

What do you think? Just no! If you are found with any petrol you will be ejected from the Download festival site unceremoniously by several burly men and a large catapult.

Are fires allowed?

Fires are not allowed but BBQs seem to be ok. If the BBQ is flaming a bit and it’s more of a fire than a BBQ, its basically down to the discretion of the site staff as to whether you need to put it out.

Any item that is “deemed to pose a risk to the safety of you or other campers is not allowed at any time”.

Equipment that is obviously meant for making fires is also not allowed so fire pits, chimineas and large wood burning stoves are definitely out. The festival organisers reserve the right to confiscate these items and/or refuse entry to the campervan site.

Is glass allowed?

Glass is not allowed anywhere in the festival. If you bring beer, make sure it’s in cans. Decant wine and spirits into plastic bottles. Use plastic glasses, if you’re posh.

Are flags allowed?

Flags are allowed in the Campervan Field not in the arena. This is not Glastonbury. If you take a flag into the arena, you will be escorted out of the arena on the end of it.

Can I take alcohol into the arena?

No alcohol can be taken into the arena. But, as previously mentioned, the Campervan Field is close to the arena so it’s not too difficult to get back to your van a couple of times a day for a sit down and refreshments after a hard mornings moshing.

When do you need to vacate the Campervan Site?

You and all your kit need to be off the Campervan Field by 12:00pm on the Monday after the festival. The festival staff will come around and chivvy you along. The festival organisers reserve the right to charge you for any costs incurred for removing vehicles or items left on the Campervan Site.

In years of heavy rain and mud, such as Download 2019 when the field was still being cleared at 5pm, it is very difficult for campervans and caravans to get off site safely and there may be a queue to towed off by the Download Tractor. Obviously, the festival organisers will not penalise you in this situation. That would be mean.

Are the pitches flat?

The Campervan Field is basically a hillside. You will realise how steep it is when you look back up at it from the arena. Some of the pitches are flat, particularly at the very top and bottom of the field but there are also some on a bit of a slope. It’s a good idea to take a good supply of chocks to level your van. Seasoned visitors take thick wooden blocks or even cinder blocks, in case they end up on a steep pitch.

Are there toilets, showers, elsan points and water?

There are toilets, showers and water at both the top and bottom of the field. There’s usually a block of about 6 portaloos, a urinal block and a shower (if you’re bothered) at the bottom of the field near the arena entrance and at the top of the field by the security hut.

The toilets are generally pretty well maintained but the ones next to the arena entrance can get a bit busy at certain times of day. If you are staying at the bottom of the field, it can actually be quicker to walk up to the top of the field or pop into the arena for your morning toilet visit rather than queuing for the toilets at the bottom of the Campervan Field.

What are the catering facilities?

There’s normally a catering trailer at the bottom of the field near the arena entrance selling standard festival camp-site grub: Tea, coffee, cold drinks, bacon butties and burgers. There’s a big choice of food vans in the arena, a short walk away

What the Security like?

There are numerous security staff on the road entrance and your van may be searched on the way in. Prohibited items (see above) can be confiscated at the discretion of the security staff. You will, at least, get a quick niff around by the police sniffer dogs.

The Campervan Field is surrounded by a 10ft steel wall, that would make Donal Trump’s eyes water. Security and festival staff do patrol fairly frequently. There are security lights around the perimeter, but it is a large field so still quite dark in the middle.

There are at least 2, often more, security staff on the arena entrance and the walk through to the village from the top of the field also has security, where wrist band checks are carried out. However, there is no difference between a Campervan wristband and any other camping wristband so its more to deter outsiders.

It’s not one of the worst festivals for thieving but tents and vans make easy pickings for the light-fingered. With up to 100 thousand people there, there’s bound to be one or two wrong’uns knocking about so take sensible precautions. Lock your van up when you’re not there and don’t leave valuables lying around.

How far is it to the stages from the Campervan Field?

From the middle of the Campervan Field, rough estimates for walking times would be:
Main Stage: 5 – 10 mins
Second Stage: 10 – 15 mins
Village: 15 – 20 mins

If the arena entrance security staff are being extra vigilant, it can be much longer. This varies from year to year and from day to day. They tend to be most vigilant on festival day 1 i.e. the Friday. Leave yourself at least 20 mins extra if you want to make the start of a particular band’s set.

Is there rubbish disposal and recycling?

There are rubbish skips and recycling bins at the bottom of the field near the arena entrance and at the top of the field.

Is it muddy?

It’s the same as any field. If its sunny, its lovely. If it rains, yes it can get very muddy. A few thousand people and big heavy vehicles entering and leaving can whip up a mud bath quicker than you can say Alice Cooper.

Just take the usual precautions and try not to get upset when you get a bit mucky. See here for Top Tips to Help You Survive Festival Rain and Mud

Where can I get more information?

Hopefully this article will answer most questions for first-timers in the Download Campervan Field. If you have other questions or useful information to share please, feel free to add them to the comments below or message us via The Festival Vanlife Facebook Page and we will do our best to answer them.

Alternatively, best places to get more information about the Download Campervan Field are:

The Download Campervan Facebook Page It’s a closed group so you will need to join.
The Download Forum Campervan Thread You will need to create a profile. It’s free.

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