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Interview with a Download Family – “Everyone looks after each other and people are so friendly”

Each summer we raise the horns to Download families who come to Donington Park to mosh together. But, what is it about Download that makes it a festival for all the fam?

We spoke to Ian Bell who’s been coming to Download with his family for the past four years to find out. Ian shares with us why his family keeps coming back each year, what his fave memories are and why they call Download ‘home’.


Why did you originally decide to come to Download Festival as a family?

My wife Jane and I have been attending DL for many years and always had our parents look after the kids, but as the kids grew older and really got into rock music they wanted to go too.  Our kids are Shay 15 and Lia 13, Shay has Autism and we knew that camping and large crowds could’ve been a problem.  Then, in 2015 we bought a campervan and decided to take the kids, also giving Shay the familiar surroundings in case it all got too much.

We bought RIP tickets to camp Park Farm so there would be lots of space for us.  On the Friday Slipknot were headlining and lots of people were wearing masks.  Shay has never been cool with anyone in fancy dress with masks or their faces covered. Some Slipknot fans came up to Shay to give him a high five and, to our amazement, he loved it. I’ve never seen him so relaxed and ‘at home’ as he does at DL.  He absolutely loves it and counts the days down every year.

His grades have improved lots at school over the last five years as we have said to both kids that we will only take them, if they work hard at school and have good attendance.

What was your first year at Download as a family?


Download Family

How many times have you been to Download as a family?

We have been to DL as a family for the last 4 years, we also meet up with our oldest son Shaun at some point over the weekend.  We bought our tickets for 2019 in June 2018. We really couldn’t go without them now.

What’s your favourite Download memory?

One of our best DL memory as a family is easy, we got invited to the side of the stage in 2017 to watch Five Finger Death Punch. It was beyond our wildest dreams to go backstage at a place we’ve been attending even as a couple since 1983 when it was Monsters of Rock.

Our other favourite memories would be celebrating Shay’s birthday at DL with DL Dog and Lia having her hair cut off at DL. She raised £700 for Teenage Cancer Trust and donated 14in/36cm of hair to the Little Princess Trust, who make wigs for children who lose their hair through cancer treatment.

Download Family

What do you enjoy about camping at the festival?

Camping at DL is great, everyone is friendly and we help each other out. We have many friends at DL who come round or a beer and a laugh, but RIP is also a quiet place at night.  I have a YouTube channel and some people know me from that.

What three camping essentials can you not leave home without?

1. Waterproofs

2. Sunscreen

3. Hat

Away from the music, what else do you enjoy taking part in at Download (e.g fairground, WWE NXT UK, cinema, village)? 

We like the Boardie takeover on Thursday night, it’s always good to meet up and see some bands of the future.  The fairground is always good and Lia loves to shop, she’s already saving for her DL2019 shopping spree.  There are always some amazing stalls and you can always find something unusual.

Why do you think Download’s a good festival to bring kids and teens?

Everyone looks after each other and people are so friendly.   No one is ever really alone as it really is one big family.  As Shay says ‘there’s no race, religion or difference at DL – only rock fans’

Download Family

Which bands are your family looking forward to seeing at Download 2019?

Well, for me I’m a big Whitesnake fan so deffo going to see them on the Friday, the wife is looking forward to seeing Whitesnake and Def Leppard and the kids are up for Halestorm.

If your family had a wrestling name, what would it be?

The Hellsbells

What keeps you coming back to Download every year?

It’s our annual holiday, it’s not all about the bands as we buy our tickets before any bands are announced.  It’s what we do!

The Download Dog is hungry, what would you get him from one of the food vendors?

It would have to be the mighty pulled pork cob!

In three words, what does Download mean to your family?

Back Home Again

Download Family

There’s only 8 weeks to go until you’re back with the DL Fam in Donington Park to watch our awesome headliners Def Leppard, Slipknot, Tool plus many more at Download 2019 on 14th-16th June 2019.