Download Festival has announced that a full mindfulness programme will be implemented in 2019 for the first time. Announced ahead of Mental Health Awareness week next month, the Mind The Dog initiative will run morning, afternoon, and evening sessions where rockers can share a fully immersive, live music and mindfulness experience, from Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 June. Download Festival is the first festival in the world to run such a programme.
The recent loss of music legends including Keith Flint (Prodigy), Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), and Scott Hutchinson (Frightened Rabbit) shows the importance of highlighting that mental health is just as important as physical wellbeing but that it often goes unnoticed because it can’t be seen. Within such a tight knit community as Download it is hoped that people will feel more at home and among kindred spirits and so more able to take part in the programme than if it were in the outside world.
Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn had this to say : “Download Festival has gone from strength to strength in its sustainability and accessibility offerings. We have been awarded 4 star Creative Green Result by Julie’s Bicycle for the second year running, and level gold from Access Is For Everything last year, which is highest possible award for accessibility, so it only made sense to offer an on site programme for mental health, as well as physical. By introducing Mind The Dog this year, we are hoping to provide a mindfulness haven in The Doghouse across the weekend, with meditation, sound baths, and more. I couldn’t be prouder of how much Download Festival has accomplished already.”
Rou Reynolds of Enter Shikari had this to add: “We often go through life on autopilot, getting caught up in the stressors, the anxieties, the intensity of it all. We’re rarely consciously in control of our turbulent mind. Mindfulness allows us to regain control as we learn to observe our thoughts instead of getting caught up in them. It has been an incredible help to me and I couldn’t recommend it more. Not only does it help with anxiety and depression, but it also improves focus, emotional intelligence, compassion, tolerance and objectivity and has even been proven to help boost your immune system. Big up Download for introducing this programme to the festival.”
The festival will also be bringing back it’s popular DO.OM yoga for those who wish to limber up a little in readiness for the bands.
Elsewhere Download’s drive towards becoming as carbon neutral as possible has seen many successes. Car parking donations last year via Energy Revolution raised £15,811 for Solar to Schools, a project which funds schools with solar roofing panels across the UK, and the festival continues its zero waste to landfill policy, and recycling points in the campsites will double in 2019. Last year saw the recycling and composting rate increase to 46% from 2017’s 41%, and single use cups were reduced by a million with reusable alternatives. The Eco Campsite opened in 2018 which saw zero tents left behind and returns this year with an increased capacity for a total of 2000 campers, a 33% increase from last year.
Additional water points for 2019 will be introduced across the arena, refillable Download Festival metal water bottles will be available for purchase the first time, and Co-op are to continue their Deposit and Return Scheme with their reverse vending machine returning to Download, which proved popular last year with festivalgoers who want to recycle plastic bottles, in return for a coupon to spend in the on site Co-op shop. Since 2016, all single use plastic cutlery, containers, and straws have been banned from traders, caterers and bars. Download has also been awarded Gold Level status by Access is Everything ahead of this year’s festival due to its commitments to accessibility improvements.
In a move likely to go down very well with many weekend campers will have their own dedicated car park, plus The Village is moving closer to The Arena meaning festival goers will have less of a hike from campsite to the stages.