It's almost time for huge names in music to descent on the centre of London.
At festivals across the UK, VIP Nation are offering a camping experience with an extra-comfortable twist. At Download Festival, nestled in the heart of England at the proclaimed spiritual home of rock, it takes on the suitable RIP moniker. This is rock after all.
Tucked neatly behind the Main Stage, we are welcomed into the brilliantly titled Metal Meadow. The concept is simple; choose an appropriate package ranging from a pre-pitched tent to a fully equipped (and visually stunning) triangular luxury cabins, and enjoy a camping experience like no other.
Options range from private wash facilities to shared toilets and showers, and from tipis to airstreams – top class campervans disguised as metal behemoths.
We’re welcomed by the 24 hour reception and shown to our luxury cabin for two. It’s one of the mid-range options, although it’s immediately clear that any of the structures or tents are going to offer a genuinely comfortable experience.
Our cabin is equipped with power, two USB charging points, a mirror, towels, and the most comfortable beds imaginable. By the time Download Festival comes to a close, we’re pretty adamant we want to take the bed home with us, if not the entire cabin.
Shower and toilet blocks are located a (very) short walk from all accommodation. The water is warm and flowing, and the toilets are stocked and remarkably clean, all throughout the day and night. The 24 hour reception is on hand should there be any issue, although from our experience exist mainly to offer polite conversation and to run the on-site tuck shop, dealing out tea, coffee and late night snacks.
The atmosphere is similar to the regular campsite, although more quiet and far more relaxed. That said, it’s entirely possible to befriend fellow campers, and to enjoy the sociable aspects mirrored in the general campsite. Most revellers sit in front of their structures in the early morning and evening, with various camping stoves filling the air with heartwarming smells.
One of the biggest benefits is simple convenience. Queues to the toilet are in our experience non-existent. Queues to the warm and spacious showers are minimal, if there at all. Above all, Metal Meadow (one of the festival’s many RIP packages on offer) is situated a stone’s throw from the exclusive arena entrance.
Between camping and all the live music Download Festival has to offer lies the guest area, lined with high-quality food stalls, its own bar, a special whisky bar, and more comfort facilities. From here another entrance takes you directly into the bustling arena, and into the heart of the action. The picnic bench filled guest area offers an alternative to the main space. Somewhere comfortable to sit, eat, drink and socialise.
Altogether, RIP offers an unforgettable and irreplaceable festival experience. It’s built around convenience and comfort, without detracting from the overall festival atmosphere. It’s altogether calmer and more relaxed, and offers more direct access to the full action of the main arena. Come bedtime, it’s possible to slink off into an entirely different world – a private world – to enjoy Download Festival well rested and raring to go.
VIP Nation service many festivals and events in the UK and abroad. Check out what they offer at the likes of Latitude, V Festival and more here.