Despite reports from earlier this week assuring punters that the Download Festival would indeed return to Australian shores as scheduled, organisers Live Nation and Secret Sounds have today confirmed the cancellation of the 2020 event.
The news comes as headliners My Chemical Romance (who recently emerged from a six-year hiatus) pulled out from the event, citing fears surrounding the emerging coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In a statement, the band wrote, "We felt this was the right decision for our fans, our band, our crew, and our families given the current global situation. We apologize to our fans, but please know that we didn’t come to this decision lightly. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to being with you all again as soon as we can. In the meantime, please be good to each other."
Festival organisers followed the band's announcement with their own statement, confirming the entire event would be axed as a result. "The Download team has been working around the clock to create an unforgettable experience for heavy music fans and we are devastated not to be able to deliver this show to Australian Downloaders as planned," they write.
Co-headlined by a litany of genre-defining bands like Deftones, Jimmy Eat World, Clutch and Ministry, the third local instalment of the world-renowned rock and metal festival was scheduled to take place in Melbourne next Friday, March 20th, and in Sydney on the 21st. Some bands have already touched down on Oz soil, however, and it's been implied by Download's team that a handful of last-minute sideshows are being organised to take place in the festival's absence next week.
All ticket purchasers to Download Festival Australia 2020 will receive a full refund, including booking and payment processing fees. Moshtix will contact account holders on Monday, 16th March via email with information regarding the refund process.
The emerging coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has seen a number of other wide-scale events shut down in recent days – Tasmania's annual Dark Mofo festival was axed just yesterday, alongside word that a bushfire benefit headlined by popstars Miley Cyrus and Lil Nas X was being put on ice. Overseas, festivals such as Coachella and SXSW – both of which sported lineups three figures strong, including Australian artists – have been postponed (or outright cancelled) due to health concerns.
More news regarding the cancellation of Download Festival Australia 2020 is expected to emerge later today; keep an eye on Australian Guitar's social media for updates.