As we absolutely steam towards Download Festival 2018, the organisers have announced a series of site improvements for this year which will provide very welcome news for many of the festival's hardcore faithful. Never a group to shy away between events, the team behind Download Festival have continually shown how open they are to taking on feedback and subsequently acting on it and with it only being a matter of months away they've been keen to show that 2018 is no different.

As also previously reported, day tickets also recently went on sale with weekend packages also still available. Head over to NOW for purchases. PLEASE ensure you always go via the official ticket outlets.

Key points from the announcements this week:

- Access viewing platforms will now be available at all stages across the festival.

- Download Festival is incredibly proud to welcome British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters for the first time on the Main and Zippo Encore Stage platforms, provided by Performance Interpreting, a unique company providing deaf performers to the music and entertainment industry.

- Castle Donington Volunteer Centre will return to Download for the fifth year, to provide an almost 24-hour free shuttle service between the campsite and Village, along with Campsite and Public Transport Hub for Access customers. This year will see a 50% increase in the shuttle bus vehicles due to significant demand in 2017.

- Those camping in the accessible campsite will now be able to drive right up to their pitch to drop off their equipment, where a team of ready and willing helpers are on hand to unload cars.

- A wheelchair charging tent with 50 charging points will be available for the first time, and the possibility of adding extra, and there will even be a 50% increase in the number of toilets in the Access Campsite as well as the check-in facility doubling in size to help make the process as comfortable, smooth and efficient as possible.

Festival Republic's Senior Access Coordinator, Laura Mina, stated the following: "We're continuously improving accessibility for our customers, and we're predicting a 31% increase in Access arrivals at Download Festival following changes we implemented last year, an increase from 1450 to over 2000. We work tirelessly to ensure we deliver the best possible experience for our Access customers and this year is no exception."

- Download Festival is dedicated to improving its understanding, commitment and improvement towards environmental sustainability, and since 2016 Download has participated in the Creative Green Certification which is an external assessment by Julie's Bicycle, a charity who support the creative industries to act on climate change. Download achieved an incredible four out of five stars due to last year's environmental ethics, and welcomes everyone to read full report is available to read online.

- For 2018 carbon balancing has been introduced by adding an extra quid to the cost of all parking passes which will be donated to the charity Energy Revolution, who invest in renewable energy projects. This is on top of current travel initiatives with Big Green Coach, Liftshare and shuttle buses to encourage the reduction of traffic coming to the site.

- In 2017, overall waste decreased by 61% compared to the year previous. Download Festival introduced reusable cups last year where half a million single use cups were saved, and the Deposit Return System has seen an amazing 100,000 bottles collected and recycled since 2016. There has even been an increase of campsite recycling points, and food traders are not allowed to use single use plastic cutlery or food containers to ensure 2018 is the most environmentally friendly yet.

- Plastic straws have been banned since 2016!!

- Greenpeace are hosting a brand-new campsite called Eco Camp in a beautiful part of the Donington Estate, which is home to ancient oak trees and native wildlife, and can host up to 3000 fans who value spending time in the great outdoors just as much as listening to their favourite bands. Staying in the campsite is available at no extra cost for fans who have purchased a valid weekend camping ticket, but they must pre-register in advance and sign up to the set of eco-principles which include respecting the natural environment and fellow campers, being responsible for their rubbish and taking camping equipment home. During the festival Greenpeace will nurture a community of like-minded people to get inspiration about how to live in a positive way and only their experiences and memories will remain.

Commenting on all the changes, Festival Republic's Melvin Benn stated "Download Festival is built upon an ethos of inclusivity and it's incredibly important to us that as many people as possible are able to enjoy the festival to the fullest. The appointment of accessibility ambassadors has provided us with invaluable feedback so that we're able to implement practical improvements to site the that we hope will dramatically improve the experience for all. Being awarded a 4 out of 5 star Creative Green Certification is a huge milestone for Download Festival, and in this current climate I can't help but feel proud of what we are doing to protect the environment including the introduction of Greenpeace's Eco Campsite."

As ever then, the festival are open to taking on ideas from YOU. They launched the Dog Blog last year which has proven instrumental in customer/festival interaction. The blog entries are all available on the Download Festival website -

Day tickets also recently went on sale with weekend packages also still available. Head over to NOW for purchases. PLEASE ensure you always go via the official ticket outlets.