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Monsters of Rock was an annual hard rock music festival in Englandmarker held every August at the Castle Doningtonmarker racetrackmarker from 1980–1996 (with the odd exception, and a one-off comeback in 2006). Monsters of Rock festivals have also been organized in other cities around the world. After the success of Monsters of Rock 2006 there were suggestions for a Monsters of Rock 2007 but the show was cancelled.

History

In 1980, promoter Paul Loasby planned a day-long summer festival dedicated specifically to bands from within the heavy rock and metal genre. As he had been promoting the recent Rainbow UK tour, he asked the band to headline, to which they agreed.

The venue chosen for the event was the Donington Parkmarker motor racing circuit at Castle Donington, Leicestershire. Capable of holding up to 100,000 fans, it was near to the industrial Midlands and had easy access to major transport links. Early preparations were delayed after objections from locals and police but the festival organisation had addressed fears the event was scheduled for Saturday August 16, 1980.

The rest of the bill meantime was assembled as a balanced mix of British and international hard rock. A quadraphonic sound system was installed. Parallel to a Judas Priest sound-check days before the event a test of Cozy Powell’s pyrotechnics resulted in an explosion heard some three miles away, that blew out all the P.A. and caused £18,000 worth of damage to the stage set-up.

Ticket prices were £7.50 in advance.Though torrential rain over the preceding week had turned the site into a quagmire the day itself dawned bright, hot and sunny.The P.A. system only seemed to work well for those few thousand crammed down the front of the stage but, minor criticisms apart, the occasion was deemed an overwhelming success. From the organiser’s point of view they had lost money but had proved the principle sufficiently to have the confidence to organise a festival for following years.

Within a few years it became the annual event for the UK hard rock fraternity, superseding the rival Reading Festival. The event was destined to become a British music tradition for over a decade, and was eventually extended to include a list of dates through mainland Europe as well.

Paul Loadsby: "It was a great day, the show Rainbow put on is still one of the best headlining performances at Donny...the first of its kind and a terrible risk."

Attendance at the first festival in 1980 was 35,000, and this continued to grow to 107,000 at the 1988 show when 2 fans died in a crowd surge during the Guns N' Roses slot. The festival was cancelled in 1989 because of this. When it was held in 1990, the attendance was capped at 72,500. In 1991, Metallica, AC/DC, Pantera and some other artists, played in Russia one of the biggest gig in Rock history and the biggest in a Monsters of Rock Festival, in front of 1.6 million people in the Tushino Airfieldmarker. In 1997, as the event had always been a one-day festival, organisers would add on a second day only to have the event cancelled shortly after.

In 2003 the year after the Ozzfest festival took place at the same venue after two visits at the Milton Keynes Bowlmarker (1998 and 2001) and a Stereophonics concert at the same venue in 2001, Download Festival took over where Ozzfest had left off and is seen by some as a successor to Monsters of Rock. The Download Festival website claims to be the successor to Monsters of Rock, that the return of rock music heralded the return of rock to Donington.

In 2006 another festival by the name of Monsters of Rock was held at Milton Keynes Bowlmarker, headlined by Deep Purple and with Alice Cooper as a special guest.

UK Festivals

1980

August 16, 1980: First "Monsters Of Rock" Festival



It was reported that a member of Touch swallowed a bee while performing onstage. The whole event was recorded, with the exception of Judas Priest. An LP was released consisting of two songs each by Rainbow and Scorpions and one from each of the other acts. The cassette version had a slightly longer running time and added a third Scorpions track. Part of the Rainbow performance was filmed and shown on UK television in the Midlands broadcasting area (the locale of the festival). This would be Graham Bonnet and Cozy Powell's last appearance with Rainbow. Rainbow performed "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" the Carole King/Shirelles song (intended to be their next single) live, though never released.

1981

August 22, 1981



Blue Oyster Cult had only recently parted company with drummer Albert Bouchard, and his place was taken by a roadie. One lacklustre set later, singer Eric Bloom was presented with a memorial plaque which he proceeded to jump on and smash. Every member of the bands were presented with a plaque however Blue Oyster Cult were upset that they were only 3rd on the bill, and smashed theirs.

1982

August 21, 1982



1983

August 20, 1983



The BBC recorded the sets of ZZ Top, Twisted Sister, Dio and Diamond Head for subsequent broadcast, with some editing, on Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show.

1984

August 18, 1984



The BBC recorded the sets by Ozzy Osbourne, Y&T , Accept and Gary Moore, for subsequent broadcast, with some editing, on Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show.

1985

August 17, 1985



This event was re-branded as "Rocking the Castle" and was notable for the fact that almost everyone at the event seemed to be wearing a Marillion t-shirt.

1986

August 16, 1986



This concert is notable for Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen's return to live performance after the 1984 car accident that severed his left arm.

Each act's performance was accompanied by a barrage of plastic bottles from the crowd. Tommy Vance introduced the first two acts, the second time wearing an American football player's helmet to protect himself from the flying bottles, before giving up as the crowd just wanted to hear the music, not introductions. Jonathan King, dressed as the Pope, introduced headline act Ozzy Osbourne in suitably foul-mouthed fashion.

The Bad News set was filmed for the "More Bad News" episode of The Comic Strip Presents. Many fans thought this was a waste of a slot, as Bad News were a 'joke' band made up of Comic Strip actors. Motörhead's set was interrupted mid way through when someone shot a firework rocket at the stage, narrowly missing guitarist Phil Campbell.

The then-forthcoming rock publication Metal Hammer was announced at this year's event, with stickers distributed among the crowd. When the magazine hit the shelves, columnist and Monsters DJ Tommy Vance wrote a highly critical piece about the event, centered on the fact that the turntable he was expected to use proved faulty, with the needle frequently sliding across the record he'd just announced. As a result, he was dropped from the following year's event, and banned from even attending.

The BBC recorded the sets of Motörhead and headliner Ozzy Osbourne, for subsequent broadcast, with some editing, on Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show. The 50-minute broadcast of Osbourne's set has not been commercially available but Motörhead's was released as the bonus CD on the 'expanded edition' reissue of Rock 'n' Roll. Scorpions, declined to have their set recorded, as they had recently released the live album World Wide Live.

1987

August 22, 1987

1988

August 20, 1988



Largest crowd, after the Soviet Union's 1991 dismantling where Metallica and AC/DC (with others like Pantera) played in front 1.6 million people, approx 107,000. This was the year 2 people were crushed to death during the Guns N' Roses set (more specifically, during the song It's So Easy).

1989

No festival this year

Monsters of Rock was cancelled in 1989 because of the deaths of two fans during the Guns N' Roses performance in 1988. This was widely reported to have been due to fighting in the crowd: in reality it was a tragic combination of people at the front of the 95,000 crowd moshing and slipping in the mud (it had rained heavily) in conjunction with a surge to see the band. Unfortunately, this resulted in the two fans being crushed. [92856].

It was replaced with another rock festival which took place in Milton Keynes with Bon Jovi headlining. Line-up included Europe, Vixen, and Skid Row.

1990

August 18, 1990



This event was broadcast on BBC Radio 1. Jimmy Page performed Train Kept A-Rollin' with Aerosmith.

1991

August 17, 1991 AC/DC's set was recorded and released as a live DVD Called Live At Donington.AC/DC headlined for the third time and, along with Metallica and Whitesnake are the only band who have played 3 times on the festival.

1992

August 22, 1992



W.A.S.P. played material from The Crimson Idol- Most of it was recorded for a 2 disc special edition.

The Almighty's seven-song set would later appear, unedited, on a bonus disc included with early copies of their 1993 album Powertrippin'.

Iron Maiden also released their set as a video, much of which was also shown on MTV Headbanger's Ball.

This was Slayer's first performance with new drummer Paul Bostaph. Certain expletives contained within their songs were broadcast unedited on BBC Radio One.

1993

No festival this year

1994

June 4, 1994

Main stage: Second Stage:

After just performing two songs, Biohazard were ejected from the second stage at the Monsters of Rock festival by the organisers for allowing crowd invasion on stage, then proceeded to vent their frustration by smashing up their dressing room and was removed from the venue as a result. The band would be allowed to perform again two years later on the Main Stage with the obligatory tighter security.

Skin's set was recorded and released later that year as the Tower of Strength EP.

1995

August 26, 1995





The event was called Escape from the Studio '95, as Metallica were taking a break from recording their Load album.

Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn recalls Donington being the band's first appearance there, but also recalls it being one of the worst concerts of his life. He was apparently being sick on stage during songs, after eating some undercooked sausages earlier in the day.

1996

August 17, 1996

Main stage:

Kerrang! Stage:

Donington's only joint-headline date was widely regarded at the time as being more of a "special guest" slot for a pre-Ozzfest Ozzy Osbourne. KISS, who performed last, had returned to the make-up and theatrics of their early days.

However, the day was regarded as being most significant for two major events in the history of metal. Sepultura were forced to perform as a three-piece after the death of the adopted son of vocalist Max Cavalera. Guitarist Andreas Kisser filled in for the absent singer, who had returned to US for the funeral.

The second major event was the first UK festival appearance of KoЯn. The second stage was sponsored by Kerrang! magazine, who had prepared a short list of five bands to be voted in preference order by the readership. Korn was not on this list, and the general expectation was that Type O Negative would become headliners on this stage. However, the magazine had included a write-in slot on the ballot, expecting to be able to find a popular but minor UK band to open up on the stage. When the numbers came in, Korn had received more write-in votes than Type O Negative had first votes. The hugely over-crowded bowl that housed the second stage was further proof that the then-underground Korn were becoming a major act.

Fear Factory had a 10 minute sound loss during their third song "New Breed"

1997

No festival this year.

Initial planning began for a Monsters of Rock 1997. It was to be the first two-day Monsters of Rock festival. When, in 2003, Monsters of Rock's spiritual successor the popular Download Festival began at the venue, it was a two day show. 1998 would knock the final nail in Monsters of Rock's coffin with the first UK offering of Ozzfest, a rock festival which was less traditional than Monsters of Rock and more current. Ozzfest returned to the UK in 2001, 2002 and in 2005 was a part of the Download Festival.

2002

Monsters of Rock returns as a touring indoor festival. Top of the bill is Alice Cooper with Thunder re-uniting to take second spot on the line up. Other bands appearing are the Quireboys. The "festival tours the UK playing Manchester and London amongst others.

2003

Monsters of Rock's successor, Download Festival is born in Donington. Has run up to present, taking the place of, and dwarfing, Monsters of Rock.

2006

June 3, 2006



This event was the first Monsters Of Rock in 10 years and resided at the Milton Keynes bowl. Around 20,000 people attended the event.

See also



Monsters of Rock festivals in other locations

Monsters of Rock has appeared in numerous areas. Other locations include:

Argentina

1994

Buenos Airesmarker, River Plate Stadiummarker - September 3 and 4



1995

Buenos Airesmarker, Ferro Carril Oeste Stadiummarker - September 9 and 10



1997

Buenos Airesmarker, Ferro Carril Oeste Stadiummarker - December 13



1998

Buenos Airesmarker, Vélez Sársfield Stadiummarker - December 12



2005

Buenos Airesmarker, Ferro Carril Oeste Stadiummarker - September 11



Chile

1994

Santiagomarker, Chilemarker, Estación Mapochomarker - September 1



1995

Santiagomarker, Chile, Teatro Caupolican - September 8



Santiagomarker, Chile, Teatro Caupolican - September 9

1998

Santiagomarker, Chilemarker, Velódromo Estadio Nacional - December 10



2005

Santiagomarker, Chile, Pista Atlética - September 13



2008

Santiagomarker, Chile Pista Atlética - April 1

Brazil

1994

São Paulomarker, Estádio do Pacaembumarker

1995

São Paulomarker, Estádio do Pacaembumarker

1996

São Paulomarker, Estádio do Pacaembumarker - August 24, 1996



1998

São Paulomarker, Ibirapueramarker - September 24, 1998



France

1988





1990





Germany

1983



1984





1986





1987





1988





1990





1991





Italy

1988





1990





1991





1992



The bands Danzigmarker and Gun (band) both canceled their appearances at the festival. They are featured on the poster for the event.

2004



The Netherlands

1988



1991





Poland

1991





Russia

1991





Largest crowd ever in a Monsters of Rock Festival, with estimates between 700,000 and 1.6 million people, considered as one of the most attended rock concerts in history.

Spain

1988





1992





2006





2007









2008









Sweden

1984





1986





Hungary

1991





USA

1988

  • May 27, 1988 - East Troy, WI - Alpine Valley Music Theater
  • May 28, 1988 - East Troy, WI - Alpine Valley Music Theater
  • May 29, 1988 - East Troy, WI - Alpine Valley Music Theater
  • June 4, 1988 - Miami, FL - Orange Bowl
  • June 5, 1988 - Tampa, FL - Hall of Fame Bowl
  • June 10, 1988 - Washington DC - RFK Stadium Bowl
  • June 11, 1988 - Philadelphia, PA - JFK Stadium
  • June 12, 1988 - Foxboro, MA - Sullivan Stadium
  • June 15, 1988 - Pittsburgh, PA - Three Rivers Stadium
  • June 17, 1988 - Pontiac, MI - Pontiac Silverdome
  • June 18, 1988 - Pontiac, MI - Pontiac Silverdome
  • June 19, 1988 - Orchard Park, NY - Rich Stadium
  • June 22, 1988 - Akron, OH - Rubber Bowl
  • June 23, 1988 - Akron, OH - Rubber Bowl
  • June 25, 1988 - Oxford, ME - Oxford Plains Speedway
  • June 26, 1988 - East Rutherford, NJ - Giants Stadium
  • June 27, 1988 - East Rutherford, NJ - Giants Stadium
  • July 2, 1988 - Houston, TX - Rice Stadium
  • July 3, 1988 - Dallas, TX - Cotton Bowl (Texxas Jam)
  • July 6, 1988 - Indianapolis, IN - Hoosier Dome
  • July 8, 1988 - Memphis, TN - Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
  • July 9, 1988 - Memphis, TN - Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
  • July 10, 1988 - Kansas City, MO - Arrowhead Stadium
  • July 13, 1988 - Minneapolis, MN - The Metrodome
  • July 16, 1988 - San Francisco, CA - Candlestick Park
  • July 17, 1988 - San Francisco, CA - Candlestick Park
  • July 20, 1988 - Spokane, WA - Joseph A. Albi Stadium
  • July 22, 1988 - Toronto, On - CNE Stadium
  • July 23, 1988 - Los Angeles, CA - Memorial Coliseum
  • July 24, 1988 - Los Angeles, CA - Memorial Coliseum
  • July 27, 1988 - Seattle, WA - The Kingdome
  • July 30, 1988 - Denver, CO - Mile High Stadium




Monsters of Rock Locations

1980 (first year of Monsters of Rock)

  • United Kingdom


1981

  • United Kingdom

1982

  • United Kingdom

1983 (first year Monsters of Rock leaves the UK)

  • United Kingdom
  • Germany

1984 (First time Monsters of Rock goes to Sweden)

  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Sweden


1985

  • United Kingdom

1986

  • United Kingdom
  • Sweden

1987

  • United Kingdom
  • Germany


1988 (year with most Monsters of Rock events - including a touring one in the USA)

Bands included Kingdom Come, Dokken, Metallica, Scorpions and Van Halen
  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • USA (toured - played several dates in several states)


1989 (first time Monsters of Rock was cancelled in the UK)

  • No Monsters of Rock

1990

  • United Kingdom
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands


1991

  • United Kingdom
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Hungary
  • Denmark


1992

  • United Kingdom
  • Italy


This event was where Freddy Johnson got molested by Keith Flint from The Prodigy.

1993 (second time Monsters of Rock was cancelled in the UK)

  • No Monsters of Rock

1994

  • United Kingdom
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Brazil
  • México


1995

  • United Kingdom
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Brazil

1996

  • United Kingdom
  • Brazil

1997 (first time Monsters of Rock was held abroad but not in the UK)

  • Argentina

1998 (Monsters of Rock was restricted to South America)

  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Brazil


1999

  • No Monsters of Rock

2000 (first time there was no Monsters of Rock twice in a row)

  • No Monsters of Rock

2001

  • No Monsters of Rock

2002

  • No Monsters of Rock

2003

  • No Monsters of Rock

2004

  • No Monsters of Rock

2005 (first Monsters of Rock since 1999)

  • Argentina
  • Chile

2006 (first Monsters of Rock in the UK since 1996)

  • United Kingdom (first Monsters of Rock outside Donington Park) held at Milton Keynes National Bowl
  • Spain


2007

  • Spain
  • United States
The international spread of these festivals has continued with Download Festival, which also hails from Donington. In 2004 an event was held in Scotland, and from 2005 onwards multiple annual events have been held in the USA. In 2008 2 new countries will see a Download Festival.

2008



In pop culture

In the 1994 Beavis and Butt-head episode Take A Number, Beavis and Butt-head attempt to get tickets to Creatures of Rock which is a parody of Monsters of Rock.

External links




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