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Monsters of Rock was an annual rock music festival in England held every August at the Castle Donington racetrack from 1980–1996 and in 2006 and 2007. Monsters of Rock festivals have also been organized in other cities around the world.

HistoryEdit

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 Park 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 Airfield. 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 Bowl (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 Bowl, headlined by Deep Purple and with Alice Cooper as a special guest.

At the 2007 Monsters of Rock festival, Emma Watson performed on at least one song per set.

UK FestivalsEdit

1980Edit

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.

1981Edit

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.

1982Edit

August 21, 1982

1983Edit

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.

1984Edit

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.

1985Edit

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.

1986Edit

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.

1987Edit

August 22, 1987

1988Edit

August 20, 1988

Largest crowd, after Russia's 1991 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).

1989Edit

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. [1].

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.

1990Edit

August 18, 1990

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

1991Edit

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.

1992Edit

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.

1993Edit

No festival this year

1994Edit

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.

1995Edit

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.

1996Edit

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"

1997Edit

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.

2003 Edit

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.

2006Edit

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.

2007Edit

August 22, 2007

All seven acts were taped by their respective record labels, including American Recordings, Megaforce Records, Warner Music Group, Virgin Records, and Sony BMG. Slayer and AC/DC had their acts distributed by Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Danzig's act was distributed by C2 Pictures Home Video, My Chemical Romance and Metallica had their acts distributed by Warner Music Vision, KoЯn's act was distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment, and the Remington Steelers had their act distributed by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. All five companies joined forces to release a seven-tape (or seven-disc) box set of the concert, and each company's logo is only on the respective acts they distributed.

See also Edit

Monsters of Rock festivals in other locationsEdit

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

ArgentinaEdit

1994Edit

Buenos Aires, River Plate Stadium - September 3 and 4

1995Edit

Buenos Aires, Ferro Carril Oeste Stadium - September 9 and 10

1997Edit

Buenos Aires, Ferro Carril Oeste Stadium - December 13

1998Edit

Buenos Aires, Vélez Sársfield Stadium - December 12

2005Edit

Buenos Aires, Ferro Carril Oeste Stadium - September 11

ChileEdit

1994Edit

Santiago, Chile, Estación Mapocho - September 1

1995Edit

Santiago, Chile, Teatro Caupolican - September 8

Santiago, Chile, Teatro Caupolican - September 9

1998Edit

Santiago, Chile, Velódromo Estadio Nacional - December 10

2005Edit

Santiago, Chile, Pista Atlética - September 13

2008Edit

Santiago, Chile Pista Atlética - April 1

BrazilEdit

1994Edit

São Paulo, Estádio do Pacaembu

1995Edit

São Paulo, Estádio do Pacaembu

1996Edit

São Paulo, Estádio do Pacaembu - August 24, 1996

1998Edit

São Paulo, Ibirapuera - September 24, 1998

FranceEdit

1988Edit

1990Edit


GermanyEdit

1983Edit

1984Edit

1986Edit

1987Edit

1988Edit

1990Edit

1991Edit

ItalyEdit

1988Edit

1990Edit

1991Edit

1992Edit

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

2004Edit

The NetherlandsEdit

1988Edit

1991Edit

PolandEdit

1991Edit

RussiaEdit

1991Edit

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.

SpainEdit

1988Edit

1992Edit

2006Edit

2007Edit

2008Edit

SwedenEdit

1984Edit

1986Edit

HungaryEdit

1991Edit

USA Edit

1988Edit

  • 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 Edit

1980 (first year of Monsters of Rock) Edit

  • United Kingdom

1981 Edit

  • United Kingdom

1982 Edit

  • United Kingdom

1983 (first year Monsters of Rock leaves the UK) Edit

  • United Kingdom
  • Germany

1984 (First time Monsters of Rock goes to Sweden) Edit

  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Sweden

1985 Edit

  • United Kingdom

1986 Edit

  • United Kingdom
  • Sweden

1987 Edit

  • United Kingdom
  • Germany

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

Bands included Dokken, Kingdom Come, Van Halen, Scorpions and Metallica

  • 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)Edit

  • No Monsters of Rock

1990 Edit

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

1991 Edit

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

1992 Edit

  • 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)Edit

  • No Monsters of Rock

1994 Edit

  • United Kingdom
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Brazil
  • México

1995 Edit

  • United Kingdom
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Brazil

1996 Edit

  • United Kingdom
  • Brazil

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

  • Argentina

1998 (Monsters of Rock was restricted to South America)Edit

  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Brazil

1999 Edit

  • No Monsters of Rock

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

  • No Monsters of Rock

2001 Edit

  • No Monsters of Rock

2002 Edit

  • No Monsters of Rock

2003 Edit

  • No Monsters of Rock

2004 Edit

  • No Monsters of Rock

2005 (first Monsters of Rock since 1999) Edit

  • Argentina
  • Chile

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

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

2007 Edit

  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • 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.

2008Edit

In pop culture Edit

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 Edit

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