From AC/DC to ZZ Top - Rock Comes to Donington

16 August 1980 saw the debut of the Monsters of Rock music festival at Donington Park. Bands who played included Rainbow, Judas Priest, Scorpions and Saxon. The following year over 65,000 rock fans attended with the headline band being AC/DC. This set featured the appearance of a bell made at John Taylor's Bell Foundry, in Loughborough, Leicestershire and was struck during performance of 'Hells Bells'. Weighing over a ton and made from forged bronze, it was stamped with the bands logo and 'Hells Bell', at the bands request. Malcolm Young, the bands guitarist apparently later commissioned a smaller replica and used it to replace a candelabra at his home in the UK.

Held on 20th August, 1983 and headlined by Whitesnake with support from Meatloaf, ZZ Top, Twisted Sister, Dio and Diamond Head.

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Joe Elliot from Def Leppard on stage at Donington in 1986 with a Boeing aeroplane leaving East Midlands Airport above!

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The 1992 festival was held on August 22nd and was headlined by Iron Maiden and supported by Skid Row, Thunder, Slayer, WASP and The Almighty. The event was broadcast live on Radio 1.

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Download 2009 was held on Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June and saw the Download Festival move to a new, bigger area on the park, in the fields south of the circuit. This helped to increase numbers and made the campsite a lot closer to the action! This new site offered much more room which meant a second stage could be included which was nearly the equal the size of the main stage and two smaller ones also. Pin on Pinterest

Download 2010 ran from Fri 11th to Sunday 13th June with headliners AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine and Aerosmith.
Celebrating 30 years on from the first Monsters of Rock festival at Donington, Download 2010 attracted crowds of over 100,000. The new site used the previous year had no problem accommodating these numbers of fans.
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Download 2010 had got so big that it needed two Main Stages, though one was only for AC/DC who insisted on bringing their own stage and full stadium show. Pin on Pinterest

Download festival was created by Stuart Galbraith and was conceived as a follow up to the Monsters of Rock festivals which had been held at the Donington Park circuit between 1980 and 1996. Download began as a two-day event, which then expanded to three days in 2005.

We would like to add to our collection of Monsters of Rock and Download memorabilia so please contact us if you have anything you would like to donate to Leicestershire Museum Collections.

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