In 1980, promoter Paul Loasby planned a day-long summer festival dedicated particularly 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 “Monsters of Rock” festival was born.
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 download tv series
The Monsters of Rock festival was a one day festival that lasted from 1980-1997, with a few interruptions. During the years Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Ozzy and other heavy metal and hard rock greats headlined the event.
Iron Maiden hold the record for most headline appeareces at Donington Park – four. Previously the record of three was held by AC/DC, Ozzy Osbourne and Metallica. However it should be noted that Ozzy Osbourne also appeared with Black Sabbath in 2005 and that Ozzfest/Escape from the Studio ’95 (Metallica) were not part of the main Monsters of Rock/Download festival series.
In 1988 two music fans were accidentally crushed to death during Guns ‘N’ Roses performance of “It’s so Easy”, it was a fateful combination of people at the front of the 107,000 strong audience moshing and slipping in the mud (it had rained heavily) in conjunction with a sudden surge to see the band. The festival wasn’t held the following year.
After the decline of British hard rock music in the early 90s in the face of grunge rock and with the late 90s rise of pop further hampering the genre, Monsters of Rock had been forced to stop in 1996. But the tradition of festivals being held at Donington Park prevailed; in 2001 the first 2-day festival took place at Donington Park (the Rock and Blues Festival).
By 2003 however, hard rock was growing again and Live Nation decided to resurrect the Monsters of Rock of old, under a new name – Download Festival. The festival was a runaway success, and initially lasted two days (expanding to 3 days in 2005) rather than the single day Monsters of Rock always had. The festival continues to this day.
In 2011 the System of a Down and Linkin Park will headline the Download Festival.