December 3, 2019

“What motivates 50,000 spotty, greasy young people to don tribal uniform and bang their heads in pseudo-nihilistic fashion at these muddy affairs?” Pondered Chris Roberts, a writer for Sounds music paper, despatched, or maybe sentenced, to a field in the middle of the UK in August 1985. The answer was the Monsters Of Rock festival, an event which had originally been conceived in 1980 as the final date of Rainbow’s Down To Earth tour and which, sixteen years and fourteen further performances later, was wrapped up by the freshly made-up demigods of US metal that were KISS, and had seen in the region of a million “spotty, greasy young people” banging their heads in their tribal uniforms.

Live Nation and Rufus Publications are pleased to announce the publication of the official MONSTERS OF ROCK visual history.

Written by rock journalist John Tucker with supplementary material from the festival’s official PR Judy Totton and the festival’s promotors, this epic book takes us on a journey from the very first Monsters of Rock in 1980 to the last event in 1996. Measuring 300mm square and featuring more than 600 pages covering each year of the festival with interviews, information, set lists and many never before seen photographs from the archives of rock’s greatest photographers. The book also features an introduction by Def Leppard front man Joe Elliott.


The amazing, personally signed Full Metal Jacket Edition, limited to 350 copies worldwide, individually signed by legendary Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford plus at least one artiste from every year of the festival including Kirk Hammett – Metallica, Biff Byford – Saxon, Duff McKagan – Guns N’ Roses, Joe Elliott – Def Leppard, David Coverdale – Whitesnake, Dee Snider – Twisted Sister, Ian Gillan – Gillan, Bernie Marsden – Whitesnake, Danny, Luke, Harry and Ben of Thunder, Mick Box – Uriah Heep, Ian Paice – Whitesnake, Roger Glover – Rainbow, Phil Campbell – Motorhead, Brian Tatler – Diamond Head, Dave Brock – Hawkwind, Simon Wright – AC/DC, Fish – Marillion, Craig Goldy – Dio, Steve Vai – Whitesnake and Dave Lee Roth band, Geoff Tate – Queensryche, Ricky Warwick – The Almighty, Ginger Wildheart – The Wildhearts, David Ellefson – Megadeth, Myke Gray – Skin, Nick Holmes – Paradise Lost and Neil Murray of Whitesnake. This version also comes with a unique T-shirt, poster, art prints and a recreation of the original programmes from 1980 and comes in a metal slipcase.

The Standard Edition is personally signed by Noddy Holder of Slade who took the festival by storm in 1981 and remain a firm favourite of festival organiser Paul Loasby.

“MONSTERS OF ROCK, Castle Donington’s annual pilgrimage for the rock/metal community, began life in 1980 as an impressive way to round off Rainbow’s ‘Down To Earth’ tour which had commenced the previous September in America: one stage, seven bands and 35,000 expectant fans.

It was supposedly a one-off, but its importance as an event cannot be overstated. The Donington racetrack was perfect as an outdoor venue, being relatively central in the UK and having easy road and rail access. The following year’s event, with AC/DC headlining, drew a much larger crowd and from then on Monsters Of Rock became a fixture on the calendar, so much so that as soon as one year’s closing fireworks had died away journalists and fans alike were speculating on possible acts for the following year’s bill.

Over eighty different bands played the UK’s Monster Of Rock stage – or stages, in some years – between that first event and the final show in 1996, and the roll-call is spectacular: Iron Maiden, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, Motlëy Crüe… The list goes on and on, and includes AC/DC with their record-breaking three headline shows and Metallica, the only band to appear on four separate occasions. And although some bands, for whatever reason, failed to hit the mark on the day, others were simply spellbinding.

There was rain, there was mud, there was sunburn and, of course, there was tragedy when two young men lost their lives. But overall Monsters Of Rock was the embodiment of hard rock, heavy metal, call it what you will, and this book is a celebration of the festival’s glory days.”