First Monsters of Rock Festival
16 August 1980
On a rain drenched motor racing course in Leicestershire in 1980 the first ever Monsters of Rock festival took place. Promoter Paul Loasby came up with the idea of a summer festival to promote heavy rock acts in the UK and managed to convince Ritchie Blackmore and the rest of Rainbow to headline the first one (alongside Judas Priest, Scorpions, Saxon and Touch). A few minor technical hitches aside (including a member of Touch allegedly swallowing a bee onstage), the event was a great success and 35 000 turned up to bask in the light of the heavy rock royalty. Now reincarnated as the 'Download Festival', this festival remains one of highlights of the rock calendar.