Video: Donington's finest moments

© Skyscan/Corbis

Download festival is just hours away. To get you in the mood for the weekend-long mud and metal fest we've put together some of our favourite moments from Donington's vast history.

1980: Cozy Powell and Rainbow help create a legend

Where it all began. The first Monsters of Rock was held at Donington on 16 August 1980. US rockers Touch (one of whom reportedly swallowed a bee while performing), Riot, Saxon, April Wine and The Scorpions formed the undercard, while Cozy Powell and Rainbow took top billing. Typically, Powell provided moments that would enter Donington folklore with his abundance of solos and pyro, in what would be his last appearance with the band.

1986: Rick Allen returns from the brink with Def Leppard

Perhaps the most poignant moment in Donington's history came at the 1986 Monsters of Rock when Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen made his live return just 18 months after losing an arm in a tragic car accident. In an amazing tale of triumph over adversity, Allen and Def Lep stole the show, no mean feat considering the line-up also included Ozzy Osbourne, The Scorpions and Motörhead.

1991: AC/DC fire on all cylinders

The best part of 20 years on, this remains one of the definitive AC/DC live performances, despite it coming during the band's barren years in which king of the backbeat Phil Rudd had vacated the drum stool. His place is excellently filled by chrome domed Chris Slade, who flexes his muscles throughout a punishing two-hour set.

2003: Download is born

After Monsters Of Rock fell out of vogue, Donington's years of rock appeared to be over, until 2003 saw the birth of a brand new beast - Download. Iron Maiden and Audioslave provided suitably heavyweight headliners, but the year will be remembered for Metallica's secret set, which saw Lars and co rock the second stage in mid-afternoon to a jam-packed tent.

2004: Metallica return…without Lars

One year on and Metallica again provided an enduring Download memory. This time, though, it was due to Lars missing the set after being rushed to hospital. Instead, the Donington crowd was treated to Dave Lombardo and Joey Jordison sharing drumming duties, along with a cameo from 'Tallica drum tech Flemming Larsen.

2006: The curse of Download hits Korn

Another year and another last minute hitch as Korn took to the main stage. While David Silveria was present and correct, frontman Jonathan Davies was this year's fallen comrade, with Corey Taylor, M Shadows and Matt Heafy among those helping the band through a truncated set.

2007: Mötley Crüe get the party started

There were no such problems for Mötley Crüe in 2007 (although Tommy Lee did miss their London show two days later through injury, forcing former Evanescence sticksman Will Hunt to step in). Tommy and the boys blew the roof off the second stage (okay, not literally, but almost) with 70 minutes of hits that provided the highlight of the festival for many. Of course, Tommy dousing the front row in Jäger also helped the party atmosphere.

2009: Faith No More, Slipknot and Def Leppard rock Donington

Where to start with Download 2010? Mike Bordin back behind the kit for the reunited Faith No More? Joey Jordison blasting out a sublime set of Slipknot classics? Or how about Def Leppard returning to the place of Rick Allen's drumming rebirth for an emotionally-charged performance? Whichever way you look at it, it was a belter.

So last year had plenty to live up to. Download's answer to the pressure? AC/DC, Rage Against The Machine and Aerosmith as headliners., Yup, that outta do it. If you missed last year take a look at this gloriously low-res footage of each of the three big hitters.

We'll be blogging throughout this year's Download, so keep checking back on for all of the latest festival news and interviews.

Rich Chamberlain

Rich is a teacher, one time Rhythm staff writer and experienced freelance journalist who has interviewed countless revered musicians, engineers, producers and stars for the our world-leading music making portfolio, including such titles as Rhythm, Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, and MusicRadar. His victims include such luminaries as Ice T, Mark Guilani and Jamie Oliver (the drumming one).