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This festival was almost uniformly made up of acts that were heavy. Ex Deep Purple singer Ian Gillan was fresh from several stints at being one of the success stories of Reading in , so his inclusion as second on the bill was fairly logical. His legendary status as frontman during one of Purples most memorable eras would give him a lot of kudos amongst most metal crowds.
At this remote date, it might be somewhat surpising to see Saxon as the third billing act, but their fortunes were on the rise. The band did not go down particularly well at Donington , probably they were too spacey for this crowd, as the rest of the bands in the lineup were far more firmly placed within the headbanging genre than the Hawks.
Uriah Heep were yet to really achieve great success as they were busy mutating from a more prog orientated outfit to a heavier format - with a mostly new lineup of musicians mostly recruited from various heavy bands they were beginninng to earn their metal creds with the release of their recent album "Abominog" which had been generally favorably received by sections of the metal fraternity. Bottom of the bill act, canuck rockers Anvil, were always a band who were either an opener or a support , at least at gigs on this scale For once the weather was kind and punters did not have to put up with either being soaked to the skin as in or sitting in a mudbath There were still no passouts -probably to avoid ticket fraud and to maximise booze and food sales within the arena , but in our opinion this was a fairly unreasonable restriction for all that.
Also camping was discouraged- but still happened nevertheless. These were restrictions that were simply not reasonable in a large scale festival outdoor event where bad weather could result in clothes being saturated and if emergencies took place that meant one needed to return to ones car , punters would not be readmitted to the arena.
Courtesy Ashley Haynes Hawkwind member Dave Brock was not impressed by the sound at Donington " I was a bit deafened, though, unfortunately, by the monitors.
Yeah — a little bit too loud for you, were they? All I could hear was vocals and synthesizer, you know. It was like being, it was like fighting a lost cause, know what I mean? What do you think it was like, though? Ticket courtesy Noddy Guevara Went in a convoy of cars setting off from Leeds early in the morning. At service stations you could tell who was going to Donnington by the hair , tour T shirt and denim and leather!
It really was that easy. I preferred Dylan and 70s rock and more hippy stuff even then! BUT I did like it live and did enjoy the events. At Donnington, it smelled of farts and patchouli, the stalls were all rubbish and all food for sale looked dodgy and unappealing. Beer was flat and warm. Anvil were on first.
People threw bottles of piss at them!
Then Uriah Heep , who were ok , then oddly billed, Hawkwind. They went down well, the crowd sang along. Gillan next , down the front ish for that! Gillan was hairy and lively.
Sometime around now the burger vans etc started to get attacked. It all got a bit heavy. One escaping ice cream van bombed through the crowd to save the driver getting a kicking. However it didnt stop the show. Next were the Quo. They were headliners too. Tell anyone who knows Quo only from the mid 80s onwards that they are any good and they will laugh, but in the 70s early 80s they were brilliant live.
They created an atmosphere like no other and everyone boogied and shook the hair! Then it was find the car in the endless and now dark carpark! I sure some folk will still be looking to this day!
As the line-up evolved over the following weeks it was clear that this was going to be no ordinary Donington. There was Gillan second on the bill, making it the third year running to feature an ex-Deep Purple member. Saxon, now bigger and better, returning for a second time and Hawkwind, big surprise never expected to see a band like them on the Donington bill.
aRGENTeaM • Knight Rider (1982) [S01E04] - Good Day at White Rock
We piled into cars this year, bit of comfort for a change. Also stayed at the same camp site and drank at the same pub. The weather was great, perfect in fact and in the arena we settled ourselves down in a good spot when One of the gallon containers sprung a leak and as everyone was a little hung over from the night before it was down to my brother and me to save the beer, by drinking it.
It was only about 11 in the morning and as a consequence the untimely liquid brunch sent me to sleep and I completely missed Anvil. Courtesy Ashley Haynes And so to Hawkwind, one of my fave bands and rather out of their comfort zone here at Donington. They were tedious then, this time they were downright annoying.
Aah well, that bit of light entertainment made up for Gillan and the unending solos, Janick Jers climbing up the Marshall stack seemingly getting stuck halfway and keyboardist Colin Towns hypnotising everyone with a Jethro Tull-style flute solo Gillan, by now, seemed a long time ago while Hawkwind were in a galaxy far far way Amazing I can still remember stuff, really! With the number of people already there, the gates were opened at 8. Being pretty close to the front, I remember looking with envy at the people who had the foresight or was it experience?
Uriah Heep were a great improvement, getting the crowd warmed-up so that the bottle throwing stopped. Having seen Saxon live before, I anticipated Biff Byford whistling down the microphone. As I looked back up the hill at the audience, I saw the effect of the assaulting sound-wave pass through the crowd like a gust of wind through a corn field.
Those boys were great live! We were so far back, there was a delay in the sound reaching us. Virtually the whole front half of the audience was moving as one in time with the thumping bar onslaught. I never did get her name That August Saturday in will always hold fond memories for me of youthful fun.
The bands, the crowd, the family atmosphere Just to have a laugh with the other not exactly in their prime Rock fans…Time was… August Mauro, Stefano, and me all 19 came to Britain with InterRail tickets, Donington being the main goal of our journey. First, a sunny-but-not-dry week in London, where we saw some bands: Then we headed for Scotland, Inverness…and here things became serious.
Knight Rider: S1 E4 - Good Day at White Rock
Not to mention the beers. On the Monday morning before Donington, a kind of an Odyssey began, travelling and sleeping very little time on trains from Edinburgh to Glasgow, then Manchester, Leeds, York, Sheffield and Nottingham … The craze started with a morning drinking contest, in a train BAR wagon, with a Scot boy from Hebrides Islands he worked as a fisherman on the Ocean: We had a small mono-sound tape player always emitting Hard, Metal and Punk Rock vibes!
Then Stefano came back, saying: A lot of noise, bikers, beer! I realized I was the jinxy of the day… But the young donkey in me reacted, and 48 hours later, we were in a very cheap Paris hotel, having a friendly balcony-to-balcony water bombs battle with some English boys, just to win the attention of two lovely Dutch girls… A car parked down in the street had some changes in the roof, thanks to a giant plastic bag water-bomb missing the target.
Meanwhile, the Dutch girls had left with a couple of Spanish… Those were the days! The main problem for the headliners Status Quo was the sound. This was the first of only two times that I left early. Because we only live approx 30 minutes from Donington we even managed to get back to the local for a pint. Therefore the band of the day was probably Gillan, just edging out Saxon.
Also I remember Janick Gers emblazoned all in white climbing up the speakers during his solo spot. And The Bands Played On. Paul Hartshorn Hi, fantastic site, well done! And I had that tour tee shirt you got a pic of, OMG I had forgotten that — like it was yesterday to look at it again!