From Monsters of Rock to Download – MACE looks back at the history of Heavy Metal and its West Midlands routes

Monsters of Rock 1980 to 1996

As MACE hold the ITV Central regional collection from 1956, including over 50,000 filmed news reports covering all of the midlands, it’s inevitable that many significant events have been captured on film for us to unearth from the archive.

With Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Wolverhampton Art Gallery about to open new exhibitions celebrating the Home of Metal and the rock festival, Download about to commence for another year at Donington Park motor racing circuit in Leicestershire, MACE look back at the ITV regional news reports covering the very first rock festival to be held there on 16th August 1980 – Monsters of Rock – and take a journey through the years to the last Monsters of Rock on 17th August 1996.

Monsters of Rock started when promoter Paul Loasby planned a day-long summer festival dedicated specifically 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.

Paul Loasby, organiser of the first Monsters of Rock Festival talking to Terry Lloyd of ATV Today, 15th August 1980 (c) ITV

The first festival also featured Judas Priest, Scorpions, April Wine, Saxon, Riot and Touch and the following year AC/DC, Whitesnake, Blue Öyster Cult and Slade. Other bands who appeared through Monsters of Rock’s 16 year history were Status Quo, Anvil, Meat Loaf, ZZ Top, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen, Gary Moore, Bon Jovi, Metallica, Def Leppard (who headline tonight at Download),Iron Maiden, Guns N Roses, Thunder, The Black Crowes.

Graham Bonnet speaking on ATV Today 15 August 1980 about headlining Monsters of Rock (c) ITV

In 1988 tragedy struck when two fans were crushed to death during Guns N’ Roses performance and this led to the festival being cancelled in 1989. The Monsters of Rock Festival had huge success in the 1980s with audiences growing year on year. But in the early 1990s its popularity declined, with major acts unwilling to play the festival and there was no festival in 1993. 1996 saw the last Monsters of Rock at Donington Park. By 2003 however, hard rock was growing again in popularity and Live Nation resurrected the Monsters of Rock of old, under a new name – Download Festival. The festival was a huge success, and since 2005 it was extended to a three day festival, from Friday to Sunday.

Download this year runs from today, Friday 10th June to Sunday 13th June, with sets from Def Leppard, The Darkness, System of a Down, Linkin Park, Alice Cooper and Twisted Sister to name but a few, and people from all over the world will again be descending upon a small village in Leicestershire to enjoy what has again become a huge international, annual event in the music calendar.

The ATV Today and, later, Central News East cameras, attended the Monsters of Rock festival every year and their collection, held at MACE, pieces together a story of preparation and anticipation for this huge East Midlands music event over its 16 year history, including interviews with the founding organiser, Paul Loasby and fans from all over Europe.

MACE has created this 17 minute montage of clips from these news reports from 1980 to 1996 exclusively for our blog, MACELive.

Each of these news reports has an individual catalogue entry on our website and some of these catalogue entries have associated clips to view on the website. Search ‘Festival Donington’ to browse catalogue entries. (Not all the catalogue entries have associated clips to view but we will be uploading these in the future so do keep checking back).

Home of Metal Exhibitions – Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery/Wolverhampton Art Gallery, June to September

MACE are also very pleased to have contributed footage to the Home of Metal, a celebration of the music that was born in the Black Country and Birmingham, created by Birmingham based organisation, Capsule.

In their words:

Home of Metal brings people together to share their passion and explore themes of Heavy Metal through exhibitions, film screenings, live events, a conference and family friendly activities. Four decades since Heavy Metal was unleashed onto an unsuspecting world, Home of Metal honours a truly global musical phenomenon.

The Home of Metal digital archive is an opportunity for fans from all corners of the globe to share their passion for Heavy Metal music and contribute stories and memorabilia by uploading images, sound files and film footage.

Capsule are producing and curating a series of exhibitions under the banner of Home of Metal taking place throughout The Black Country and Birmingham, UK.

These include two exhibitions that will feature footage from the ITV Central regional collection held at MACE:

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
‘Home of Metal’ – 18 June to 25 September 2011
’40 years of Heavy Metal and its unique birthplace’

Photo by Katja Ogrin 'Chris Hopkins'

Home of Metal’s website says:

When four working-class Aston lads known as Black Sabbath unleashed their debut album in 1970, it saw the birth of a new musical form, one unmistakably born in Birmingham and the Black Country. In the proceeding years, a myriad of bands from these locales took the lead from Sabbath and continued to evolve, innovate and break the barriers of this new genre.

The exhibition brings together unseen memorabilia sourced directly from the fans themselves and places it alongside iconic items such as Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules stage cross, Judas Priest costumes and handwritten Napalm Death lyrics. This show will also explore the ingredients that together made Heavy Metal, offering an insight into the region’s industrial history, the early blues-rock sound, the changing music industry, DIY politics as well as Heavy Metal’s global impact.

MACE have supplied 12 titles including ATV Today: 15.08.1980: Pop Festival – Donington racetrack, ATV Today: 16.09.1981: Headbanging and Redevelopment.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery
‘You Should Be Living’ – 18 June to 17 September 2011
‘The Visual Language of Heavy Metal’

Home of Metal’s website says:

While the Home of Metal project explores the relationship between fans and music, this exhibition further investigates this relationship by examining the work of artists inspired by Heavy Metal. Work on display illustrates the visual impact of Heavy Metal, exploring the motifs and myths of the music.

The featured artists, including Matius Faldbakken, Ben Venom, Harminder Judge and Amy Sarkisian, use typography, vintage t-shirts, sculpture and sound to explore the varying aesthetic features of Heavy Metal and its relationship to contemporary art. The artists, both national and international, take inspiration from the genre, whilst exploring notions of fantasy, chaos, performance and musical devotion.

‘You Should Be Living’ references the title track from the debut Napalm Death record ‘Scum’ and, thirty years after the formation of the band, a special collaborative piece has been commissioned for this exhibition. French artist and Grindcore fanatic Damien Deroubaix and Napalm Death founder Nicholas Bullen will present their sculptural construction containing text and abstractions, embedded video monitors, audio cables and microphones, referencing the work of both artists and the ‘Scum’ album.

MACE have supplied one title for this exhibition, ATV Today: 11.07.1977: Bilston Blast Furnace. Click the title to view the clip.

Broadcasters: ATV Today and Central News footage is licenced by ITN Source. Email: or telephone 0207 430 4480 for rate enquiries. MACE additionally charge transfer and access fees. Email for details.

To read more about the Home of Metal project click here.
To read more about the Download Festival click here

NB: The archive footage featured in the attached montage is the copyright of ITV plc and has been used with permission. No unauthorised reproduction permitted. Please contact for licensing queries.


Syston Archive Film Screening a Success, Leicester Community Reminisce at Local History Exhibition.

Full Circle needs your homemovies. Television image courtesy of CPRE.

Members of the public pour over Syston's Annual Local History Exhibition

On Saturday, 18th September The Syston Local History Group held their annual Local History Exhibition at The Methodist Church Centre. It was a fantastic day, with a great turn out attracting swarms of people from both the Syston community and from across Leicestershire. 


On display were The Syston Local History Group’s vast photographic collection of Syston as it was, ‘Then & Now’. Members of the public were invited to bring along their own Wedding photographs and to admire the ones on display – which dated from the early 1900’s, 1940’s and later.

Artist Mike Finney, who paints pictures of Syston exhibited a selection of his printed works and paintings.

Artist - Mike Finney

To complement the wonderful array of photos were a fabulous display of household bygones and curiosities, which members of the public could ask questions about.


Tim Garner, Chairman of Syston Local History Society was on hand to take copies of any old photographs or documents relating to Syston from members of the public who wished to add to the History Society’s collection. If you have any old film, or homemovies relating to Syston or the surrounding area, please get in touch with Tim or a member of the local history society who will be acting as a collection point for any collection found during their Full Circle film search.

Full Circle is a 3 year Heritage Lottery funded project, ran by MACE, working with the Midlands communities to preserve and make accessible its screen heritage. Local History & Community groups throughout the Midlands are on the lookout for film or homemovies created by the people of the Midlands that will give us an insight into how our communities lives have changed over the years.

The wonderful ladies on hand to offer homemade cakes and refreshments!

One of the highlights of the exhibition was the screening of some archive material from the MACE collection. Members of the public were treated to clips of Syston in the news from the 1980’s, of Syston’s female road sweeper and the opening of the Dual Carriageway in 1969.

Tim Garner chats to audience members about the Syston footage being shown.

The screening continued with footage of some Leicester Silent Films – a selection of amateur and professional films, which showed some of the older films we are able to preserve at MACE. From an advertising film of J.S. Wynn’s Leicester coffee houses to a parade to mark Leicester Pageant Week of 1932 (the week’s events culminated with the pageant itself, which included Roman legions marched across Abbey Park!). From our home movie collections we also have film of the two great national celebrations of the 1930s: the Silver Jubilee of King George V in 1935 and the Coronation of King George VI two years later. We will also had a look back at Hinckley’s contribution to the Coronation.

Audience members enjoy watching a selection of Leicestershire based archive film.

Following this we were able to show “Calling Blighty”. This was a series of films that brought the personal messages of servicemen posted to India and the Far East during the latter stages of the Second World War back to their loved ones in Britain. This example was filmed in Bombay in 1944 and was screened at the Evington Cinema on 1st September that year before a specially invited audience of family and friends.

and finally “Leicestershire: A Heritage at Risk”. This travelogue of the county was produced forty years ago when the effects of pollution and architectural neglect were beginning to be felt. With the twin threats of the M1 and East Midlands Airport what future did Leicestershire have? Although little did they know that we would in 2010 dream of driving along roads as quiet as the ones shown here in 1970!

For more information about The Syston Local History Group – or to buy their new book Syston Past 3 – please contact Tim Garner. Email: or call: 0116 260 9154

To learn more about how to deposit your home-movies with MACE and The Full Circle Project, please contact: Full Circle Curator: Lucie Kerley. Email: or call: 0116 252 5931

Photographs courtesy of Lucie Kerley © 2010

On this Day 1966: Fosse Way Part Three

ATV Today: 14/12/2009: Fosse Way Part Three


Lionel Hampden and Iain Macaulay continue their journey along the Fosse Way by horse and cart from Lincoln to Bath. Today the pair pass through the ancient centre of England.

We see Iain and Lionel arriving in their pony and trap at High Cross where a monument marks the point where the Fosse Way crosses Watling Street, a point that the Romans considered to be the centre of England. We also see shots of a small museum containing Roman finds. Next at the remains of Brinklow Castle in Warwickshire Lionel talks to Doctor Graham Webster of Birmingham University about the history of Fosse Way. Finally we see Lionel and Iain arriving at a coaching inn at Fossebridge in Gloucestershire where to Lionel’s amazement Iain orders and drinks a quart of ale.

Notes: High Cross lies between Copston Magna in Warwickshire and Claybrooke Magna in Leicestershire. Watling Street is the A5 at this point and the Fosse Way the modern B4455.

WI Presentation

The Women’s Institute in the Leicestershire villages of Hungarton and Keyham will have a presentation of local archive film from MACE director, James Patterson at their February meeting.  James, a village resident, will outline the work of the archive in a series of talks by village people. 

The show will include local film of hunting in 1912, Symington’s corset works in Harborough from 1929 and a 1970s documentary about the county made for the Campaign to Protect Rural England