Festival Of The Year
Deep in East London two days of classic rock proved once again to be a key event in the festival calendar, with acts such as Thin Lizzy, Thunder, Slash, Judas Priest, Black Country Communion, Rival Sons, Jethro Tull and many more treated 20,000 classic rock fans to a feast of outstanding performances.
With the weather looking ropey for most of July it was looking likely that this year's High Voltage might be a wash out, but a higher power obviously had other plans as the rain clouds broke and we were treated to 48 hours of pretty much glorious weather.
The festival itself was leaner and more efficient than its inaugural bash, and the line-up was suitably excellent.
Moments that stood out for us included Slash hitting that riff at the beginning of 'Sweet Child' and watch the crowd go nuts, Thin Lizzy's hit laden set, Joe Bonamassa joining Jethro Tull onstage and Rival Sons playing a surprise headline set on the Metal Hammer Stage.
But special mention must go to the reformed Thunder, who had the crowd jumping with an emotional but energetic set on the Sunday afternoon, basked in the summer sun with hit after hit for just under an hour that flew by in what felt like seconds. It was the perfect festival experience.
2012's festival is looking uncertain due to the Olympics nearby, but roll on 2013.
|2) DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL
Classic rock took something of a back seat at this year's Download Festival, although Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister, Thin Lizzy, The Cult and Cheap Trick all put in great shifts at what was a particularly cold, and occasionally muddy Donington in June. Now in its tenth year, Download is reliably excellent year after year and this was definitely up there with the best yet.
Sonisphere continues to grow in both stature and size, and the third Knebworth based festival was notable for a couple of very special performances - Slipknot returned to live duty following the death of their bassist Paul Gray earlier this year and The Big Four of thrash metal played together in the UK for the first (and probably only) time. Both events were remarkable, but it's the whole Sonisphere atmosphere that has placed it at number three in this poll - the clever stage timings, the massively diverse mix of metal, rock, dance and even comedy makes this a "must see" event each year.
|4) HARD ROCK CALLING
Once again Hyde Park's big summer bash took the "something for everyone" approach - the Killers headlined Friday, Bon Jovi on Saturday and Rod Stewart on Sunday, all with impressive undercards and all fantastically well put together shows. There were great moments across the weekend, from Stevie Nicks' set on Sunday to Ronnie Wood guesting with his Faces bandmate Rod Stewart. Bon Jovi's huge set on Saturday night, though, was a reminder as to why the New Jersey rockers have been one of the biggest live draws in the world for nearly 20 years.
A damp start essentially scuppered U2's chance to really shine in the Friday night headline slot, but as with all Glastonbury festivals it was never really about the headliners on the famous Pyramid Stage. A secret set from Radiohead on the Park Stage, a thrilling early afternoon slot from Gaslight Anthem and a closing Other Stage set from Queens Of The Stone Age were amongst the highlights.
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