With an eclectic bill, featuring some of the biggest rock and metal bands in the world, and every kind of weather you could imagine the British summer throwing up, this was a festival to remember.
We’ll be bringing you detailed reviews of the very best sets very soon but for now here’s the lowdown on Castle Donington’s latest tribute to the world of rock.
BEST BAND: Mr. Big – back and better than ever. There’s so much more to the soft rockers than To Be With You and the band boast one of the all-time great guitarists in the shape of Paul Gilbert.
WORST BAND: Contrary to popular opinion Twisted Sister were way off the mark. Dee Snider did his best with an energetic display but the music was dull, dated and mildly depressing.
GUILTY PLEASURE: Hair metal/AOR upstarts Houston played in front of a handful of fans in the tent on Saturday morning and looked fresh as a daisy following the previous day’s Sweden Rock set.
UNEXPECTED HIT: Rap rockers Hollywood Undead and Hyro Da Hero managed to impress even the most critical of classic rockers with their high-energy sets and foot-tapping rhythms.
FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHT: The return of The Darkness. Forget a patchy set – their mere presence brought a smile to the faces of those who realise rock was always meant to be fun.
FESTIVAL LOW POINT: For the second Sunday running heavy rain put the proverbial dampener of day three. Great for the bands playing the covered tents and the people selling cheap ponchos for three quid a pop. Shit for just about everybody else.
LAUGH OUT LOUD MOMENT: A toss up between: the security guy stage left at The Darkness’s gig who was covered from head to toe in white streamers and made to look like a mummy in seconds; Turisas’s singer falling flat on his arse moments into Sunday’s gig on a slippery stage made worse by gallons of GWAR’s fake blood.
BEST FOOD: Two vegetable spring rolls for three quid.
BEST BUY: Two buckles for £25 and a vintage Quireboys’ patch for less than two quid.
MUST-HAVE FASHION ACCESSORY: Military-style hard hats.
WORST LOOK: Half-hearted zombie make-up.
2012 WISHLIST: Van Halen, Metallica, Steel Panther, Black Country Communion, Graveyard, Amon Amarth, Stone Sour, Velvet Revolver, Slayer, Quireboys.