Donington 1988: Triumph and Tragedy

As per normal, through each year of the golden decade of heavy metal, (which is closer to the end than the beginning), I reflect on the triumphs and tragedies which occurred during that year. There have been great concert memories and artists whose lives were tragically shortened. In 1988, the triumph and tragedy occurred on the same day, at the Donington Festival.

You only need to look at the poster above as see that with the lineup, the day was going to be a complete triumph. Iron Maiden, KISS, David Lee Roth, Megadeth, Guns N Roses and Helloween made for what history will recall a great day for metal. Personally, I can’t speak for Helloween and Guns N Roses but I will get to that in a moment but the other four bands totally kicked ass!

Tragedy struck on the day during Guns N Roses’ set. A crowd collapse involving fifty people fifteen yards from the stage happened causing Guns N Roses to stop playing while concert security went in to attend to the injured. By the time they were fished out, two people, Alan Dick aged 18 and Landon Siggers, 20 were found laying down in four inches of mud. They were taken to hospital and pronounced dead. It was a tragic event which put a dark shadow on what was a glorious day for metal.

Of course, the metal hating newspaper, The Sun, spent more time focusing on the so called rowdy behaviour of the concert goers, making it out that somehow heavy metal caused the tragedy. Yes, it’s a load of BS.

On personal reflection, the reason I missed Helloween and Guns N Roses and half of Megadeth was because of a three hour plus traffic cue to get into the venue. It caused a lot of tension within the car although I can now see why my then wife would get a bit annoyed at me constantly saying, “I bet if it was a Madonna Festival, the roads wouldn’t have been so backed up.” The thing was the way metalheads were sometimes treated back in the 80s, it wouldn’t have been too far from the truth. Anyway, here are performances and a pre festival interview with Dave for you all to enjoy.

Next post: Scandals of 1988

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23 Responses to “Donington 1988: Triumph and Tragedy”

  1. Terrible about the deaths. I remember sitting in a traffic queue all day to get into Bonnaroo in Tennessee YSA it’s second year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Terrible about the deaths. I remember sitting in a traffic queue all day to get into Bonnaroo in Tennessee USA it’s second year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my gosh! Those kids were pronounced dead upon arrival? That’s so sad!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Sun is a rag. Not good enough to wipe your arse with as my dad said. Yes tragedy. I think I was there however the sands of time etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Man, I remember the story but hadn’t thought of it in a long time. Tragic indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That was a hell of a lineup but a horrible tragedy. Metal really was the boogeyman of the 80’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never heard about this. Do GNR count as metal?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Waht a lineup eh? I remember the news about the two deaths and it was sad. As for The Scum newspaper…

    Liked by 1 person

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