Download 2015: Highlights, videos and gallery

It was a weekend of rock, rain and rivers of mud - but despite the elements, Download 2015 was an event to remember.

Download 2015: Highlights, videos and gallery

Kiss headlining on Sunday. Pic: Andrew Whitton

More than 85,000 festivalgoers braved the rain to see some of rock's finest acts this weekend - from Slipknot through to Marilyn Manson and Billy Idol. And, as can only be expected, they left fans astounded - and already looking forward to 2016.

  • Did you attend Download 2015? What did you think? Who were your favourite acts? Let us know in the comments section below!

Friday night saw the Midlands' mighty Judas Priest grace the main stage with heavy metal hits including Breaking the Law and Hell Bent for Leather. Despite having been on the scene for 45 years, the act sounded excellent; producing a heavy, clean sound as frontman Rob Halford impressed crowds with phenomenal wide-ranging vocals. 

And, though torrential rain began to fall as the band began, it failed to put off fans who joined in with the lyrics - filling in gaps in the chorus during rock favourites such as Turbo Lover - while jumping up and down and punching the air in time with the beat. 

With nine members, Slipknot were one of the only bands over the course of the weekend to truly dominate every square foot of the impressive main stage. The damp crowd were warmed up with an opening rendition of Sarcastrophe. The excitement reached fever pitch with a Heretic Anthem follow-up and didn't dampen until long past the encore. 

The audience screamed back every word, as singer Corey Taylor's impressive vocals swept through the torrential rain, reaching even the revellers sheltering in their tents. It might be 20 years since they formed, but Slipknot are just as relevant and captivating now as they ever were. 

The next highlight of the weekend was the gathering of more than a thousand people on Saturday afternoon, who united before the flower-filled main stage for 'Thumbs Up for Stephen' - an emotional tribute to inspirational fundraiser Stephen Sutton who last year lost his battle to cancer.

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Playing among the flowers following the tribute were US rockers Faith No More whose melodic tones and heavy beats wowed fans with their solid set filled with thrilling hits, including Epic and Midlife Crisis. 

Adding to the atmosphere among the multicoloured bouquets, the band dressed all in white with orange prayer beads - and they looked fantastic. This is one act whose age has seen them only improve, rather than weather.

Billy Idol was the next to astound the audience on Sunday afternoon, with his short but sweet set on the main stage. Blasting out all-time favourites including Dancing With Myself and White Wedding, the spiky-haired, leather-clad punk idol looked and sounded excellent as ever, as his gravelly tones fused perfectly with his impressive spot-on band. 

Billy may be fast approaching 60, but his skills remain unwavering.

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Billy Idol. Pic: Giles Smith

Another amazing act on Sunday was Guns N' Roses and guitar legend Slash, who, joined by Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators blew fans away with powerful renditions of high-paced hits Anastasia and Velvet Revolver's Slither. 

Despite well-known issues between former members of Guns N' Roses after their split, Slash also played a number of hits from his glory days with the band including Sweet Child O' Mine and Paradise City - which went down a storm with the weather-beaten fans below.

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While there were a whole variety of outstanding acts this weekend, it was glam rock giants Kiss who stole the show with their headline show on Sunday evening on the main stage. With pyrotechnics, fireworks, their trademark costumes and make-up, it was a show not to be missed as the legends played hit after hit, including Detroit Rock City and I Love it Loud. 

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A crowd of Kiss fans painted for the occasion. Pic: Giles Smith

Tens of thousands of fans - many of whom donned the classic Kiss make-up - sang along to every word as the band rocked out above, with heavy riffs and solid beats as frontman Paul Stanley impressed with strong vocals and impeccable range. 

But while the band excelled musically, it was also a phenomenal show - with Paul using a zip-line to zoom over to a middle platform midway through the crowd, as fireworks shot into the air and a variety of pictures and videos were shown on the backdrop behind the band.

By Kirsten Rawlins (Native Monster Editor) and Kirsty Bosley (Weekend feature writer)

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