SOME of the biggest names in rock took to the stage last weekend as the UK’s biggest free tribute festival returned to Prestwich.

Untroubled by the unfriendly weather, hundreds of music lovers braved the rain for the eighth edition of the ever popular and ever growing Festwich.

More than 40 live bands performed across two stages in St Mary’s Park where there was plenty of fun and games including a fair and a plethora of food and drink stalls.

Among the bill at the two-day extravaganza this year were headline tribute acts to Linkin Park and Prince ­— Link N Park and Endorphinmachine.

On the Saturday fans went wild for ringers for rock and heavy metal legends; including Iron Maiden tribute Higher On Maiden, Metallica tribute Mentallica and Bon Jovi doubles Wrong Jovi.

Then on Sunday icons of the alternative, rock and indie scenes treated crowds to a singalong spectacular; including David Bowie tribute Alladinsane, Coldplay tribute Viva La Coldplay and Jimi Hendrix doppelgangers Are You Experienced.

Event organiser Jools Taylor said: “Despite the poor weather ­— all weekend which was non-stop rain, something we’ve never experienced at Festwich before ­— the attendance was brilliant. 15,000 people attended over the two days.

“The weather didn’t dampen the festival spirit, if anything it added to the atmosphere which was unbelievable, once people had surrendered to the fact it wasn’t going to get any drier they got stuck in embraced it and enjoyed it.

“Highlights of the weekend on Saturday were tributes to Metallica and Linkin Park and Sunday’s highlights were tributes to Coldplay and Prince amongst many others.”

Festwich was born in 2012 and has since grown from ambitious beginnings to lofty heights to clinch the title of the largest event of its kind in the country.

Organisers of the festival say family-friendly inclusivity is at the heart of the event and this is typified by its policy of free tickets as attendees only have to pay a booking fee.

The two-day gig also sees thousands of pounds donated to charitable causes thanks to the generosity of attendees.

Fresh from another successful year, and with necks still sore, feet still weary and muddy wellies still drying; wheels are already in motion for another stellar festival next summer.

Jools said: “Plans are already on the way for Festwich 2020 and we have some amazing announcements on bands that are booked coming soon.”