As festival season comes to a close this weekend with the Reading and Leeds festivals, it's fair to say we can look back over the past two and a half months and think to ourselves 'wow that was really really great indeed'. So, having been to the likes of Download, Sonisphere and Hevy, we feel that it's a good moment to reflect on what has really made the summer for music, taking things up a level and making it something to remember. Here then are our top five moments from each of the three festivals but be warned they may include fights!

1. Letlive-Perhaps the pinnacle moment of 2011's festival season, this was unlike anything anyone had seen before and no-one was ready for it. Having already devastated on their first visit to these shores in February, their performance was a mix of unhinged catharsis, unbridled excitement and genuine unpredictability. Opening the set with a lone guitar whirr, the sound gradually built until frontman Jason Aalon Butler, one of the best to hit the stage in a very very long time, ran through the crowd to jump from the barrier onto the stage, in the process getting into a brawl with security that was not only resolved just in time for him to sing his first note but also truly adding to the sense of occasion. A stunned audience has since agreed that this is going to be looked back on as a very important piece of festival history.

2. Skindred-2011 has been the year that Skindred have proved with a giant baseball bat exactly why they're one of the greatest live bands that Britain has to offer. Pulling one of the biggest crowds of the whole weekend, their set was something that wasn't going to leave the memory anytime soon, if ever, with frontman Benji Webbe succeeding in commanding the immense crowd to perform the robot and the 'Newport Windmill' which involved 40,000 or so pieces of clothing being spun in the air in unison. Closing on a crushing 'Warning' from this year's 'Union Black' album, Skindred showed everyone just who's boss.

3. Bring Me The Horizon-The day the haters stopped hating. Festivals have often been a place of bottles and heckling for BMTH but following the release of last year's unstoppable 'There Is A Hell...' record, this year has seen the band prove to everyone why they're one of the best live metal bands around and have been converting dismissers into fans everywhere they've been. Opening with an earth-shattering 'Alligator Blood' the huge crowd was turned immediately into a frenzy and it simply didn't stop. The band had a real sense of show with a unique backdrop and steam cannons firing all over the place and the likes of 'Anthem', old-school fave 'Pray For Plagues' and brutal set closer 'Chelsea Smile' added a genuine sense of occasion. Bring Me The Horizon have succeeded in proving the doubters wrong.

4. The Gaslight Anthem-Playing literally in the 'pounding rain on the wet, alright absolutely soaked, Sunday of the Donington weekend, the New Jersey soulful rock n' rollers proved that they can play to essentially any crowd and put on a smile on the faces of even the most miserable of people. Frontman Brian Fallon's stage impersonations of Linkin Park and Metallica raise the spirits of all those being hammered by the rain and it certainly helps that the quartet are one of the tightest bands around with uplifting anthems like 'The '59 Sound', 'Great Expectations' and 'The Patient Ferris Wheel' sounding both significant and utterly vital. This band are destined for stadiums and their Download performance only helped to further that cause.

5. Linkin Park-Closing the weekend to a sparser crowd thanks to the weather, Linkin Park's set felt oddly intimate (for a festival) and rather special. From opening with a killer 'Papercut', DJ Joe Hahn simply throwing the horns before kicking in with its unmistakable beat and the rest of the band running on stage, their set flowed brilliantly. Old school favourites like 'Crawling' and 'Numb' provided huge sing-a-longs in the suddenly mild and fresh evening air while newer material shone through much more so than on record with an immersive stage set that brought in elements of projection, lighting and soundscape. Finishing with undisputed classic 'One Step Closer', the Californians closed the weekend on a huge high. An overexcited (and extremely drunk) fan also felt the need to repeatedly exclaim in ecstasy between songs about how happy he was while also scolding the band for being late, providing perhaps the funniest moment of the whole weekend. All in all therefore a great couple of hours and a wonderful end to the weekend.

1.Slipknot-Without doubt the most anticipated festival performance of the entire summer, the metal legends' emotional return to the stage since the tragic passing of bassist Paul Gray last May was always going to be something special. As soon as Shaun 'Clown' Crahan appeared on stage with Joey Jordison on his shoulders, both dressed in original 1999 attire, everyone knew that this was going to be unstoppable and as the roars got louder and louder, raised every time by Corey Taylor's rousing hand gestures, before the band jumped headfirst into '(sic)' with its 'here comes the pain! opening it was obvious that this was destined for the history books. Indeed what was so special about the show was that band made it completely about Paul, everything made you think of him and there was a genuine feeling that he was there in spirit, watching on as his brothers in Slipknot lay waste to Knebworth. Following the astonishing two minute silence earlier that day, the band's honouring of Paul's boiler suit and mask at the end of their set was particularly powerful, the heartbreaking image of Jordison dearly hugging his friend's suit remaining fixed in the memory.

2. Biffy Clyro-In the lead-up to Sonisphere there were many rather loud whispers spouting that Biffy Clyro weren't up to headlining a festival, especially a metal festival, and that their performance would go down like a lead balloon. Well those people may have found themselves not only largely mistaken, following the band's Saturday night set, but also looking rather silly and embarrassed as the band absolutely took Knebworth by the scruff of the neck and destroyed it without mercy right before their eyes. Complete with an endearing David Lynch-esque stage set and a sound that could conquer giants, the Kilmarnock trio launched into a huge 'The Captain' and didn't let up for the full extent of their perfect 23 song set, taking songs from their previous two albums and colliding them with fan favourites like the colossal 'Stress on the Sky' and a massive sing-a-long of '57', it all worked impeccably. Other moments included a delicate and deeply moving solo rendition of 'Machines' from frontman Simon Neil and an entertaining cover of Slayer's 'Raining Blood' before ending on a monumental 'Mountains'. Biffy can't headline a metal festival you say? Well I think you'll find they can not only do that but any festival they want.

3. Limp Bizkit-Having become one of the ultimate festival party bands, the Bizkit provided one of the most euphoric sets of the weekend, bashing out hit after hit. Swaggering onto stage with a brutal 'Hotdog', sing-a-longs and sky-scraping jumps were huge in the early evening air, the band sounding brilliant, especially the signature crunch of guitarist Wes Borland and in a brilliant twist, frontman Fred Durst built the band's setlist out of a requests from the audience. This included a massive 'My Way', hilarious outing of new song 'Douchebag' (an entire field of people singing its 'Douchebag, I'ma fuck you up!' chorus) and the inevitable knowing-smile finale of 'Rollin''. It was however a rare outing of old favourite 'Boiler' for 'the core Limp Bizkit fans' that provided the set highlight and one of the best moments of the weekend, it's 'hope you know that I'm never coming back refrain sounding huge eleven years on. Top stuff and more than a few brain cells were most definitely lost during 'My Generation', killer.

4. Parkway Drive-When your guitarist is in a wheelchair with a broken foot it would be impressive to perform a good set as it is but when this happens and you perform a set that is one of festival season's best, you have to be something pretty damn special. This is exactly what Parkway Drive did around midday on the Sunday of Sonisphere, with guitarist Luke Kilpatrick spinning around onstage in a wheelchair, going just as crazy as the rest of his band, while rubber dingies were thrown into the audience and a giant inflatable wave sat amongst the band. It also helps of course when you have plenty of metalcore crackers to boot and the likes of 'Sleepwalker', 'Boneyards' and a Godzilla-sized 'Home Is For The Heartless' proved the Australians to be one of the best live bands metal has to offer at the moment. Frontman Winston McCall's friendly stage banter juxtaposed brilliantly with his ferocious, rip-roaring vocals and the band never missed a note. One of festival season's best and most telling moments by a mile, expect these guys to return even bigger next year.

5. Gallows-Perhaps not going down as one of the greatest Gallows shows in conventional terms but everyone assembled shall forever remember the genuine shockwave when frontman Frank Carter announced his sudden departure from his band onstage to a field of people with no internet connection. So shocking was it in fact, that the crowd simply thought that Frank was joking or just being difficult but as the truth slowly and painfully began to sink in the show became a violent tornado. The departing frontman summoning the weekend's biggest and quite astonishing circle pit which went all the way around the outdoor Saturn stage sound desk before asking friends of the band to join them onstage for a devastating closer of 'Orchestra of Wolves'. Controversial and highly significant.

Hevy Fest
1. Funeral For A Friend-With their tenth anniversary almost upon us, it really shows just how important a band the post-hardcore titans are, with most other bands playing over the Hevy weekend being evidently and/or vocally influenced by them. Their early evening weekend-stealing set therefore was not only one of festival season's best but also a perfect and important reminder that they know who's boss. Sonically tighter than ever and looking like they wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world but on that stage, the band pulled the biggest crowd of the whole weekend and the sing-a-longs, to every single song, were absolutely deafening. This included classic cuts like the now ten-year old 'Juneau' and moment of the weekend 'Roses For The Dead' and newer songs such as the crunching 'Front Row Seats To The End Of The World' or twisting 'Spinning Over The Island'. Frontman Matt Davies' stage banter was warm, humble and often hilarious and gave the powerful impression that these are real guys playing real music. Absolutely essential.

2. The Dillinger Escape Plan-Despite facing frustratingly severe sound problems, the New Jersey alternative icons still proved pretty easily that they're one of the best live bands that the live circuit has to offer. Arriving onstage to a terrifying 'Farewell, Mona Lisa', towering speaker stacks were climbed, microphone stands were thrown and the band scaled every bit of space that they could including, in frontman Greg Puciato's case, the vertical extent of the stage. Songs like 'Black Bubblegum' and 'Milk Lizard' provided the most unorthodox of sing-a-longs and the three-man roar-athon between Puciato, Architects' Sam Carter and an in-crowd The Bronx's Matt Caughthran on highlight 'Sunshine The Werewolf' was as destructive as it sounds. The band are cool as fuck and their live show is utterly captivating. Special shout-out also to guitarist and band mastermind Ben Weinman who manages to play his guitar like hardly anyone else while also being one of the most unhinged live performers around.

3. Touché Amoré-One of the leading lights in innovative hardcore, the Californian quintet's travels to our shores were felt thick with anticipation and the band couldn't have responded to it with more power. Playing to a not just packed but can't-get-anywhere-near tent, the point-perfect sing-a-longs made it feel as if the band and audience were completely at one, opener 'Tilde' being the first climb and drop in a complete rollercoaster of a set. Playing with a genuine catharsis, the five members were endearingly involved with their journey-like songs, frontman Jeremy Bolm's gentle persona clashing wonderfully with the desperate frustration of his lyrics and vocals. Absolutely vital, you need to check this band out no matter what you're into.

4. Arcane Roots-Having been hyped all of over the place since the beginning of the year, the unique Surrey-based trio have been steadily impressing around the country and proving that this hype has a powerful foundation. Blending together elements of At The Drive-In, Biffy Clyro and Muse and infusing them with incredible musicianship and guitarist Andrew Groves' stunning voice, the band played to an increasingly swelling tent, leaving anyone paying them the time of day swept away and feeling like they were watching a band who are becoming something special. The fact that Groves comments that they'd just flown in from Florida, where they're recording their debut album, were taken as a joke or that they were genuinely an American band goes to show just how impressive it is that the band can do that and still have this much energy and on-form technical prowess, and they were flying back out again that night! This time next year, this band are going to be well on the way to being massive, no doubt about it.

5. Lower Than Atlantis-Although Basement did a sterling job of introducing themselves earlier on in the day, Lower Than Atlantis' Friday night headline tent performance was a real triumph for the band. The confines of the tent were so rammed that the sound actually cut out multiple times as fans threw themselves off its shaky pillars, singing for frontman Mike Duce when his microphone ceased to work, it was apparent that this band are becoming a really big deal. Coming on to a rapturous response with the urgent bullet of an anthem '(Motor)Way of Life', it was so evident that the band have come so far over the past year that it's quite astonishing to think about, their fanbase increasing by thousands, the swaying sing-a-long that greeted 'Another Sad Song' being a particularly telling moment with everyone assembled, inside the tent or out, knowing every syllable. This was a picture of a hard-working band getting the success that they deserve. This band are on an upward trajectory for sure.

All this just goes to show what an amazing summer it's been and proves that bands are really upping the ante in an attempt to stand head and shoulders above their peers. Be sure to check back next week for our top five (or maybe even top ten) moments from Reading Fest and see how they stand up against those assembled here.