The very nature of being human is to try and quantify the best, the most interesting and overall superior in everything. Even from a young age I found myself obsessed with trying to find the best I could in the genre of music. With the arrival of the August sun comes one of my all time favourite festivals, Bloodstock.
Having been a Bloodstock virgin until I was accredited there with my previous site, The Metalist, upon getting there I was greeted with some of the nicest people I have met in Metal. Attending the festival in 2015, headline acts of Trivium, Within Temptation and Rob Zombie were the talk of the town. Among other things the line up however is not always something that makes this my favourite festival.
Bred for a more niche of Metalhead, the kind who sometimes see their head’s being scratched at something the magnitude of a more mainstream festival for example, each band has been cherry picked to form a smorgasbord of talent ranging from all sorts of sub genres in Metal. Be it Fleshgod Apocalypse closing out the Sophie Lancaster Stage in 2015 or last years absolutely brilliant Vallenfyre appearance. The choice of Metal is not only varied but the utmost quality that you can expect at a Metal festival often giving me the dilemma of scheduling interviews and wanting to sit out in the field all day!
Its small. Some could say that having a smaller festival could be detrimental to the success, I couldn’t agree less. Bloodstock is not only easily manageable that you can ensure that you get to the stage in time but you also make friends (and don’t lose the ones you’re with!). With the larger festivals it can be a blink and you’re gone affair left to roam solo for the rest of the day. However here there’s always a fellow Metal head who has just discovered that new band, bought a sick new t shirt or is just dressed as Jesus (he knows who he is) that is happy and smiling, nothing gets you more in the festival mood!
Which brings me to another, often financially crippling at least for me anyway, point Bloodstock’s shops are absolutely killer! Milling about in the record shops there are extensive selections of all sorts of sub genres. Ranging as far back as the seventies to last week’s releases. The selection put on display here is always something that I look forward to and not to mention taking home a record that you can say “I bought that at Bloodstock!”.
Taking a break from bands? Bloodstock also have a dedicated exhibition, The RAM Gallery with all sorts of behind the scenes goodies that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. The history of the festival and all that it has a achieved is always located just next to main stage and is definitely worth a visit! I always find it interesting to see how a festival has grown into what it is today. There’s also a small signing tent located next to the RAM Gallery where you’ll be able to meet your favourite bands too!
Not to mention the merch! Every time I attend the festival, I’ll always see a merch item I thought was like the metaphorical unicorn, unattainable. However here there is such a variety of music on display that you’ll be more than like to not only find what you wanted but discover even more! Once all the bands have finished for some punters there will also be the VIP Serpents Lair bar that not only host some great DJ sets with PROPER Metal, not A Day To Remember and has a quality selection of all sorts. From ales and ciders even to wine!
One of the single most horrendous tragedies to befall the Metal community however was the murder of Sophie Lancaster. Simply killed for being different. Dedicating their second stage, every year her loss is a stark reminder of just how tight-knit the Metal community really is. Sadly there is still a sense of ostracism and stigma that comes with being a metalhead where we’re seen as the black sheep of society but here at Bloodstock, everyone is accepted regardless of sexual orientation, race or beliefs if you like Metal then thats all you need here! Not to mention the foundation that has been set up in memoriam of Sophie which always helps raise a substantial amount every year.
Probably my biggest realisation with the festival however is the fierce sense of community that Bloodstock retains year after year. Regardless of what ever sub genre you might like, the sense of understanding and welcoming is something to be admired at the festival. Every single person I have spoken to always remains positive, be it after hours and hours of drinking or those who have stayed sober all day and watched every band they could. The air of positivity is contagious making for it to be truly one of the best there is.
These are just some of the many reasons to get to Bloodstock this year. Of course with a solid line up the likes of Megadeth, Arch Enemy, Fallujah, Kreator, Ghost, Amon Amarth, Hatebreed, Obituary, I could go on. They are the main attraction but even if there might be some times when you’re unsure of what to do, rest assured you’ll have one of the best weekends of your life.