Another year, another Bloodstock – the UK’s largest independent festival, all based around a genre of music that apparently died in the 90s. Thankfully the powers that be at Bloodstock Central don’t read the news so they’ve kept the metal juggernaut blindly trundling on for almost two decades now.
2019 sees the 18th festival overall, including the old indoor events, and the lineup is as strong as ever. The four stages are present as ever, covering bands at the top end on the Ronnie James Dio all the way down to the real young upstarts (and a spoken voice act) on the Jagermeister – which is effectively three kitchen tables bolted together with a bathroom towel chucked over the top to keep the rain off. Which is what makes it so brilliant.
OK, so what am I looking forward to? Of the three headliners, Sabaton are one of my favourite bands and this is their first time topping the bill. I expect great things – like their music or not, Sabaton are known for their incredible stage shows and you just know they’ll pull out all the stops on Friday night. I’ve pretty much never heard of Parkway Drive who are in Saturday’s top slot, but I do know they were a contentious choice. However, again, they have a reputation for a great live show so I’ll be interested to see that on. Scorpions will be a box tick for me on Sunday. Not a huge fan, but they’re legends and it’ll be great to see “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and “Wind of Change” played live.
Talking of hurricanes, Evil Scarecrow are back on the main stage and I expect we’ll be seeing the lunacy that is the twin circle pits encouraged during “Hurricanado”. Definitely a band not to be missed. I travelled all the way to Sweden to see Powerwolf last year as they were on at Sabaton’s own festival and they never tour the UK. Until a few months later when they were only in bloody Glasgow, and now I get to see them again at Bloodstock! Anthrax are also a must-see, being my equal favourite of the “Big Four” alongside Slayer.
Ross The Boss will be a show to watch with the inclusion of KK Downing‘s first live appearance since he left Judas Priest. Dee Snider will be superb, and it’ll be great to welcome him back after Twisted Sister’s masterclass performance back in 2016.
The SOPHIE stage plays host to some cracking acts as well. And Footprints in the Custard, who are shit. Thankfully the likes of Ten Ton Slug, Skeletal Remains, Dust Bolt and Resin make up for it. They’re only five bands out of a couple of dozen on there over the weekend.
Many of them have “graduated” from the New Blood stage which once again hosts the many bands to make it through the regional (and international) Metal 2 the Masses competitions. As always, we’ll be spending a lot of time around here, checking out the talent from up and down the UK as well as Norway and Poland. Likewise, the aforementioned Jagermeister stage is routinely packed inside and out as the “small” bands entertain. I’ve seen some absolutely brilliant acts here in past years, so it’s definitely not to be ignored.
On top of that there’ll be the bands on in the VIP area, the cosplayers, and something else in the main arena as there always is (I think it’s weight lifting again this year, though we’ve had knights in armour in the past as well)… plus the atmosphere. I go to a fair few festivals, and Bloodstock is right up there in terms of the simple feel of the place. It’s a Goldilocks event. Not too big, not too small… just right. There are many people who I chat to online and work with year in year out, but this is the one time I get to meet them. So even though I’m working, it’s one of the best events to attend on a personal level, not just because of the music.
I just hope the weather’s better than last year!