I can’t believe that this year is going to be my sixth Bloodstock. After going alone in 2014 to representing Moshville Times the following year, I never would have expected us to be in the press tent every year since. I feel like a festival veteran and that Bloodstock is a home away from home for one weekend of the year.
The anticipation for an awesome weekend builds as you drive down those tight country lanes leading to Catton Park. Then once you’ve dragged your camping gear (usually under the hot sun) from the car park to the festival entrance, you feel like you’ve arrived.
Every year has an awesome lineup and there’s a multitude of metal to appeal to all heavy tastes across the four stages. For me, there’s loads of bands I want to see. On the Ronnie James Dio stage the moshing fun of Anthrax is always a hit. Children of Bodom and Dimmu Borgir are also a top priority – two of my favourite non-thrash bands who I haven’t seen in years. There’s also plenty of other legends on the main stage that I’ve never seen, and have been on my gig bucketlist since I was an angsty headbanging teen – namely Death Angel and Soulfly. Other top tier metal gods I’m looking forward to include melo-death merchants Soilwork who I’ve recently been getting into, the theatrics of Powerwolf and the anthemic hard rock of legends Scorpions.
There’s also plenty of bands on my hitlist on the Sophie, New Blood and Jager stages. I’ve been after some fresh thrash and death metal and there’s plenty of killer band I’m really keen to check out. On the thrashing end of the spectrum there’s Solitary, Generation Kill, Reaper X, Dust Bolt and Violblast. Down the deathward spiral there’s no shortage of old-skool death metal that I’m really looking forward to including Skeletal Remains, Blasphemer, Zealot Cult and Pemphigoid.
Finally for the line-up, I’ll definitely be at the folk metal party with Eluveite. I’m also checking out the classic metal sounds of Midnight Prophecy as well as the doomy vibes of Damnation’s Hammer and the melting pot of all things heavy with Jackal’s Backbone. There’s a few more for sure, and if I get plenty of free time I’m bound to squeeze a few more bands too!
Aside from the music, Bloodstock always has plenty more. I always find time to check out the stalls. There’s always something to leave the festival with whether it’s the EP of an awesome New Blood discovery, a vinyl of that obscure classic you can’t find anywhere, or even the next album art-emblazoned mug for the collection in your coffee breaks. I always make a wee bit of time to check out the RAM Gallery every year. It’s always cool to see diverse works from artists in the metal world. I can always appreciate artwork and everyone included in the RAM Gallery has a unique style which I love.
Finally, no-one I’ve met who’s been to Bloodstock has said it’s anything other than the friendliest festival. Everyone is just there for a fun headbanging weekend. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, you can always find a heavy metal home at Bloodstock. I could list more reasons why I love making Bloodstock an annual getaway but then I’d be rambling on for ages! In a nutshell: Bloodstock is awesome and I’ll see you in the pit!