Over the past few years UK metal fans have begun to see a new festival creeping onto their radar. Bloodstock Open Air takes place at Catton Hall in Derby every August and boasts some of the biggest names in modern metal. The festival caters entirely for metal fans –uniquely in the UK which has a preponderance of cross-genre festivals such as Download and Reading. Boasting King Diamond, Lamb of God and some band called Slayer as headliners if this isn’t enough to make you immediately leap out of your seat and buy a ticket then just keep on reading…
The logical place to start with “why you should go to Bloodstock” is, of course, the bands, and Bloodstock’s “by the fans, for the fans” mission statement never disappoints. Their stalwart booking team always makes the effort to make their headliners “events” rather than just another headline set. Last year we got a full Behemoth headlining set, the year before, Immortal’s first UK gig in over ten years! This time around King Diamond will be making a triumphant return to the UK after an absence from our shores of seven years, while Lamb of God return to the stage in the UK for the first time since Randy Blythe’s trial for manslaughter in the Czech Republic earlier this year.
[youtube id=”oqdZpxkzNvc” width=”600″ height=”350″]
The full lineup won’t disappoint either, for appearing across the weekend you have a staggeringly diverse range of metal acts. Anthrax , Slayer, Exodus and Municipal Waste lead the charge for the thrashers whilst there’s also plenty of power metal such as Sabaton, Firewind and Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia. Death metal is amply represented with the presence of Dying Fetus, Belphegor and Kataklysm while fans of more traditional metal will find Accept, 3 Inches of Blood and Hell very much to their taste. The inclusion of some more mainstream metal names in the form of Lamb of God, Devildriver and Fozzy cement Bloodstock’s place as one of the UK’s premier annual Heavy Metal events.
“But these are all mainstage acts” I hear you cry, “What if I don’t want to watch Dark Funeral, or Amorphis?” Well, fear not, for the second stage – the Sophie Lancaster stage also has some great acts; Evil Scarecrow for one, who had one of the biggest crowds of the festival when they played the Sophie Lancaster stage in 2011.
[youtube id=”rcCeD5r3uZo” width=”600″ height=”350″]
Egyptian death metallers Scarab, technical thrashers Xentrix, orchestral djenters Xerath, Scar Symmetry and Wolfsbane also make appearances across the weekend. There’s plenty to check out on the Sophie Lancaster Stage – even if you don’t know who’s playing it’s always worth wandering over, you just might discover a new favourite band!
If the excellent range of acts on the Sophie stage STILL isn’t doing it for you, then there’s always the young blood stage – which showcases some of the best up-and-coming metal bands from across the UK, a fact proven by the number of British metal acts that have performed on the stage in the past including Evile and The Defiled. This year, watching Karybdis is an especially enticing prospect!
[youtube id=”mZJqUnEu2p8″ width=”600″ height=”350″]
Atmosphere and size
One of the main things that makes Bloodstock such a fantastic festival (other than the bands) is the enduringly friendly atmosphere, helped along by the relatively small size of the site. You may be familiar with the more “traditional” fans of Bloodstock spewing bile onto internet forums after the latest lineup announcement but when you attend Bloodstock these people are, thankfully nowhere to be found. Instead, you’ll find one of the UK’s friendliest, most welcoming festivals. Attendance has exceeded 10,000 in the past couple of years, and there’s a strong community ethos across the entire weekend – one of the things that propels Bloodstock from being a good festival to a great festival. Another benefit of Bloodstock’s relatively smaller size comes across when watching the bands. Ever been to Download and been stood so far away that you could barely see the musicians onstage? At Bloodstock this is less of a problem because even at the back of the crowd on the mainstage you’re still offered a fairly decent viewing of all the action. There’s also the benefit of a clear divide between the (frequently large) moshpit and more passive sections of the audience.
Another advantage of the festival’s smaller size is the ability to pop back to your tent between bands, due to the small distance between any of Bloodstock’s three campsites and the arena, a nice bonus when compared to the ten or fifteen minutes’ walk it usually takes to get to the arena at larger festivals such as Download or Reading.
Finally in a string of enticing reasons to go to Bloodstock – here’s one of the best. You can go to Bloodstock for the low (for festivals) price of just £130! Compare that to Download – £195 (plus booking fees) for a 3-day camping ticket or £205 if you want to camp for five nights. It’s easy to see the advantage of Bloodstock from a financial perspective when compared with other festivals. If you got in early and got your ticket for last year’s price of £100 then, congratulations, you got your ticket cheaper than two tickets for Black Sabbaths UK tour this December.
Here is a list of things that are the same price as Bloodstock tickets:
- You could go and see Beyonce!
Who wouldn’t pay £130 to see Beyonce, right?!?! Well, someone that realises they could see Slayer, King Diamond and Lamb Of God headline sets along with performances from killer acts like Anthrax, Devildriver, Voivod, Municipal Waste, Accept and Sabaton to name but a few…
- You could go and see each headliner at their own headlining shows (or could you…)!
Lamb Of God are a Brixton headlining band so, let’s assume £30 for a ticket to one of their stand-alone headlining shows.Slayer, let’s assume £40 – their Alexandria Palace shows were £40 and their irish dates this year are £38.What about King Diamond? Well, he hasn’t played the UK in a few years (and who knows when he will next) but it would be reasonable to assume that tickets to go and see King Diamond would realistically cost at least £25.£30+£40+£25 adds up to £95 for the ticket costs alone (and don’t think you’ve got away without paying the booking fee!
Travel costs all depends on where you live so lets assume a fairly conservative estimate of £20 for all your travel and drink costs to get to the three gigs.
So to just go and see the headliners on their own you’re already paying close to the full price, and thats taking a conservative estimate of travel and how much alcohol you want to pour down your throat. Then you’ve got the ticket costs to see the multitude of other bands on Bloodstock’s lineup (Anthrax, Sabaton, Accept, Devildriver easily cost at least £20 a ticket.) Add it all up, and Bloodstock surely appeals – even if you only want to see one or two of the headliners.
So, to conclude, Bloodstock is cheaper than most other festivals, has an infinitely better atmosphere than most other UK festivals and, best of all, has an absolutely killer lineup! What’s not to like? Buy your tickets here!