Bloodstock is easily the best metal festival I’ve been to in the UK. That’s easy to type because it’s the only other full on metal festival I’ve been to in the UK excluding the day long North of the Wall in Glasgow. My other festival jaunts include Download and Sonisphere, and despite the size and pedigree of the bands, they haven’t got a patch on a wee festival around Walton on Trent.
Here are five reasons you should consider buying a ticket this year.
5. The People
Without a doubt, Bloodstock is the friendliest festival I’ve camped at. Hellfest and Graspop suffer the curse of the language barrier (if you ever want to feel like a dick, go to another country as a Brit, half of the people at those festivals could speak better English than us), though still spawned some good festival alliances. Download and formally Sonisphere are hit and miss. This I assume is down to the size and scope of the festival.
Download isn’t a metal festival despite what some people say, it covers the entire alternative spectrum (though power metal exists outside of DragonForce, you know?). Perhaps it’s because of this that people almost end up in small cliques around the camp grounds of Download. You’ll have a camp of extreme metal fans pitched beside a group of emo kids magically transported from 2005, you’ll have the classic rock campers by Djent fans. Obviously I’m not saying that those groups don’t mix, but whenever I’ve been at Download I’ve always felt a slight division in the air. – Apart from the marvellous glow stick war of 2012, Canadian guy, if you’re out there, you throw well.
Bloodstock though, the divisions are pissed on. I think it’s probably because everyone is in the same camp. While we all like various subgenres of metal, we still all like metal. You can sit talking with random strangers until the sun starts to poke its head above the horizon, you can talk with people in the crowd, you get offered life saving rum and cokes after a particularly brutal Corpse pit (rum and coke guy, my never ending thanks).
For a group of corpsepainted, roots of a tree looking logo adorned tshirt wearing metal fans, it’s the friendliest place to be.
4. The size
Let’s look at Download again. You’re standing at mainstage and a band have just walked off and you fancy a drink. You now need to commit to the hike, out of the grounds, onto the race circuit, through the camp village, into the campsite and back. You’re not making that before the next band is on so the only option is expensive festival beer.
At Bloodstock you walk away, out the gate, into the campsite, sit and drink your beer, stand back up, walk into the arena, make your way to the mainstage and still have to wait for the band to finish setting up.
Plus the size means you’re almost guaranteed a brilliant spot in the crowd. Where you’d have to wait for hours or be a dick and barge through at other festivals, you can just casually saunter to here.
3. The food
Right, this is probably going to be biased and not even that well informed. There are numerous eating places at Bloodstock including the, as I’m told, delicious Kates Deli. I’ve tried about 2% of the offered eateries because of one place in particular. The Garlic Bread stall is the greatest place known to man. Big pieces of fresh garlic bread drowned in melted cheese (that can’t help with the general festival smell), followed by the nearby milkshake stall. It’s the ultimate hangover killer, any chocolate bar made into milkshake, or just the old classic strawberry. The combo cured me after Thursday nights Red Rum induced antics last year.
2. The Line Up
Behemoth doing The Satanist in full, Venom playing an exclusive UK show. There. Buy a ticket.
I’ll be honest, this year isn’t the best line up for my tastes compared to some previous years (Avantasia <3), yet even when it was just these two bands I was sold. The festival is so much fun it could have two bands and I’d go. As it happens we also have a plethora of excellent bands to choose from so that crisis is averted. Another reason I enjoy festivals like Bloodstock and Hellfest is that the bands that would play a small stage in the afternoon elsewhere are top of the list.
Did I also mention it’s Twisted Sister’s farewell show to the UK?
1. Fucking THIS
Bonus Main Reason
Bloodstock is definitely my happy place and if I can’t raise the money to go this year you can expect to see a kidney selling on eBay shortly. Seriously though, I shall be there and you should be to.
Other misc reason I couldn’t fit into numbers
- Security aren’t dicks (apart from that one guy)
- Unsigned bands from across the country play their own stage and that’s pretty awesome
- The bars aren’t just full of shit lagers
- The guy in the hospital bed/chair that has a different theme every year
- Stalls where you can buy shirts and patches, I know that’s a feature at all festivals but I just really like merch
- The names of the campsites, Valhalla/Midgard > Brown/Red
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