Continuing with my handpicked festival features this time it's the turn of Bloodstock Open Air, held every August at Catton Hall in the Derbyshire countryside in the U.K.
Originally started as an indoor event in 2001, its popularity for booking the bands the fans wanted to see meant it had to evolve, and so in 2005 the first open air event was held. Organizers Paul Gregory and Vince Brotheridge wanted a festival that had not been seen since the glory days of Donnington's Monsters of Rock, but not embroiled with the commerciality most festivals wallow in.
Their first headline act at the indoor event was SAXON and that followed with BLIND GUARDIAN the following year. Continuing to very much use BLOODSTOCK as a proving ground for bands wishing greater exposure the guys liked to give the opportunity for many bands to play their first gigs in the UK at their festival. NIGHTWISH being another band championed by BLOODSTOCK and getting their first break in the U.K. When the festival moved outdoors it still kept its friendly family feel, all be it covered in corpse paint with a sprinkling of fake blood to boot!
Now in its twelfth year and experiencing its biggest line up to date with headliners BEHOMOTH, MACHINE HEAD & ALICE COOPER complemented by an array of established acts and upcoming talent its testament to the organizers that the same ethos still rings true…..for the fans, by the fans. The last couple of years has seen BLOODSTOCK book Classic Rock acts for the final day's headline slot which saw a mixture of comments on the social network. TWISTED SISTER, MOTORHEAD and the controversial booking of EUROPE in 2009 which had people up in arms, have all been a very clever master stroke by the organizers. EUROPE simply took the place apart and more than justified their headline status leaving many doubters with egg on their corpse painted faces. Featuring 4 stages, including one for new acts to peddle their wares to a mass audience through the 'Metal For The Masses' initiative around the rock clubs of the UK. This is championing bands to come forward and 'win' their spot on the bill with a public vote, to great success; this ensures the survival of Metal for generations to come and really brings the Metal Community together. Also featured is an acoustic stage, indoor stage and the outdoor Main stage which has witnessed the likes of Entombed, Candlemass, Devin Townsend, Triptykon, At The Gates to name just a few through the years.
So if you find yourself at a loose end this August and wish to see Rob Flynn and the boys cause mass circle pits, or you want to see ALICE COOPER get decapitated (again) or just want to wish NERGAL from BEHMOTH well, get your Metal arses to BLOODSTOCK. Who would have thought that the little family run one day festival held in the Derby Assembly Rooms attended by 700 people, would grow into the 11,000 Metal Heads congregated on a field witnessing the best Metal has to offer…..That is why they come back year after year, see you in the pit!