posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 07:26 AM
Ok, so once a year I get a week off to go to a large set of feilds in the Derbyshire countryside, pitch a tent, get mangled on booze and so on, and
listen to the heaviest of heavy metal. This event is called Bloodstock Open Air.
Three full days of waking up in the morning, getting hammered out of my skull on cider and other drinkables, and wandering into the arena for about
half past eleven in the morning, to listen to the planets foremost advocates of noise, for me is just as much a ritual as it is an entertainment.
Everything from going out the night before leaving, to buy my fellow festival goers a good hearty meal to see us through the weekend, walking into the
festival proper for the first time in a given year and screaming "LONG LIVE BLOODSTOCK, LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!" at the top of my lungs, right up to
saying farewell to the festival the same way every year, is important to me.
Yes, Bloodstock always gets the best, most thoroughly metal bands, and yes, the festival is wonderfully organised, and yes, the metal action feels
sometimes as if it never ends, but all that aside, Bloodstock FEELS great to be a part of. For metalheads in my home town, life can feel a little
solitary. Sure, there are a few of us knocking about the place, but largely speaking we are surrounded by muppets, drum and bass fans who are only
drum and bass fans because the drugs they take make them incapable of appreciating an actual riff, and pop-farts who can some how enjoy the utter PAP
that comes out of the mainstream music industry (yes, I am talking to you Miss Gaga, and company. Your kind will burn in time).
So the oppertunity to pitch up a camp with THOUSANDS of my noise loving brothers and sisters once a year is VITAL for me. I can wake up for three or
four days of the year, surrounded by people who understand me, my desires, my tastes, my attitude, and share those things with me to an extent. I can
leave my humble tent, aware that in that place I am unlikely to bump into anyone I am bound to loathe. It is like coming home for just four days of a
year, before going back to the unplesant territory of normalcy, where we dig back into our forward bases, awaiting our next visit home.
Another thing that sets this event apart from many music festivals in my home country, is that while Download festival, Leeds and Reading festivals,
and others, deal with a wide variety of "strengths" of metal, only Bloodstock promises to keep its bill clean of the vile infection of Emo, and
normally speaking has nothing on its bill that could be considered "soft". Most of the bands that appear on a Bloodstock lineup fall between
"Thorough ear bashing" and "Your cranium is now soup." in terms of thier heaviness, and the only exceptions tend to be made for older bands, bands
which helped form the entire metal genre back in the day, like King Diamond, who arent really heavy by todays standards, but inspired a generation of
musicians who did make terrifyingly brutal music. As such, they were placed in the headlining position on the first night of this years festival.
There would be no point in my telling you how brilliant the bands were, or explaining that despite having the majority of thier equipment stopped at
customs, Gojira managed to cobble together one of the most impressive on the fly gigs I have ever seen (second only to Mr Devin Townsend managing an
entire set from his laptop due to having none of HIS equipment show up either, which happened a couple of years back). These things have to be
expirienced, rather than recounted, in order to have any particular importance or significance to anyone.
However, what I can say is this. If you like heavy metal, and you have never been to a GOOD metal festival, you are missing out. I do not care wether
you have to starve for one week out of every month, give up cigarettes for a month or two, beg, juggle impossible reams of paperwork, do nine jobs and
mortgage your reproductive organs, you HAVE to go to a festival, and see for yourself what it is like to commune with such a large number of wonderful
people. I can think of no better way to celebrate the music I love, and the community which comes with appreciation of it, than to have been to such a
festival, to have been witness to such sonic mastery, and such feelings of platonic love between people as I have seen at Bloodstock. I love it. It is
more like home to me than anywhere I have ever been before.
Next year Emperor are headlining... Its going to be fantastic.
A messege then, for fellow UK metalheads who may frequent these forums... Give up on Donnington, throw Download, and the little scene kids who have
messed that festival up for everyone, down a big hole. Come to Bloodstock, and know that you are in the most metal company ever assembled in one place
at one time.
Horns high, Rock on!