As the clock ticks and the countdown to Bloodstock Open Air 2016 begins in earnest, PlanetMosh sat down and debated everything that comes together to make BOA the best metal festival in the UK. Allow us to present our alphabetised guide to the festival.
The A-Z guide to Bloodstock.
A – August
August is the end of the British summer and that means it is time for Bloodstock 2016. The metal hordes will descend once again on Catton Park in Derbyshire on their annual pilgrimage in search of metallic goodness. Are you going? Get your ticket here.
B – Bin Jousting
Frowned at by the health and safety department, loved by the residents of Midgard, there can be no denying that the annual Bin Jousting frolics are one the highlights of the entire weekend. It’s one of those things that makes for side splitting entertainment until the early hours of the morning. On our command, UNLEASH HELL!!
C – Camping
Camping is the quintessential way to savour the entire Bloodstock experience. While some may retreat to their princess palaces in the surrounding towns, the battle hardy will be there on Thursday afternoon waiting for the gates to open so they can nab a prime piece of canvas real estate in Valhalla, Midgard, Ironwood, or Hel. When the sun goes down on the festival each evening and the final band has tooted its last refrain, many sit back and enjoy the banter and atmosphere surrounded by friends both old and new. (oh, see bin jousting)
D – Deli Kate
There are so many options for eating at Bloodstock. From vegetarians to carnivores, they’ve got everyone covered. The PlanetMosh team want to give a shout out to Deli Kate who provide fantastic dinners that feel like a little piece of home.
E – Evil Scarecrow
Evil Scarecrow are the ultimate Bloodstock band. Their performances at the festival are the stuff of legend. Last time they had 10 thousand crabuloids scuttling in unison.. How are they going to top that this year? Get in early for their mainstage demolition on Friday and make sure you practice your robot moves. No one likes a bad robot dancer.
F – Family
Bloodstock is a family friendly festival. Kids are more than welcome and for many it is their first experience of a heavy metal festival. From the toddler with the ear protectors, to the youngster in fancy dress, there is a sense of family for everyone at the festival; between bands, friends, security and the fans. Everything comes together to make that special thing that we all call the #BloodstockFamily.
G – Gallery
Bloodstock founder Paul Gregory has created some of the most archetypal album covers in heavy metal. In the RAM Gallery, fans have the opportunity to see some of the original pieces of art alongside new pieces from Mr Gregory. Also included are photographs from some of Bloodstock’s house photographers over the years and there is a selection of guitars from Cynosure. Check out our interview with Paul from a few years ago here.
H – Hobgoblin
Wychwood Brewery’s flagship ruby ale, Hobgoblin, is the drink of choice in the main arena at Bloodstock. It’s hard to beat the creamy goodness of its chocolate/crystal malt blend when drawn straight from the cask on a hot sunny day. They also sponsor the New Blood Stage which has further solidified the bond between the iconic brand and the festival.
I – Independent
Bloodstock is an independent, family run festival. This means that they call the shots and continue to keep the magical vibe by sticking to their guns to provide the best UK metal festival bar none.
J – Jägermeister Stage
Nestled close to the RJD Stage and on the walkway from the New Blood to the Sophie Lancaster Stage, you will find the Jägermeister Stage. It may be the smallest of the stages, but the quality of the bands on show is top notch. So when the main stage band finishes, take a few minutes, check out the riffs and slam a shot of Jager while you’re there.
K – Knights
Is there anything more metal than a gang of medieval Knights clad in armour and armed with swords, shields and morningstars beating the living shite out of each other in a no holds barred display of brutality? No there is not. Take a few minutes to see the effort that these warriors exert in their arena close to the main entrance.
L – Lemmy’s Bar
At the end of 2015, we lost one of our most iconic members of the metal community. Lemmy Kilmister was the Godfather of Metal to many and it is fitting that the Bar in the Serpent’s Lair has been renamed ‘Lemmy’s Bar’ as a fitting tribute to the man, the myth, the legend. Raise a glass to his memory. Phil Campbell will officially open the newly christened bar with the first drink at 5pm on the Thursday!!
M – Merchandise / Metal Market
We’ve all heard it, every T-Shirt sends a band 50 miles further down the road. In this day and age, merchandise is the one of the most essential ways for a band to make ends meet. Even the festival offer amazing T-Shirts, hoodies and more. (note: A commemorative BOA Patch each year would be amazing). Alongside the band/BOA merch, the metal market is there for you to spend some down-time flicking through cd’s, vinyl and more. Put a few pennies aside in the run up to the weekend.
N – New Blood Stage
Metal 2 The Masses is the foundation on which the ethos of Bloodstock Festival stands proud. From late last year, the chapters across the UK and beyond have held numerous events as the road to Bloodstock began for many. The New Blood Stage is where all the M2TM winners will play over the weekend. This is the culmination of months of hard work, blood, sweat and tears for bands and the organizers and we urge anyone reading this to make time to go to the New Blood Stage, you might find your new favourite band. All these bands are the beating heart of our heavy metal community.
O – Open Air
It’s been a long time since Bloodstock was indoors. Re-labelled Bloodstock Open Air in 2007, the festival has gone from strength to strength. Yes we are at the mercy of Mother Nature, but that’s half the fun. Remember the beautiful orange glow of the Derbyshire sunset last year as Opeth filled us with proggy goodness? Ya won’t get that under a roof!!
P – Portaloo
Anyone who does not become obsessed with finding the perfect portaloo on day three of the festival is full of crap. Special mention needs to be made of the Portaloo gymnasts who strive to go about their business without touching any surfaces. We salute their formidable talent.
Q – Queen
We could have said Queues, but they are inevitable at every festival, so we have opted for Queen. Not a Bloodstock goes by where at least one punter doesn’t decide to joyfully massacre Bohemian Rhapsody at the Metal Karaoke or in the Serpent’s Lair. If you don’t make it to the Karaoke sessions, the chances are high that the dulcet tones of the operatic section will be heard close to your tent.
R – Ronnie James Dio Stage
After the passing of Ronnie James Dio in 2010, the year that he was due to play at Bloodstock with Heaven and Hell, the organisers renamed the main stage the Ronnie James Dio Stage. Replacement headliners Opeth performed what many have called the most emotional performance of ‘Catch The Rainbow’ at the 2010 event. It’s fitting that ‘The Voice Of Heavy Metal’ is remembered in such a prominent way at Bloodstock. Raise your horns.
S – SOPHIE
The spirit of Sophie Lancaster is part of the core of Bloodstock. Her memory will be with us forever.. We as a metal community will never forget, we will never bow to hatred and bullying and every year we celebrate her memory with music and respect. Stamp Out Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere. http://www.sophielancasterfoundation.com/
T – Twisted Sister
There can be no denying that Twisted Sister playing their last ever show in the UK at Bloodstock is the big deal this year. Their ‘Forty and Fuck It Tour’ has been saying farewell to massive crowds across the world this year. They are going out in style, with a roar of defiance. The SMF’s will be there to celebrate this historic show. It’s very possible that Twisted Sister could close the festival on the Friday night!!!! Slayer, are you listening?
Check out our Twisted Sister Bloodstock Playlist here and our We Are Twisted Fucking Sister documentary review here
U – Unsigned
How many festivals dedicate a whole stage to unsigned talent? I’ve already extolled the virtues of the New Blood Stage and Metal 2 The Masses but it is important to mention again the massive opportunity given to unsigned bands by the Bloodstock team. Through the years some of these bands have been called back and even play on the mainstage. That’s true faith and belief in the music we love. Kudos.
V – Venom
Venom at Bloodstock is the dog’s bollox. Let’s face it, they are one of the most influential metal bands in history and the Bloodstock crowd will have the opportunity to celebrate their legacy with Cronos on the Friday evening.
W – Wristband
Your wristband is a magical band that banishes real life for the duration of the festival. Worn as a badge of honour, many leave this band on after Bloodstock in the hope that there’s still a smidgen of festi-vibe within. Warning: Removal may lead to Post Metal Depression.
X – X-Treme Metal
X-Treme Metal (yeah we cheated on the X) is represented very heavily each year at Bloodstock. This year is no exception with a plethora of brutality being unleashed over the four days. Bands to watch out for – Behemoth performing ‘The Satanist’, Ghost Bath, Rotting Christ, Goatwhore, Akercocke, Venom, Satyricon, Foetal Juice, Gojira and Slayerrrrrrr.
Y – YOU
Bloodstock is by the fans for the fans. You are what makes it special. Take a bow!!
Z – ZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!
Catching Z’s over the weekend will be at a premium. That’s what the best festivals are all about. We’ll sleep when we’re dead, or at least in work the following week. That being said, the battle hardy have developed a knack of finding those 10 minutes of solace in the strangest places and positions across the arena. Keep your eyes peeled and learn.
So there you have it. We hope you enjoyed our little guide to PlanetMosh’s favourite UK festival.
Bloodstock Open Air takes place from 11th – 14th August 2016 at Catton Park, UK. Buy your tickets here