So, the 10th edition of the self proclaimed “UK number 1 metal festival” – Bloodstock has been and gone but not forgotten… Mainly due to the torrential rain that we early birds suffered with whilst trying to put up our tents but hey, that’s character building.
Thanks to the rain, a crowd of black t-shirt wearing metal heads soon turned into a Singing In The Rain festival complete with colourful ponchos and wellington boots! (Not to mention lighter wallets from the advantage taking, price inflating on-site shops!)
On a lighter note, the organisation of this years festival was definitely an improvement on the previous year’s with a reduced queue time from 3 hours to less than 5 minutes. It’s safe to say that no balls were sagging for queues this time round; although the hike from the carpark to the campsite in combination with rain and side ways hills plus trolleys full of gubbins most likely made up for it.
Now lets forget about the rain for a moment and talk about the lineup. I must say that for a 10th anniversary, the lineup didn’t reflect the occasion especially minus Heaven & Hell (R.I.P Ronnie James Dio). Although Opeth did a nice job of stepping up into Heaven & Hell’s place I was personally expecting someone a little more epic to fulfil our major loss and disappointment of the mighty Heaven & Hell – especially since Opeth already headlined previously in 2008. On the other hand Twisted Sister (although not strictly metal), did a great job at putting the crowd in a celebration mood with their join-in classics “We’re not gonna take it” and “I wanna rock”.
Anyways, all seems negative so far so lets look at some plus sides. This years Sophie Lancaster stage was THE party tent and a significant improvement than the previous year. I hate to say it but I think the Sophie Lancaster stage pulled more people in than the main stage this year at some points. I don’t know whether that is because of the rain and some of the bands on the main stage weren’t worth getting wet for, or whether this says something about the lineup. Besides the bands throughout the day time, the Sophie tent was still very much alive through to the early hours of the morning with metal karaoke, pole dancers and what not. There were even showings of “Suck” the movie with Alice Cooper to warm the day up.
Another noticable improvement was the New Blood stage (unsigned bands stage) which had been lined with black fabric to hide the hideous white walls of the marquee. Not a good place to hang out on the Sunday might I add with the sun blasting down making it into a human oven. However, Mutant made it bearable with their green themed turbo, hyper, ultra, mega, powerful performance. I still don’t understand why they aren’t signed yet.
This year Bloodstock went from black to green with their new recycling systems. Dumped around the festival were recycling crates for cans and plastic bottles. It’s safe to say that there were more cans in the recycling than plastic bottles, not only for the obvious reasons but also because of the coca-cola recycling goody stand where plastic bottles = prizes!
Food and shops are always important and this year they couldn’t be better. Actually that’s a lie.. The chinese noodle bar was back and continued its poisoning quest! Apart from that, the layout of shops was much better and new food stalls were introduced. The Fish & Chips van for the win! Tasty and worth it at Â£2.50 for a big tray of delicious chips.
Ok we’ve talked about the good things and the bad things so now it’s time for the annoying things. The wasps were back and still unnecessary. However, I didn’t pay to be harassed by wasps for the weekend, I paid to see the bands which was made a little more difficult by the fact that every time you entered the festival arena after being in the camping areas, queues had to be formed for searches of EVERYBODY that entered the arena. This meant that you could be queueing for at least 20 minutes at some points which is long enough to completely miss the band that you were going to see. Well thanks for that Bloodstock, thanks a lot!
So, all in all, the 10th anniversary of Bloodstock was nothing more than the previous 9 and a little bit of a let down for the celebration of 10 years of the supposedly “UK number 1 metal festival”.