If metal is your music of choice then you may already know about Bloodstock. If you don't, you really should. Since starting in 2001, the annual event brings together some of the loudest, most metal bands there are. We catch up with Rachael Greenfield from Bloodstock who is busy prepping for this summer's event taking place in Derbyshire between 6 to 8 August.
Who are you and what’s your role with Bloodstock?
My name is Rachael Greenfield and I am one of the festival directors. It’s very much a family affair as I run the festival with my father, my sister and 2 brothers. My role is incredibly varied from attending safety advisory meetings with the council and working with our site production team to ensure we meet all H&S regulations, to managing the festival budget (which is always a challenge when my sister Vicky who books the bands, always wants a bigger budget and I have to reign her in).
I oversee the marketing and advertising strategy, festival pass system, accounts and anything else that simply needs doing. We work very much as a team and all chip in where needed.
How tight knit a community would you say the metal community is? Is there a shared sense of ‘coming together’ at Bloodstock?
The one thing that makes Bloodstock stand out is that it really does feel like a big family reunion when we open the gates each August. Metal heads are an incredibly loyal bunch with such a huge passion for the music.
Who selects and approaches the bands that are on the bill? Is there such a thing as ‘not metal enough’ to make the final cut of artists?
We have an inner circle of about 12 people which is made up of fans. Some of these have been attending Bloodstock since its inception in 2001. My sister Vicky Hungerford works closely with the team to try and build a line up each year with something for everyone. Although it’s far from easy!
We read the forums and Facebook comments, we do exit polls at the end of each year asking those who attended who they want to see come back. Then Vicky goes out and works her magic with the agents. It’s a thankless task and made harder when some of the artists we really want price themselves out of our reach.
We have a big wish list each year which gets whittled down based on who is available, logistically are they touring our side of the world to make it viable for them to attend, can we afford them, will they balance the rest of the bill, etc.
Which act will play the loudest, most metal music of the festival?
Ohhh that’s a tough one. Overkill, Cannibal Corpse and Sepultura, Napalm Death. I could list them all as they are all 100% metal and louder than hell! Why don’t you come along and see for yourself!
Aside from the music, what else can Bloodstock goers get involved in this year?
Well besides bin jousting which has become a favourite campsite past time, and forky forky which became very popular campsite game a few years back. Don’t ask!
In the arena we have plenty to keep people entertained from over 50 international market stalls with traders attending from around the world, guest DJ’s, comedians, fire breathers, the most amazing Battle of the Nations with big men in proper medieval armour beating the hell out of each other. The armour protects them but it’s a sight to behold. This is not gentle re-enactment by any means.
Also Bloodstock Arms festival bar with loads of real ales to choose from, fancy dress themed night, food cuisine from around the world and 15,000 metal fans to party with and loads more beside.
What’s the festival’s ethos, what do you want it to be known for?
By the fans for the fans has always been the festival ethos! We need to survive in any ever changing live music industry and we have to evolve and grow to do so. But we are still a family run festival by the fans for the fans and invest heavily in supporting and promoting new talent with our dedicated New Blood Stage and the Metal 2 the Masses Tour, which ultimately finds these incredibly bands and helping to secure a healthy metal scene for the future.
Bloodstock has been going in various forms and locations since 2001 – what are the most memorable moments so far either ones you’ve experienced yourself or heard about from others?
There are too many to list. Speaking for myself and the rest of the family, metal is our love, our passion and to put the festival on each year is such an incredible privilege we never take for granted. So much of what we do and see is memorable. To name a few:
- We booked Europe in 2009 to close the festival Sunday night to which we received huge negativity but come Sunday night the arena is full to bursting when the introduction to the ‘Final Count Down’ comes on, you could literally see people running from the campsites to witness an amazing close to a great 90 minute set and the biggest crowd of the weekend singing along.
- Evil Scarecrow opening the main stage at 11am to a packed arena and literally 10,000 fans doing the Robotron dance in absolute synchronisation, just hilarious!
- Devin Townsend, my hero, called me up on stage on my birthday and sang Happy Birthday to me in front of a packed arena. I could have died but what a great memory.
- Seeing Nightwish’s first ever UK performance headlining the indoor Bloodstock back in 2003 and falling in love with their music immediately.. still one of my all time favourite bands.
- Biohazard front man ‘Billy Graziaadei’ during his set on the main Ronnie James Dio stage decided to invite the audience up on stage with him during one of their songs in 2014.. not ideal from a health and safety perspective but brilliant to see the fans having so much fun.
- Twisted Sister’s blinding performance closing the festival a few years back.. would have them back in a heartbeat!
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