Festival Spotlight: Bloodstock

As 2023’s hottest metal weekender, Bloodstock, edges ever closer you won't want to miss out on grabbing your tickets. Set to visit Derbyshire's Catton Park from 10th to 13th August, the line up is bigger than ever with the likes of Killswitch Engage, Meshuggah, Megadeth and more.... but that's not all you can find at Bloodstock.

As part of our #festivalspotlightseries and with the festival celebrating being in its 22nd year, we've been chatting to Bloodstock's Director Rachael Greenfield about what to expect from weekend, Bloodstock's ethos, the story behind how the festival became as huge as it is today and more! Read the full interview below and book your tickets today!

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Bloodstock returns to Derbyshire this August – how are the preparations for the festival going?

Preparations are going really well. We’re like a well-oiled machine now with this being our 22nd year. Every year we try to tweak and improve on the previous one. We have a great team around us that know exactly how to deliver an amazing experience for the festival goers.

The line-up is bigger and better than ever before, how do you go about curating the line-up and sourcing the acts?

The line-up is a year-round, ongoing labour of love. We’re constantly curating the line-up well over 2 years ahead of time. We look at who is releasing new albums, who are touring festivals in the August time frame, who we haven’t had previously or bands that maybe haven’t played Bloodstock in recent years. This is balanced against fan requests and an inner circle of us deciding who and where on the bill bands are to be positioned.

We also work with an incredible group of independent European festivals that have the same ethos as us, called the UFF (United Festival Force), Working with these festivals gives us a much more attractive offering to bands and agents when approaching them to play Bloodstock, as we can, in some instances, offer a run of festivals in the August calendar, rather than offering as just one event. Our aim each year is to bring the strongest line-up across both the main Ronnie James Dio Stage and the additional Sophie Lancaster Stage.

The metal community seems like quite a tight knit one – would you say this translates to Bloodstock?

Absolutely! The metal community is so inclusive and friendly. Bloodstock is renowned for being an incredibly safe and friendly festival of 20,000 metal brethren. In the mosh pit, which can look pretty scary to the untrained eye, if someone falls, others put their hand out to help pick you up, and this translates through all aspects of life for most metalheads. Everyone is so passionate about the music. It really is a way of life and never really leaves you.

The festivals ethos is ‘By the fans, for the fans’, how did this ethos come about and what does it mean to you?

We are a family-owned festival of father, brothers and sisters. The festival was started back in 2001 by my Dad Paul and his friend who both were passionate about rock and metal. Everyone involved in the festival in those early years volunteered in every way they could to see the festival grow and develop into what it is today. All for the love of metal. Most of those volunteers are still involved today in some capacity. It was fans of Metal that started the festival, and without that we wouldn’t still be here. This means everything to us and is something we are incredibly proud of.

Other than music, there’s a lot more happening across the festival weekend. What else can metalheads get stuck into this year?

There’s loads going on other than the music. We’ve got a battle arena with Viking Combat taking place each day. This is the most authentic, full contact Viking combat you will likely ever see. Or maybe try your hand at Axe throwing? There aren’t many places you get the chance to do that. For the early morning revellers, we’ve got the Rock Fit team active in the arena, if you want to limber up to some heavy music each morning. The RAM Gallery is back exhibiting incredible artwork from the world of Heavy metal, including stunning custom built guitars, original oil on canvas paintings from world renowned fantasy artist and festival founder Paul Raymond Gregory and a lot more we can’t tell you about just yet. We have a Gaming Arena for those who need their gaming fix, whether that be on X-Box, Playstation or the old fashioned classics on retro consoles.

Every festival needs a few fairground rides, then we’ve got the Planet Rock Radio Signing Tent, where you can meet many of your favourite bands personally for a treasured photo or to get your new merch signed. We’ve got Lemmy’s Bar, which was officially opened by Motorhead’s very own Phil Campbell back in 2016 offering an incredible array of real ales and ciders, as well as alcohol-free drinks. Then later on in the evening, after the main stage shuts, you can try the Silent Disco, or head over to the Sophie Lancaster tent to party with our metal DJ’s to the early hours.

On top of this we have a really expansive array of food stalls, catering for everyone’s palate, including Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-free, etc, and over 50 market stalls, selling the weird and wonderful that only a metal festival could offer. Add to all that 20,000 new friends and the friendliest atmosphere and memories to last a lifetime. Oh, and did we mention we have a few bands playing too?!

Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to the most at this year’s festival? Is there anyone you’re particularly excited for on the bill this year?

I’m personally really looking forward to seeing UUHAI, their style is Mongolian Metal and I absolutely love it, as we’ve never had anything like them at Bloodstock before. Also being an 80’s rocker, I have to say Ugly Kid Joe especially if we get some ‘Cats In The Cradle’. I do feel a little spoiled for choice this year, as for me there are so many bands I want to see, including Sepultura, Candlemass, Skynd, and of course the mighty Megadeth.

If someone is thinking about booking tickets for Bloodstock, what would you say makes it a staple in the festival season?

Bloodstock is so much more than ‘just another festival’, it’s an entire community of likeminded people who just love metal and the metal lifestyle. It’s a feeling that stays with you after the weekend is over and makes you want to come back for more, as soon as possible. For anyone that loves heavy music, it really is an amazing experience.

Book your tickets for Bloodstock now!

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Hey, I'm Karishma. I like food, music and Christmas!

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