Before I get into this review, I would like to say a great big thank you to the lovely folk at Camp Hobbiton, after being left on my own for the festival, my tent neighbours adopted me for the weekend and I had such a lot of fun both in camp and watching bands in the arena. I will be seeing most of those beautiful people at Warhorns Festival next month, and I can’t wait! To me, that is the reason why metalheads are the best kind of people.
Thursday 9th August
Entering the Hallowed Ground
Bloodstock Thursday’s are always a mixed bag of a day. You have to travel to the festival site, queue to get your wristband, find a place to set up home for the weekend, and then set everything up before the arena opens and the first set of bands are on.
I arrived a lot later than I had hoped to on the Thursday, so I was quite far back in the car park, and so the trek to the festival entrance was a little longer than usual. What I didn’t expect was the 2.5 hour long queue to get into the festival site, with a big discrepancy between security officers on how thoroughly bags were being searched. Some of the queues were going through really quickly with a quick pat-down and a few questions, while others were having their bags taken apart and everything thoroughly searched (including one person I saw have their hairbrush taken apart to see if it was concealing a weapon).
Eventually our trip through security was successful, wristbands were received and then the trek to Camp Hobbiton began. A spot was saved for my tent which was wonderful, and so the tent was set up and there was yet another queue to get the airbed inflated, and then there was no time to stop before the first band of the festival I really wanted to see!
Every time Skiltron have previously played in the UK, I have managed to miss them, so I’d be damned if I was going to miss seeing them at Bloodstock Festival. I finally managed to see them live and I was not disappointed! They kicked off proceedings with one of my favourite tracks, Lion Rampant, and the entire set was one big party. I was headbanging and dancing next to someone who would become one of the people who adopted me for the weekend in exchange for medical supplies and rum. I had so much fun during their set, and I don’t think I ever stopped dancing and headbanging except for the few seconds it took me to take a couple of photos. I just wish I had had some time to rest before the bands because I was already feeling a bit tired after a long day.
One of the things I love about Bloodstock is how short a walk it is to get to everything. I got stuck in yet another long queue for VIP bags and click and collect for merch, so I had 15 minutes to get from the other end of the arena, back to camp to drop off said merch, and then get back to the Sophie Lancaster stage for the start of Arkona. And d’ya know what? I managed it!
Sadly by this time I was far, far too tired to watch a lot of Arkona’s set, but what I did see was powerful and beautiful. Once again, thanks to the size of Bloodstock, I was able to listen to the rest of the set from my tent as I slowly dropped off to sleep.
Verdict: 6*/10 (*only because I didn’t see a lot of the set)
Friday 10th August
The day started off sunny, and sadly, as the morning went on, the clouds gathered and the rain began on and off all day. I did manage to visit the arena and get an awesome Black Metal Groot t-shirt though, so that was something! The ground preparation for any rain worked really well, so although the ground became damp, over the full weekend there were very few muddy patches and the ground was drying up quite quickly after the rain had stopped. There were some amazing stalls as always in the Bloodstock arena, and I never seem to have enough time to properly take a look around and see what there is on offer.
The first band I saw on the Friday was Kamelot. I wasn’t too keen on their latest album The Shadow Theory, however I did very much enjoy their set and it was the first band I saw with my camp neighbours. A particular highlight for me was our impromptu rendition of We Will Rock You while they had a nice little break during their set. They had so much energy on stage, and the vocals were amazing. As usual my camera gives a far better view than I could ever get with my short height. (I might have to copy some fellow short people and take a collapsible stool into the arena next year!)
Friday headliners were the mighty Judas Priest. I have seen Judas Priest before at Download, and once again they put on a spectacular show which was just amazing. Rob Halford once again shows it doesn’t matter about your age, he can still rock out harder than most people in their 20’s! The obligatory motorcycle was ridden onto the stage, and we had classics such as Living After Midnight, Breaking the Law, and of course, Painkiller. If I get the chance to see Judas Priest again, I will be a very happy person indeed!