With a great lineup and lovely atmosphere, Bloodstock is definitely a festival I would consider returning to in future. As I mentioned in the second post, we bought the tickets almost a full year in advance, solely on the basis of Emperor’s appearance, when they were the only band announced. Though I would happily have returned to Brutal Assault, I chose to get the Emperor tickets while they were available and as it turned out, Bloodstock’s lineup was more suited to my tastes. In terms of cost, it is obviously a lot more expensive that Brutal Assault, due to their locations, but allowing for the cost of traveling it probably worked out about the same. This may change in future as Ryanair are now serving Prague airport. My choice of festival next year will again be based on lineup.
As I’ve already said, bar the issue of communicating with the fans, I thought the festival was excellently organised. The toilets were usually in great condition, the showers were adequate, and the one schedule change I was aware of was communicated from the main stage hours in advance. There were some disappointments at the merch stand; Emperor shirts had sold out by Saturday afternoon, and Decapitated didn’t even have any shirts with them, but these problems can’t be blamed on the festival. If the CD selection from the independent vendors wasn’t as obscure as that I’m used to from continental festivals, that’s probably because it’s a lot easier for a merchant with a collection of releases by obscure scene bands to travel across mainland Europe than it is to travel to the UK. Even at Bloodstock, my hobby of seeking out the most offensive grind CDs is probably pretty niche, and it didn’t significantly impact on my fun at the festival, so I can’t hold it against them.
A surprising number of children were around at Bloodstock; lots of families with babies and toddlers, and slightly fewer older children. It really speaks to the safety and pleasant atmosphere of the festival that attendees were willing to bring children. There weren’t many acts that would be widely accepted as kid-friendly – Evil Scarecrow came closest, and while their music is exactly the kind of thing I’d play for kids, the singer did swear a lot – but that’s always going to be a problem with metal and I’m sure the parents are capable of managing what their children take in. Thankfully, all the children I saw had ear protection, as the arena at times was very loud, even not close to the stage.
One aspect of the festival I wasn’t fully keen on was the presence of go-go dancers at the late-night discos in the Sophie Lancaster tent. I have no problem with go-go dancing by any means, I just felt it was a little out of place in a setting that was so male-dominated (as a metal festival will almost always be). Metal is not only very masculine, it also rarely concerns itself with sex or sexuality compared to other popular musics – there are certainly exceptions but I think this is broadly true, and as such the go-go dancing seemed to not fit in the way it might at music events in other genres. I’m fully in favour of increasing female participation in the scene, but the inclusion of women as sexualised dancers rather than musicians or fans doesn’t do much to achieve that goal. It was also a strange contrast to the family-friendly atmosphere I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Had it been part of an act such as Rob Zombie or Steel Panther, which use sleaze and sex as part of their aesthetic, it would have been a different discussion, but no such bands played and this was at a DJed event rather than a band’s set.
Finally, here’s a quick rundown of the music videos played on the big screen between acts to keep the crowds entertained – and to promote recent or upcoming releases from Nuclear Blast artists. I think these are all the videos played over the weekend; please do comment or message me if I have forgotten any.
Edguy – Love Tyger: This video is thoroughly silly, the music is equally so, and the album is called Space Police: Defenders of the Crown. I’ll let you form your own opinions.
Lost Society – Terror Hungry: Excellent thrash from this frustratingly young Finnish quartet. Morphsuit-ed aliens, skateboarding and machetes.
Behemoth – Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel [NSFW]: Everything about this video is thoroughly metal.
Dimmu Borgir – Gateways: Also theatrically metal, and features the frontwoman from Djerv!
Belphegor – Conjuring the Dead: Seriously, these last three songs. Is there an agency specialising in pale, dark-haired girls to be weird in metal videos?
Sonata Arctica – The Wolves Die Young [NSFW]: I haven’t the faintest clue what this was about, and I could never get into Sonata Arctica.
Accept – Stampede: No theatrics and no messing around from these thrash metal veterans!
Overkill – Armorist: No theatrics and no messing around from these thrash me… wait which of these was which?
Suicide Silence – You Can’t Stop Me: Not my favourite deathcore band, but it’s good to see these guys back releasing after the death of previous vocalist Mitch Lucker. Cool Aztec-dungeon themed video, but the celeb cameo at the end is a little embarrassing.
Epica – Unchain Utopia: I hate lyrics videos and I hate operatic vocals in metal…
Carcass – Unfit for Human Consumption: … but I love everything about this.
Okay I think I’m done! I’m not going to post a lot for the next month as I finish my Master’s project, but expect some short essays over autumn as I get back to reading new material and write up some of my ideas from this year’s research and composition.