I’m a metal fan by default. By that, of course, I mean I was schooled in the ways of Led Zeppelin and AC/DC from birth, do my housework to a Metallica soundtrack and have moshed around while a later generation of metallers rise up to the stadium ranks (I’m looking at you, Bring Me The Horizon).
Festival wise, you’ll find me at the likes of Donington and Reading Festival every year without fail, soaking up the bludgeoning riffs, meaty breakdowns and general ridiculousness that is a muddy mosh pit. This weekend though, I ventured to Bloodstock Festival for the first time.
“You’re going to get eaten alive,” one friend warns as we travel in the safety of a media mini bus from the car park to site.
Admittedly, with Trivium, Within Temptation and Rob Zombie heading up proceedings, I didn’t feel too far from my comfort zone. But having heard nothing but good things about the festival’s support for new heavy metal bands, I knew there was an entire world beyond the familiar headliners.
A few things become apparent quickly: one, I was in the 0.8 per cent of people not wearing all black, two, Bloodstock doesn’t have a lot of shade (sunburnt metallers literally everywhere…) and three, people aren’t lying when they say Catton Park feels like home.
Completely reflective of the family community upheld in the metal world, Bloodstock is full of familiar faces, festival regulars and kids who are cooler than I could ever hope to be. It’s refreshing, friendly and safe.
“We met here last year,” is a sentiment reflected in most people I meet, as they congregate at their favourite spot year on year.
Despite the fact I look completely out of place – my modest tattoos and patch-laden denim count for nothing here – everyone is welcoming. Between the bands I interview, campsites I crash into and, well, the guy who served me the best burger of the weekend, everyone’s quick to tell me why this is their favourite festival.
Even Friday night headliners Trivium are doing all they can to impress. Bands are shredding harder and roaring loader because nothing else will do at Bloodstock.
Even without the ability to decode the scribbly band names on the line-up, you just need to love metal and lose your inhibitions to truly enjoy this weekend. Do that and you’ll be just fine.
Until next year, Bloodstock.