|Me at the Ronnie James Dio stage|
Size - the festival is a great size, really easy to navigate and get around.
Accessibility - the disabled campsite was right next to the arena, had plenty of space and mostly decent facilities. The seating platform was busy but was easy to reach and had its own toilets.
Food - although typical highly-priced festival fare, there were a huge amount of options and a great selection for those who are veggie, vegan or gluten free.
Stages - the main stage (named for legend Ronnie James Dio) is a good size for visibility, and there are several smaller stages scattered around. There are clashes, but one good thing is that the second stage headliners are on later than the main stage ones, so you can usually watch both.
Bands - there were a wide variety of bands to choose from across all the genres of metal.
|Just one of the many quirky food stalls...|
Toilets - festival toilets are never great, but I would say that these were the best I've experienced at a metal fest and they were at least cleaned and re-stocked with paper quite regularly.
People - plenty of fun and friendly folks! A great atmosphere overall.
Smoking - if you're not a smoker, you might want to be prepared for this aspect of the fest. People were smoking everywhere, even in the tent stages, next to the no smoking signs. Quite an issue for anyone with health problems/asthma etc.
Accessible showers - I can't speak for the other showers, but the accessible ones were not great! They weren't particularly accessible and provided nowhere to put dry clothes. Hot water was a plus, though.
Cleanliness and Crime - two things that are unfortunately a problem at all festivals these days! There was a lot of mess, and I heard a fair few reports of people having things stolen (even a skeleton was nicked). Stay safe, folks.
|Skeletons: not too spooky to be stolen|
Female vocalist representation - this point is one more specific to readers of this blog. The festival could have done with some more bands with female singers on the line-up. There was a little more representation on the smaller stages with bands like Triaxis, Winter Storm and We Are The Catalyst, but the only bigger bands on offer were Within Temptation and Delain.
MINI BAND REPORTS:
S.O.P.H.I.E. charity. The setlist consisted largely of tracks from the band's most recent albums, The Human Contradiction and We Are The Others, but a few older tracks made an appearance including Sleepwalker's Dream and The Gathering. The atmosphere in the tent was electric and it was clear that the band were going down a storm. The highlight was of course a final (very appropriate) rendition of their Sophie Lancaster-dedicated song We Are The Others that had everyone singing along.
Opeth are a band so consistent that it's almost hard to review their performance, as they rarely differ. Mikael Åkerfeldt makes his usual self-deprecating remarks in between the songs, at one point declaring that they'll be playing a song from "the most hated Opeth album". This wasn't really a set for the older fans as it was almost all Opeth's newer, more prog, less death metal material. It was nice and mellow in the sunset, but somehow not very Bloodstock. The more unexpected appearance of Deliverance as the sixth and final track played was definitely a popular choice among the audience.
My first Bloodstock experience was a good one. I'm looking forward to attending another instalment - hopefully in better health! There are definitely improvements that could be made, but now that I have attended all the large metal festivals in the UK I think I can safely say that Bloodstock is my favourite.