When arriving at Bloodstock on the Thursday lunchtime there was a slight feeling of interpretation as the weather forecast was mixed and we had just had some pretty severe storms the previous week.
However, throughout the day and evening it was hot and sunny and I had a great afternoon in Midgard campsite eating, drinking and catching up with my Bloodstock pals.
There were just as few bands lined up to play the Thursday evening and after a few short sets from the opening bands, a load of pretty drunk people descended on the Sophie Tent to see Rotting Christ who treated us to a great set of old and new tracks.
I woke up on Friday morning to a real treat. My pal Stewart was cooking breakfast for all 14 of us in our group. Sausages in a bap with jerk sauce went down a treat. He even did the washing up! Thanks Stewart.
On the Main Stage it was Thrash Metal afternoon with Xentrix followed by Death Angel and then Metal Church. I managed to catch most of Children of Bodom before heading off to the Sophie Stage to see Sulpher who after overcoming some sound problems were able to proceed with an awesome industrial sounding set.
Although Countless Skies were sounding really good on the Sophie Stage, I wasn’t going to miss Powerwolf so headed off quickly to the Main Stage and enjoyed what was one of the best bands of the weekend.
Front-man and lead vocalist Attila Dorn was right on form, cracking jokes and absolutely having the whole crowd following his every command in a heavily based audience participation set. Along with their great music, and magnificent Gothic church stage set it was a fantastic hour of Power Metal.
Sabaton followed Powerwolf and likewise, with an amazing World War I stage set and some great tracks to hear, they played out an enjoyable set and were worthy headliners. Talking afterwards though many people did prefer Powerwolf and found themselves converted.
Now since as far back as I can remember, whenever I am at a Metal festival, whether in UK or abroad, I always manage to spot Rockin’ Roy who is a short blond haired Welsh guy and will never be without a drink in his hand. Bloodstock 2019 was no exception and it was a pleasure chatting to Roy who is a bit of a legend and understandably seems to know so many people at festivals.
I was keen to see both Swallow the Sun and Helheim for the first time and both bands met my high expectations. Evil Scarecrow were as usual, an exceptional comedy act with some decent metal included.
As the afternoon drew to a close, the high winds that had been swirling around us all day started to gain momentum and when all the main stage lighting rigs came down just before Cradle of Filth were due to start, it looked ominous.
A couple of hours later, after some rescheduling of bands and a sterling effort from the Bloodstock team on the Main Stage, Anthrax were able to take the stage and played a really good set of which many people made a of point of saying how good they were.
That led us to the headliners for the night Parkway Drive. Much anticipated and looked forward to by some, and conversely not so by others who doubted their right to be headlining.
What we got from Parkway Drive was one of the best headlining performances ever seen at Bloodstock and a massive crowd who mostly were in awe of pretty much everything they did. Their well constructed set led with memorising tension before moving into upbeat tracks that had the who audience bouncing. They mixed in some heavier tracks while at the same time contrasted with a string section. Add the exceptional fire effects and pyro and this all contributed to an absolutely splendid set and a great evening.
For me, the evenings music was far from over. I was really looking forward to seeing Taake and they were just brilliant. I got pretty close to the front of the stage and was really absorbed by the way they superbly play Black Metal.
Later at the Campsite there was a pretty impressive parade of people marching around in search of wheelie bins so they could have the traditional bin jousting competition. Wheelie bins though seemed to be quite sparse, which I think may have been deliberate from the organisers.
The final day of the festival started off pretty wet and we had constant heavy showers up until mid-afternoon. Incredibly though, the site didn’t get too muddy and compared to Download or Wacken it held up very well.
I did intend to watch Hypocrisy during the afternoon but after taking a seat at Lemmy’s bar, time just flew by chatting to people and Hypocrisy came and went without me realising. Everyone at Bloodstock is so friendly it isn’t hard to get engaged in all sorts of interesting conversations with complete strangers, who then become friends.
I certainly wasn’t going to miss Dee Snider though. The sun fittingly came out as Dee came on stage and after stating his displeasure that the doughnut pizza stall wasn’t there this year, Dee went on to absolutely rock the Main Stage. His new material is right on the money and mix in a few Twisted Sister classics and the banter that Dee Snider does so well and you have the perfect combination for a Main Stage festival set.
Cradle of Filth had to swap from Saturday to Sunday due to the high winds and I did feel for them as they also had to swap about 2 weeks prior at Wacken due to thunder storms and also got stranded a week before at Heathrow airport due to airport technical issues.
The band were fantastic and I really enjoyed their set. Lots of fire added to the Gothic stage set and it all came across really well.
Batuska were better than I expected and surprisingly made up for the absence of Dimmu Borgir. Cloaked, masked and combining music with ceremony, they played out a really powerful Black Metal set.
Closing the festival were Scorpions who I watched from the back as have seen them play a similar set for the last four years at festivals so thought I would take in the full view of their show. They were steady, without any frills. Whereas Eluveitie who closed the Sophie Stage were tremendous and really kept a weary audience engaged.
Reflecting back on the whole weekend I would have to say it was a fantastic 4 days of live Rock & Metal Music. A really well organised festival with a great atmosphere in the campsites and arena, and loads of really friendly people which we know Bloodstock is renown for.
As previously mentioned, everyone really appreciated what the Bloodstock crew did to keep the festival running during some exceptionally high and dangerous winds. Horns up to them, and roll on 2020 – Bloodstock’s 20th anniversary!