The history of Bloodstock
- Select Year:
- Bloodstock Open Air 2023
- Bloodstock Open Air 2022
- Bloodstock Open Air 2021
- Bloodstock Open Air 2020
- Bloodstock Open AIr 2019
- Bloodstock Open Air 2018
- Bloodstock Open Air 2017
- Bloodstock Open Air 2016
- Bloodstock Open Air 2015
- Bloodstock Open Air 2014
- Bloodstock Open Air 2013
- Bloodstock Open Air 2012
- Bloodstock Open Air 2011
- Bloodstock Open Air 2010
- Bloodstock Open Air 2009
- Bloodstock Open Air 2008
- Bloodstock Open Air 2007
- Bloodstock Indoor Festival 2006
- Bloodstock Open Air 2006
- Bloodstock Indoor Festival 2005
- Bloodstock Open Air 2005
- Bloodstock Indoor Festival 2004
- Bloodstock Indoor Festival 2003
- Bloodstock Indoor Festival 2002
- Bloodstock Indoor Festival 2001
Bloodstock Open Air 2023
Has it really been a whole year already since we all gathered in Catton Park for the most Metal weekend the UK has ever seen?
As soon as we packed away Bloodstock 2022, we have been eagerly awaiting the return of twenty thousand of our friends and family, for another memorable soirée of earth-shattering riffs, and exceptionally good times.
Thankfully, 2023 brought a more balanced weather forecast in comparison to 2022’s “scorched-earth" heatwave, which was one less hurdle for us to worry about when it comes the well-being of everyone on site.
As always, our mission is to prepare with as much contingency planning as possible ensuring that each and everyone on site has the best possible experience during the festival. So, bearing that in mind, as soon as 2022’s chapter was archived, Vicky and Simon immediately set about curating 2023’s bill, featuring some of the most exciting new music, and globally-respected heavy artists, which included headliners; Killswitch Engage, Meshuggah, and Megadeth, who collectively wowed us all over the festival weekend.
Despite this year’s line-up undergoing some changes that was beyond our control, (thanks mostly to a litany of complicated logistics), Bloodstock 2023 blossomed with a cacophony of glorious noise starting, as always, on the Thursday, and featured 125+ artists, incredible exhibits in the RAM Gallery, new attractions in the main arena/campsites, a wedding ceremony in Midgard on Saturday, and not forgetting an Sunday morning marriage proposal on the Ronnie James Dio stage! More about that later…
As always, the excitement under the canopy of the Sophie Lancaster Stage was palpable on Thursday night, thanks to the likes of Nu-Metal project, The Violent Inzident, Texan Death Metal crew, Frozen Soul, King 810, Visions of Atlantis, and the wonderfully mysterious, SKYND, who contributed to the opening of the weekend’s proceedings with truly powerful performances.
Despite getting off to an exhilaration start, our incredible team were working relentlessly behind the scenes in preparation for the arrival of a considerable number of artists and crew who were scheduled to arrive early on Friday morning, ahead of a jam-packed day of music and entertainment across our five stages (including Serpents Lair), so, as you can imagine, there was much to do, and little time to do it!
With each passing year, we work very hard to improve and provide the best care and attention to detail for all our artists, ensuring that they have the very best BOA experience, and in turn, give the best performance to the Bloodstock punters…and this year was no exception.
So, with the adrenaline pumping backstage early on Friday morning, our new artist village/hospitality layout was a hive of activity in anticipation for the arrival of Friday’s artists, such as Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Candlemass, Heaven Shall Burn, and Fit for An Autopsy (to name but a few), who all enjoyed the artists bar, dining area, massage/physio service, and rehearsal area/jam rooms on offer.
Friday afternoon saw the likes of Witchsorrow, Hate, Wolfbastard, Zetra, The Enigma Division and Pest Control, teasing punters from one end of the arena to the other, under the Derbyshire summer sky, all the while our hard-working production team were dealing with issues with local roadworks, which were causing considerable delays for some artists, such as Sacred Reich, who managed to swap stage times with Gatecreeper, who graciously went on earlier than billed, to accommodate the Phoenix Thrash legends.
The day played out with a multitude of activities, including the opening of Paul’s onsite RAM Gallery, which featured a stunning exhibit from Killswitch… bassist and graphic designer, Mike D’Antonio (aka “Mike D”) featuring a selection of prints from Killswitch…, to Crowbar, 36 Crazyfists, Death Ray Vision, Armoured Saint and more. Check out the exclusive interview with Mike talking about his work on Bloodstock TV (click here).
As the sun began to set across Catton Park, In Flames made their long-awaited return with an outstanding performance, followed by Killswitch Engage, who proceeded to lay waste to the Ronnie James Dio stage for the very first time, before closing the show with powerful rendition of ‘Holy Diver’. A true goosebumps moment!
If that was not enough, Swedish Doom pioneers, Candlemass brought their old school magic to the Sophie Stage and proceeded to conduct a masterclass performance under a fitting murky-green glow ahead of the late-night entertainment across the arena and VIP Serpents Lair, not forgetting the new inflatable assault course in Midgard camping grounds, (featuring pole joisting and bungee catapults).
Of course, with each Bloodstock Day, there are a multitude of situations that require our attention, keeping our team very busy, so, with the unfortunate news of Helloween’s Michael Kiske suffering from an aggressive dose of acute laryngitis reaching us at very short notice, our focus was very much on resolving this as soon as possible. Vicky immediately began working to replace the Sunday slot on the main stage, securing the mighty ‘KK’s Priest’.
Saturday morning saw a flurry of tour buses arriving to the dusty backstage parking lot, including the early arrival of Meshuggah’s stage crew, who instantly began unloading trucks and building the stage production for the bands debut headline slot later that evening.
The backstage compound is typically thriving with activity from early afternoon during the festival, and today was especially busy for our team, due to the added inclusion of providing Megadeth with a secure space to conduct their meet and greet/acoustic performance ahead of their show the following day.
Saturday morning saw the Ronnie James Dio stage fire-up with performances from former Portsmouth Metal 2 The Masses champions, Seething Akira, London’s URNE, and the intensely brilliant, Employed to Serve. The strength of up-and-coming new artists very much dominated across the rest of the festival stages, thanks to exceptional performances from Ambrius, Tortured Demon and Tribe of Ghosts, on the Sophie Stage, not forgetting the stacked line-up, on both the New Blood, and Jäegermeister stages, proving once again that the future of heavy music is very much alive, and in exceptional rude health.
Meanwhile, over in Midgard camping grounds, love was in the air, as the wedding ceremony between Tom and Libby took place, with close friends (and many festival punters) in attendance to witness the joyous occasion. There are not many people who can say their honeymoon destination was the Bloodstock Arena to see the likes of Crowbar, Meshuggah and Triptykon, but for this newly married couple, that is exactly what they did. How METAL is that?
Back in the arena, (not long after Crowbar levelled the RDJ stage with crushing intensity), the first real downpour of the weekend saw the formidable Knocked Loose having to stop their set as the heavens opened. However, spirits were far from dampened and once our stage manager gave the green light to proceed, you Bloodstock’er’s responded with multitudes of circle pits, and waves of happy crowd surfers… which is always a truly glorious site to see.
What followed that day, was a who’s who of breathtaking live performances from the likes of Abbath, Gutalax, Trollfest, and Triptykon (featuring the legendary Tom G Warrior), performing Celtic Frost classics as the sun descended into the horizon, which saw some truly memorable Bloodstock moments we will never forget.
As dusk finally settled in, Swedish polyrhythm Tech-Metal wizards, Meshuggah made their Bloodstock debut with the most mind-boggling light show we’ve ever seen. As the main arena flickered and exploded with magical illumination, the crew on the Sophie Stage were preparing for Swedish Power Metal hero's, Brothers of Metal, to close out the last of the day’s live performances, which they did with exhilarating energy to a rabid audience.
As Sunday finally burst into action, another bout of torrential rain passed over Catton Park, (thankfully, clearing-up) ahead of Irish Groove-Metal crew Dead Label, who opened up the Ronnie James Dio stage. Unbeknown to anyone, guitarist Danny Hall got down on bended knee to propose to long-time partner/drummer Claire Perceval after their performance. Thankfully, she said “yes”! Congratulations to them both!
Now, that’s how you start a full day of METAL!
Following Dead Label, heavy Rock/Metal Mongolian throat singers, Uuhai took to the stage for their debut UK performance, reminding us all that Metal truly is a global movement that is getting stronger and stronger with each passing year.
Meanwhile backstage, Thrash Metal Godfather, Dave Mustaine and Co, could be found relaxing in the Megadeth compound preparing for their headline set, while members of Sepultura, Ugly Kid Joe, Tribulation, All Hail the Yeti and Decapitated hung out enjoying the refreshments and facilities on offer.
Once again local roadworks led to the late arrival of New York Hardcore legends, Biohazard, and Zeal and Ardor, but as always, our artist liaison/production teams made sure that issues were resolved quickly, and the show ran smoothly. As a result, the scheduled self-defence class hosted by Billy Bio was slightly delayed, but finally took place, much to the enjoyment of curious punters who stopped by.
It is times like this that we are reminded about the relentless hard work the BOA team undergo, implementing and influencing smooth transitions across all stages, (as well as the activities and attractions that are located throughout the Bloodstock site), especially when unpredicted situations beyond our control threaten to knock us off course.
This year also saw record numbers of punters visiting the signing tent where a huge list of artists, including Megadeth, Killswitch Engage, Crowbar, In Flames etc, took time out to sign items, pose for photos, and engage with the fans, which we hope enhanced your Bloodstock experience. Huge shout out to the crew who tirelessly ran the late artist arrivals and busy signing schedules, ensuring that you all passed through with enough time and a good experience.
With so much on offer this year in the main arena, punters were spoilt for choice from the Metal Market stalls, to Nordic Spirt gaming area, axe throwing, the thrilling Viking Battle Arena, ESP Guitars booth (featuring Metallica’s Kirk Hammett’s custom ESP model on display), and a huge array of food and drink stalls. Also, if you managed to visit the t-shirt amnesty (located in the signing tent), over the weekend, then I’m sure you’ll agree that it was thriving with activity and good vibes, giving new homes to hundreds of classic old-school Metal t-shirts and hoodies for you Bloodstock punters.
We also hope you managed to stop by and say hello to Dina and her crew at the Sophie Lancaster booth, where you could find out more about the amazing work that Sylvia achieved before she passed away last year. Our “Wear Pink for Sylvia” once again provided a sea of brightness throughout the BOA arena and campsites, which was a truly heartwarming sight to see. Thanks to all of you who took part again this year.
As the final hours of Bloodstock 2023 unfolded, we witnessed crushing sets from Tribulation, Decapitated, Sepultura, Ugly Kid Joe, Cobra The Impaler, Church of the Cosmic Skull, Dead Air, KK’s Priest, Zeal and Ardor, and many others.
However, the main stage grand finale was left in the capable hands of Megadeth, who executed a sensational UK exclusive performance, featuring classics such as; ‘Hanger 18’, ‘In My Darkest Hour’, ‘Tornado of Souls’, ‘Peace Sells…’, ‘Mechanix’, and many more. Despite the attempts of the now infamous oversized inflatable unicorn that tried to steal Mustaine’s thunder, Megadeth were firing on all cylinders, much to the delight of the sold-out capacity that filled the main arena.
In true Bloodstock tradition, we always have one more ace up the sleeve, and this year, we brought the one and only original Biohazard line-up to the Sophie Stage for, what can only be described, as the most wonderfully chaotic, and brutally heavy closing shows we have seen in recent years.
From Billy Bio launching himself into the crowd and instigating two enormous circle pits that circumnavigated the tents huge tower structures, to endless crowd surfers, that saw us double the pit security detail for your safety, this truly was a triumphant and exhilarating end to yet another unforgettable gathering of our extended family.
So, until next year, enjoy the memories because we will return once again on August 8th 2024, to create more unforgettable moments for the Bloodstock history books.
Keep safe, look after each other and yourselves.
Line up: Bloodstock Open Air 2023
- ZEAL AND ARDOUR
- HEAVEN SHALL BURN
- UNTO OTHERS
- KILLSWITCH ENGAGE
- TORTURED DEMON
- KING 810
- ROYAL REPUBLIC
- BEYOND YOUR DESIGN
- SHOOT TO KILL
- SKIN FAILURE
- WILD HEAT
- PAST THE FALL
- HIDDEN INTENT
- IRON ALTAR
- VISIONS OF ATLANTIS
- THOSE ONCE LOYAL
- REPULSIVE VISION
- CHURCH OF THE COSMIC SKULL
- SKIES TURN BLACK
- KNOCKED LOOSE
- THIS SUMMIT FEVER
- TRIBE OF GHOSTS
- THE VIOLENT INZIDENT
- FROZEN SOUL
- THE GREY
- DEAD AIR
- FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY
- EMPLOYED TO SERVE
- SACRED REICH
- CASKET FEEDER
- THE ENIGMA DIVISION
- UGLY KID JOE
- PEST CONTROL
- PHOENIX LAKE
- BLACK COAST
- WYTCH HAZEL
- ACID AGE
- SQUARE WILD
- ALL HAIL THE YETI
- DEAD LABEL
- SEETHING AKIRA
- DEVILS HENCHMEN
- THE DEAD XIII
- TO OBEY A TYRANT
- COBRA THE IMPALER
- MOON REAPER
- ARMS TO OBLIVION
- BROKEN CALLING
- DYSTOPIAN SUN
- STREET SOLDIER
- PICTURE THE SCENE
- BROTHERS OF METAL