The week before the festival there had been an air of unrest and tension around the UK, but the feeling of togetherness and ‘family’ at this event was so strong that as soon as you walked through the gates you forgot all of your worries and realised that Bloodstock is ALL about the music!
There were a great number of small bands playing on the New Blood stage, which meant that we had a lot of chance to educate people about PRS for Music and get a whole load of new members. And, because there is so much respect for the festival, everyone went out of their way to help make our job easier, and ensured we got everything done but still had time to enjoy the atmosphere and entertainment.
As well as karaoke and comedians, there was a great selection of bands playing on the Thursday evening, including the very energetic Beholder, who are fronted by another member of the Bloodstock team Simon Hall. Being treated to a couple of famous covers by these guys really started the festival off on the right note.
On Friday W.A.S.P headlined the main stage, but for me it was all about the smaller stages. We saw Cerebral Bore wow a tent of 3,000 people halfway through the day with their brutal mix of death metal and hardcore. They showed that they had both ability and a sense of humour when they treated the audience to a party halfway through their set, throwing cupcakes into the crowd to the soundtrack of Haddaway’s What is love (Baby Don't Hurt Me).
Meanwhile, the evening was all about Angel Witch and their melodic 70s-inspired metal. I had never heard of these guys before, despite them being around for many years, but soon as I was told that they had Bill Steer on guitar (Carcass, Napalm Death, Gentleman’s Pistols), I knew it was going to be an awesome set with lots of big choruses and even bigger guitar solos.
And so onto Sunday, and that horrible sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when the realisation that the end of the festival is nigh and you have to go back to reality. But this day was the best for music with some of my favorite acts playing on the main stage, and the mighty Motorhead bringing the festival to a close.
It was great to take PRS for Music staff to this festival. A lot of people could learn much from the overall organisation and feel of this event, and I'd like to raise a tankard of the finest ale to the Gregory family. Long live rock ‘n’ roll, and more importantly, long live Bloodstock!
Words and pictures: Gareth Kelly
Bloodstock Festival, 12 - 14 August 2011, Catton Hall, Walton-on-Thames, Derbyshire