heavy metal festival, Derby, England, see pictures of the bands in action

Bloodstock 02 'a day at'

14 heavy metal bands doing it indoors in Derby, England, see pictures of the bands in action
  Last year I missed the first BloodStock Heavy Metal Festival and when the opportunity of going to this years festival came up, I jumped at it.
Not to sure how an indoor heavy metal festival would work compared to the outdoor metal festivals that I was used too, but not having to pi** in a hole in the ground was a bonus, and having two 50ft long bars serving all day all the time was a definite advantage over the crowded beer tents selling beer from behind a fold up table which is the norm.
Anyway with 14 metal bands playing over a 12 hour period it sounded to good to miss, so I dug out my old sleeping bag ( I expected to get legless and have to sleep in the car ) and Derby here I come!

I arrived at the Assembly Hall at 11.45am to find several thousand metal heads hanging around in small groups on the square outside the Hall, with a few hundred already forming a queue to get in, rather then queue up ( the first band didn't start untill 12.35 and the doors open at 12.00) I thought I would fill up on food now so that all I would have to worry about for the next 12 hours was beer and which band to watch.
I wandered about looking for something to eat but all I could find was sandwich bars and a Kentucky, on the stroke of twelve I discovered a cocktail bar ( fate ) and decided that a few cocktails were equal to a few burgers (delusional already) the bar is called Saddlers and is no more then a hundred yards/metres from the main entrance to the halls. My lucky number is 3 so I decided to have 3 Tequila sunrise's and then skidadle back to the festival which I duly did ( Tequila sunrise cocktail 1.89 each!!! - alright I can all ready hear some of you saying "woman, drinking cocktails you should be ashamed" etc... *ollocks, is all I can say ).

I heard a band playing while I was still in the queue ( Infobia) but I finally entered the Assembly halls after been searched by the security guys ( a cheerfull bunch of security guards as I have ever seen, well done lads! ) I got in just as Biomechanical kicked off on the main stage, it was a toss up to either get a beer or go straight into the hall to watch, but due to the good design of the building I could buy and drink my beer and at the same time hear the band (there is a huge bar outside both gig halls, clever! ) Biomechanical played some good tunes and I started to warm up, next up was Twelvepointhead (I had already missed Infobia, and I was miffed about that) as I strolled over to the Darwin hall I had to pass the other bar so I tried it out, and the beer tasted just like it did at the FIRST bar!,

But this time the music coming out was just too good to stand at the bar and drink, so I squeezed my way into the hall to watch Twelvepointhead go through their set and I was impressed, good tunes with good riffs and with some nice guitar solos, good heavy metal with a pinch of nu metal riffs here and there, it was a good combination.

This went on all afternoon, strolling between the two halls to watch the bands and grabbing a beverage at the end of a bands set, very civilised and enjoyable, I bumped into some Geordies that I had met several weeks earlier and we swopped tales of drunken wonteness untill I shot off to watch Elvenking ( the geordies, steve and kev wern't moving from their spot as they were waiting for Threshold on the main stage ) Elvenking had the hall rocking and heaving with the crowd whipped up and begging for more.

It was time to walk around the indoor metal market that was set up inside the assembly building, this was all laid out very well with easy access to view all the goodies, the prices were pretty decent as well, all the girls were in their element almost clearing the clothes stalls of everything, the only thing they didn't do was to try on the knickers before they bought 'em....shame, maybe next year!!.

By now it was halftime, 6pm and Diamondhead was due on soon, and feeling a bit peckish I had myself a coffee and a sandwich, while I was scoffing this the Blind Guardian crew turned up and started to get into the atmosphere, I was unable to recognise the band members so approached one of their crew "sprechie sie english" I said " ya, no problem" was the reply, so we chatted for a few minutes about the heavy metal festival at wacken in Germany where they had been headlining, this guy ( I didn't get a name) was one of the sound engineers and was pleased that they were playing indoors, he was also looking forward to a good Indian meal later, he claimed the band was up for a good gig later and told me not to miss it!

I heard Diamond head start so shot off and squeezed into the main hall, along with everyone else by the look of it - no one wanted to miss the Legendary British band, the band was superb, the axe work put all the other bands in their place, with superb guitar solo after solo ripping through the building, these guys haven't lost any of their enthusiasm over the years and I hope they keep it going, it's refreshing to hear the guitar put through it's paces like that, when the set finished you could see they didn't want to get off the stage, it was also a shame that the tight band schedule didn't allow any encores as some of the bands looked like they were prepared to play all night they were enjoying it that much.

Now it was Return to the Sabbat's turn to play and I with the other thousands all tried to get into the smaller Darwin hall, the band started and the crowd erupted and the floor shook, suddenly there was concerned looking security men trying to stop more of us squeesing into the hall, there was a slight pause as the fans waiting outside took this in, then a push and a rush and the guards were bundled out the way and we were in!, and what a gig!, the floor bounced the walls shook and the band responded and gave it 'rice' with volume and power.

The singer from Enemymaker888 had hurt his back earlier, and I'm not to sure if the play order was adjusted but they had a good set, I stopped taking notes somewhere along the line I can't for the life of me say why ( I admit nothing ) but maybe I was losing it a bit, give me a break people, remember 14 heavy metal bands two huge bars with cheap drinks and only 12 hours to get it all in. One thing I must say was that the sound systems used on both stages was excellent, both stages sounded crisp and clear the floors in both halls rumbled along with the guitars although I did see guitarists trying to squeese feedback from their guitar but to no avail as the systems were just tooooo good.

The Bands rocked on with Gamma Ray and Bal Sagoth playing good strong gigs and again raising the temperture of the audience as we all waited for the culmination of the festival with Blind Guardian, they had already been out and done a sound check some hours earlier when we were treated to some playful riffs and drum rolls but now the real thing was here.

Running through their repertoire the band played their new and old tracks, and Blind Guardian has a lot of records to draw upon, with some heavy bouncing going on in the 'pit' I thought we would all end up downstairs in an unexpected way, the band must also have slipped someone a few quid, as they were a damm sight louder then any other band that had been playing that day, and as you would expect from a teutonic band they were tight and sounded better 'live' then they do on vinyl, they were nearly worth the entrance money on their own, but a good gig indeed sending everyone home happy and in a good mood, including me.

Thanks to the two constables who woke me up at 3.34 am by tapping on my car window - once they had gone, I drove home..nice one coppers, good alarm clock, I will be back! 03....


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for BloodStock 03
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Stuart Blackwood -