For the last twelve years, UK’s Bloodstock festival (also know as Bloodstock Open Air or B.O.A) has kept developing to the point of becoming one of Europe’s most important Metal gatherings. For this year’s edition, more than 12,000 fans will meet in Derbyshire, England from August 8th to 12th. For four consecutive days they will enjoy all the live Metal they can handle, courtesy of Slayer, King Diamond, Lamb Of God, Amorphis, Anthrax, Kataklysm, and many, many more bands.
PureGrainAudio recently had the opportunity of talking with the legendary visual artist and Bloodstock’s founder, Paul Raymond Gregory, about the history of the fest, its development, and what fans can expect on the upcoming 2013 edition. Please note we take NO responsibility if, after reading this, you want to buy both a Bloodstock and plane ticket. That said, with more than 100 days still to go before the fest, we encourage you to do it!
From where came the idea of creating the Bloodstock Metal festival?
Paul: It was pretty much by accident. I was looking for somebody to do my website, this is how bizarre it is, and I found this guy. I knew he was a Metal head and he presented me the idea of putting a festival together. And I said, “Great idea”, I didn’t think about it, because to me made a lot of sense. I think is a natural progression for me as an individual to be part of something like that. And I ended up with the festival in the end. It was about four of us, but it was obviously quite a costly exercise and eventually it was just me. So I went and developed it from there.
What, in your opinion, makes the festival special?
Paul: I don’t think we are any different from any other festival. Each year it gets more and more people. I think we probably have a European feel to it and that’s why people like the idea because they come to Bloodstock because we have a lot of European bands. We bring to UK a lot of bands. Blind guardian came in to England for the first time at Bloodstock. Nightwich is another band that we brought for the first time and several others I can’t think of right now. That’s probably one of the reasons, I wouldn’t say that there’s specific reason for that.
So, what can people expect from the festival?
Paul: It’s just 4 days of Metal basically. We got 3 stages, the New Blood stage, the main stage which is the Ronnie James Dio stage, the Sophie Lancaster stage, and we have a smaller stage for an acoustic set. It’s just full on Metal. And is for all ages as well, you know?
This year King Diamond, Lamb Of God, and Slayer are headlining.
Paul: Yeah, it’s great! Especially King. It’s the first festival he’ll headline in the UK. So we are looking forward to that. I’ve have never seen him live so it’s also a great experience for me as well.
The Festival has also become a place for young bands to develop a wider audience. A place to grow.
Paul: We support a lot of young bands within the festival. We have the New Blood stage and we give bands the opportunity that they wouldn’t normally get. You know, by playing in the main stage and playing venues up and down in the UK. You never know who can become big.
Check out the Bloodstock Open Air Metal Festival 2013 promo
The Festival has become some sort of a family affair for you. Can you tell me more about it?
Paul: I brought my daughters in as directors. But there again, it was purely by accident not by design. You are not winning a lot really, not in the financial aspect. You have to be in it to win it, that’s what I say.
Did you ever imagine a decade ago that you were going to be doing Bloodstock in 2013?
Paul: No. Not at all. It’s like Hamlet, the eternal optimist. I think you need to be that if you’re in a business of any kind. But is a fan thing. I never looked upon it as a money-spinner. For me was a passion that I wanted to create something that was unique and that I could see developing. So I think for me it has to be the passion of doing something you want to do, and that is how it has worked. The fans see that, they see it’s not corporate and we do it because we love to do it, and it’s just natural, organic. But we actually do try to make sure that they get value for money, not financially but in terms of what they see. We are probably the only metal festival, true metal festival in the UK.