What was Bloodstock 2021 like?
BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR FESTIVAL 2021; sounds like a pipedream, right? Well, by some miracle and frankly, sheer hard work, it actually happened, and I was lucky enough to attend.
When I knew that I was going to Bloodstock, I thought it would be interesting to document my experience.
I don’t just mean your generic live review, however, I meant how I found it, physically and emotionally.
This is because as someone who suffers from moderate to severe anxiety, the idea of going to a festival where there would be large crowds of people was incredibly daunting. Especially because the pandemic meant that I haven’t been exposed to large bodies of people since early 2020.
Not only that, but like many introverted extroverts over lockdown, I had become used to my own space. The thought of not having my own bed or a clean shower for several days made me nervous.
However, to my surprise, once I arrived on the Wednesday, I got back into the swing of festival life very quickly.
On the first day my anxiety ebbed and flowed as I grew accustomed to the constant noise and swarms of people that you’re faced with in festival campsites.
But, by Thursday, I was walking confidently through the crowds and even striking up conversation with strangers while queuing for the toilets.
I also really enjoyed catching up with old friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in over two years.
I was initially nervous about seeing people I hadn’t seen in a while as I was concerned it might be awkward, however, everyone was just excited to be able to see each other again and have conversations about something other than world events.
One of the best things about festivals, aside from the socializing and normalized day (morning) drinking, is discovering new bands.
During lockdown, I found myself in a rut with music and listened to the same bands over and over again.
But as the festival grew closer, I started checking out bands on the line-up that I hadn’t listened too before.
Suddenly, I had a rejuvenated love for music and wanted to keep finding new bands. This also made me really excited to finally experience live music again.
Bloodstock Festival this year had a particularly diverse line-up, from RAISED BY OWLS to SKINDRED, there truly was something for everyone.
Highlights for me were URNE, BATTLE BORN, SKINDRED, DEVIN TOWNSEND, KREATOR, and JUDAS PRIEST.
I got especially emotional during DEVIN TOWNSEND’S set, because his music has helped me a lot with my anxiety over lockdown.
It was also a special set because it was by request, so we got some real deep cuts from Devin’s back catalogue. We even got to see some STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, which is rare.
Similarly, JUDAS PRIEST, set was commemorative as it was their “50th anniversary” celebration. Although I only stayed for half of their set as I left early Sunday night, it was safe to say that the band were on top form that night both musically and energetically.
Not only did they play the expected classics like Turbo Lover, but they threw in some b-sides like Victim of Changes, a real treat for hardcore JUDAS PRIEST fans.
Aside from the music and expected club nights throughout the weekend, there were also several other entertainment options for fans in the arena, including a gaming zone, a fun fair, and THE RAM GALLERY.
THE RAM GALLERY was a great experience for any metal head, with cool collectors’ items, guitars previously owned or played by famous musicians, and custom artwork. There was even a chance to win a signed Glenn Tipton guitar.
Overall, BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR FESTIVAL 2021 was a success. Not only was the line-up great with a diverse range of bands to offer, but the atmosphere was electric.
After so long without live music, you could tell that everyone was just so happy to get back to it.
As for my anxiety, whilst it fluctuated across the weekend, I was generally in high spirits and felt oddly comfortably in large crowds.
BLOODSTOCK is a wonderful festival with a great community, so its easy to feel safe.
Finally, although this BLOODSTOCK wasn’t normal, with many lineup changes occurring even on the day of the festival, it was still a memorable experience and I look forward to going to more festivals in the future now that restrictions have eased. You can find the line-up to BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR FESTIVAL 2022 here.
Words: Megan Taylor