BLOODSTOCK – THE BIG ZT INTERROGATION (A.K.A. INTERVIEW)

With Bloodstock beckoning the majority of the UK’s metal forces, we thought we’d catch up with festival director Adam Gregory to discover how a combination of metal friendships, skate demos, battle re-enactment and fairgrounds make for a stellar metal event. Oh, and then there’s the music, of which there is plenty. Read on and prepare for Bloodstock 2013, 8/11 August! We’ll be there with bells on, so we expect you to drop by at the ZT stall…

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ZT: Where did the name Bloodstock come from? Did you always aim high?

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AG: They say that all good ideas come from madness, and very much like the Bloodstock name, a few guys sitting around drinking one day, throwing names into the pot and hey presto, one of them came up with Bloodstock. Everyone just loved it and so that was it, vote taken.  Bloodstock is here to stay as far as we’re concerned and we strongly believe in organic growth, Bloodstock has grown every year since its inception and 2013 is set to be no different. We have just had to increase our licence capacity for this year and have made some site tweaks to accommodate a slightly larger crowd. We have ambitions as does everyone, but we also have time.  It’s very important Bloodstock remains rooted and keeps the festival’s now renowned feel of the friendliest place on earth (or hell for that matter) to listen to great music, with 15,000 of your closest friends.

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ZT: Catton Park has become known as the grand location of the Bloodstock festival. Why was it chosen to begin with?

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AG: To put on a festival, generally you just need a field right?  Wrong!  You need a landmark, something that can be more than just a field in the middle of nowhere. When we saw Catton Park it was just perfect; not just set in beautiful grounds, but also accessible for the fans.  The grounds have incredible drainage and we have plenty of room for expansion, so it was important we had somewhere to base Bloodstock with longevity.

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ZT: Has there been any sign of outgrowing its glorious steppes?

 

AG: At the minute, Catton Park works for us, and for the foreseeable future will remain to be the home of Bloodstock.  We’ll be seeing you all there for a few more years yet.  There’s plenty of additional room available to us.

 

ZT: Do you see there being the potential of growing even further? It seems the vast majority of the UK’s metallers attend the festival by default at this point.

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AG: Growth is part of any business strategy, but as I’ve said, it must be sustainable.  Bloodstock isn’t just a business, it’s a family passion, and when I say family, I don’t just mean the Gregorys per se.  I mean EVERYONE who commits their time and effort into making Bloodstock the iconic event it is in the metal calendar, especially the fans.  We have always appealed to not just the UK, but also further afield, and to be honest, already do attract good numbers from overseas.  Europe is very accessible but we have had good numbers from as far afield as the US, Australia, Canada, Japan………..loads of places, and welcome everyone to join us for the BEST 4 days of the year

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ZT: You’ve said that you don’t treat the great European festivals as competition. And, indeed, it seems an impossible task to get say the Germans to leave the comfort of their borders. To what extent are visitors of the fest from abroad?

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AG: As I’ve mentioned earlier, we do get a lot of fans from across the waters.  All over Europe but increasingly other continents, we are simply a global community and look to deliver 4 days of what we all love.  Wherever you are in the world, for a few days in August, you need to be in Derbyshire, England.

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ZT: Also, you’ve said that Bloodstock has now been accepted, if you will, to the circle of large Euro-fests, and are co-operating with them…?

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AG: I think to get the best from the industry is to embrace others and learn from each other.  We’re not competing with other festivals, we are simply adding to the choices available for the fans.  We co-operate if you will with other festivals, and sometimes this works well if a particular band are looking for European shows.  Being able to offer this up certainly does help and if the end result is we can jointly bring a band to Europe who otherwise wouldn’t be available, then yes, we would rather work with them.

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ZT: Pritchard & Dainton return to Bloodstock after a grand performance last year. Are you planning to make them an annual fixture? Does comedy and metal go together?

 

AG: These guys are simply mental and were a great addition last year.  Personally I love what they do as I’d never do it myself and I think if we can offer our fans some alternative entertainment then why not?!  It has always proved to be popular and what’s wrong with having a laugh at someone else’s expense, as long as they are happy to do so. Whether they become a permanent fixture, we’ll have to see, but this is year two!

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ZT: The Sophie Lancaster stage has been graced by bigger and bigger names recently, why is this?

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AG: The Sophie stage has become quite iconic for Bloodstock and as the stage tent became bigger, naturally so did the acts.  The stage is now a main fixture and offers the fans an additional alternative selection of bands to listen to, in addition to our already successful New Blood Stage.  Plus let’s not forget that everything kicks off in the Sophie stage each year on the Thursday night, as after all this is known as party night.

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ZT: Anything new this year at the festival area?

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AG: We do have a few new additions this year including the Battle the Nations UK team who will be doing some epic fighting across the weekend, with their heavy metal full contact battles.  Really looking forward to seeing these guys!  We have done a few site changes and additions this year too, but let’s not spoil the surprise!  You’ll find out in a few weeks.

ZT: There’s a skate crew present?

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AG: Yeah, metal and skating has always had quite a close relationship back since the early days of thrash metal, and with the support of Attitude Clothing, we have arranged for a skate ramp along with some professional skaters to come along and put the ramp to impressive use.  Hey, you never know, maybe even Randy from Lamb of God will give it a whirl.  He’s a big skate guy, as are several of other band members on the bill.

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ZT: Bloodstock also doubles-up as an amusement park, with rides of many kinds on site. Can you tell us about how this came along and if you plan to develop this in any ways?

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AG: The amusements have always been part of the additional entertainment and I think always will be.  We don’t have that many rides, I don’t think, but if you fancy propelling yourself at Warp 11 after a day’s drinking……..good luck to you!   I’ll just make sure I’m not standing underneath…hahaha!!

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ZT: What about the camping… usual ‘gard this and ‘gard that shenanigans?

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AG: Yeah, we do have another one this year actually, called “Ironwood”. Metal and fantasy have a great link with one another and have for years.  Many great bands, including Amon Amarth and a number of others take their names from Middle Earth fantasy books, so it seemed only fitting that we followed that path.  Of course let’s not forget Paul’s link with Lord of the Rings and the many metal album covers he has illustrated.  In fact, we are having an exhibition at the festival this year showcasing all of Paul’s album covers, alongside all of the original Bloodstock artwork paintings from the very first Bloodstock to present day.  Definitely something to come and take a look at when you have a moment.

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ZT: Metal 2 The Masses is becoming an increasingly important part of Bloodstock, not only showcasing UK metal talent, but in fact global. Can you tell us about the concept? We’ve heard you will extend the competition to places such as South America.

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AG: Metal 2 The Masses is again another of Paul’s original concepts.  We have had an Unsigned stage from the very first Bloodstock and as the festival developed, so did this.  Metal 2 the Masses has been globally embraced, as we don’t charge any bands to enter or perform.  We want to be party to the next big discovery, and hopefully will contribute in unearthing the next Iron Maiden or Slipknot!  Bloodstock and Metal 2 The masses is going GLOBAL.

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ZT: You’ve had great fortune in recent years, with the sun god blessing the festival with good weather… have you managed to get a whiff of the impending weather?

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AG: Last year we made a statement saying we had booked the sun, so not to worry!  This was about June time when the weather was terrible.  As much I expect the weather to be good again this year, as we are in a bit of a heat wave, I don’t want to tempt fate, but it will be hot and sunny!

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You can read the rest of the interview in the upcoming issue of Zero Tolerance Magazine, available from all good newsagents from 1 August!

 

Bloodstock Open Air August 8th-11th.

Official Website

 

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