Bloodstock open air festival 2018 – Thursday

Arriving at Bloodstock feels like coming home. I’ve been coming here for years (this is my tenth Bloodstock), and while the bands are the advertised attraction, it’s also about meeting up with friends that you havent seen for a while (often since the last Bloodstock). Even before the bands start, I’ve already bumped into a load of people I know and had plenty of chats. A walk around the arena shows the main things are in their usual places and it’s only minor changes to improve things that are different. The bar is doing a brisk trade and there are plenty of food stalls open serving a good range of stuff. It was good to see there were no traffic problems as we approached the site – getting 17,000 people to a site in the countryside and keeping the roads clear isn’t easy but the organisers have managed it and apparently opened the car park and camp sites early to avoid people queuing on the road for a few hours till the official opening time.

Hundred year old man were first up on the Sophie stage. I’ve got to be honest, it’s not my thing musically – the droning doom that they play, but it’s clear to see that they’re damn good at what they do, and most importantly there are lots of people in the crowd who are really enjoying it. Even though it’s not to my taste, it’s great to see a talented band that has a different sort of sound on the bill – festivals need plenty of variety. If Doom is your thing, this is a band worth checking out.

Fire red empress are next up. These early slots are tough – many fans are still setting up camp and those who are in the arena are either checking out the layout, or are busy chatting to friends and knocking back the beers. Despite that, Fire red empress put in a good heavy hard rock set, and singer Jennifer Diehl does a good job of trying to get the audience involved as she impresses with her powerful vocals.

Skiltron were the find of the night for me. Officially they’re from Argentina, although at least one member is British – that Newcastle accent is unmistakable. Power metal or folk metal – or somewhere in between, whatever you want to call it, the main thing is that it’s top quality music and they really go down well. Definitely a band worth checking out if you get the chance.

Bloodshot dawn came next. I think it’s the third time I’ve seen them here over the years and they don’t disappoint. It’s loud, it’s heavy, and it’s just what the crowd wanted.


Russian band Arkona are headlining tonight and they’re a great choice – their music is folk metal with a distinctively Russian/Slavic influence, so they stand out from most bands as having something a little difference. The set starts with singer Masha in costume playing a drum attached to her mic stand before things really get underway fully and she launches into her powerful vocals. She’s very active at the front of the stage while the rest of the band stay a bit more stationary further back. It’s a great end to the night.

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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.