Opinion: In Defence of Parkway Drive As A Bloodstock 2019 Headliner

As Parkway Drive brought their triumphant headline show at London’s Alexandra Palace to a close, they made the announcement pretty much every person was expecting. They would be the third and final headliner of the best UK metal festival, Bloodstock.

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It was in no way a surprise as every sign and hint leading up to the announcement pointed in their direction. In the end, they seemed destined to play coming off the back of the very successful new album, Reverence and a short UK tour that saw them play to nearly 30,000 people in Manchester, Cardiff, Nottingham and London. The latter proving to be the biggest show of Parkway Drive’s career. You can read our review of the London show here.

Putting it simply they have become a behemoth in the metal scene and their rise isn’t undeserved in our opinion. Which brings us to this article and why we believe Parkway Drive are the right choice for a headline spot at Bloodstock 2019.

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We’re not alone in that though with many people agreeing that it was a smart decision. However, there are just as many who feel very strongly that Parkway Drive shouldn’t be headlining. Such is the internet.

We thought we’d look at a handful of the ‘reasons’ given as to why Parkway Drive shouldn’t headline and break them down.

1. They’re not big enough to headline.

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Let me repeat the number stated above…in four days Parkway Drive played to around about 30,000 people. Bloodstock is 4 days and has a capacity less than that number. Their new album has been a roaring success and they pulled in a massive crowd at Download 2018 while headlining the second stage.

For reasons that escape us, some people seem to think Bloodstock can compete on Download’s level and should be booking the likes of Tool etc. When has that ever been the case? In fact, most of Bloodstock headliners are often band’s that play on the undercard of Download or headline their second stage.

Don’t believe us? Look at this year alone. Rob Zombie has headlined Bloodstock in the past and was seen as a huge get. At Download 2019 he will be headlining the second stage on Friday. Slayer, a band that has headlined Bloodstock on multiple occasions and are to play their final ever UK date at Download are headlining the second stage. How many people were calling for Slayer to be the third headliner this year? A fair amount yet on their last ever UK show they aren’t even one of Download’s headliners.

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The point is most Bloodstock headliners are of a certain size, a Parkway Drive size. You only need to look through the past couple of line-ups to see that.

2. They’re not metal.

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Seriously, if this is your go to reason as to why Parkway shouldn’t headline then you’re not wanted at Bloodstock. What kind of absurd logic would have anyone think they don’t classify as a metal band? There are many different types and styles of metal. Slayer are different to Watain, Devildriver are different to Korpiklaani and so on but the thing they all have in common? They’re metal bands and so are Parkway Drive.

What’s the barometer of metal that the people who claim Parkway aren’t a metal band use? Is it heaviness? Well, that’s stupid because you only need to hear them to know that’s not true. In fact, they’re heavier than the other two headliners, Sabaton and The Scorpions.

Is it because they are or were considered a metalcore band? Again, that’s stupid seeing as the word ‘metal’ is actually in metalcore.

Maybe it is because they appeal to a younger demographic? Yeah because god forbid the younger generation find their way into metal be it through Parkway Drive or another band of that ilk. No-one got into metal by hearing Cannibal Corpse first, we all have our gateway bands.

They’re an emo band? No, seriously…we have seen these comments and it confuses the hell out of us. As far as we’re aware an ‘emo’ band is the likes of My Chemical Romance, Panic at The Disco, Fallout Boy etc. You’re not seriously comparing Parkway Drive to them, are you?

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3. They’re a Download band.

This one we understand to a degree as if you’d asked us what festival we’d expect to see Parkway Drive appear at we would probably point at Donnington. However, that does not mean they’re exempt from Bloodstock. We’ve had bands play both festivals time after time so these made up rules about who can play where are exactly that…made up.

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What puzzles us about this is many seemed fine last year with Combichrist, Fozzy, Mr Big and Wednesday 13 as well as previous years where we’ve had Rob Zombie, Ghost and Europe. All bands that you wouldn’t bat an eyelid at if they were on the Download bill yet they’ve also played Bloodstock with very little anger. Way less then what we’re seen thrown Parkway Drive’s direction.

As for those who think Bloodstock have betrayed their heavy roots, you need to go back and see line-ups from the early Bloodstock days. You might be surprised by what you find.

4. They will attract people who aren’t Bloodstock ‘material’.

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This one absolutely fucking sucks. Who are you to judge what is Bloodstock material? In any gathering of people, a certain percentage of people are going to be dickheads. Happily, it seems as though Bloodstock has quite a low percentage but this is nothing to do with the bands on stage. It’s because Bloodstock has a capacity way lower then the likes of Download, Reading and Leeds, Wacken, Hellfest etc.

This presumption that Parkway Drive are going to attract people who want nothing more then to kick off and fight anyone who looks at them is based off nothing. The person who wants to circle pit during Cannibal Corpse regardless of who is around him is just as bad as the person who fancies himself a karate champ during a hardcore punk band.

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How about the people who often come up in conversations about what could be improved at Bloodstock…the chair sitters?

Now let us preface this by saying we’re not having a go at you having a chair in the main arena. People gotta sit and it’s an exhausting weekend. We would be against a ban on chairs at the main stage however that doesn’t mean we don’t get frustrated by the walls of chairs we do get as groups line them up sometimes 8+ long. It’s not much fun trying to navigate around this in the dark and woe betide you should you knock one over or bump into one.

My point is, dicks come is all forms so stop presuming something is going to be the way you imagine it until you actually see it.

5. Bloodstock are jumping on the bandwagon.

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No shit. A band is super popular and Bloodstock, a business books them. It’s a festival/booker’s job to get what is hot right now as much to make sure they have a future. Do we all really want another Sonisphere? A festival that was effectively Download II? Look how that turned out.

6. They don’t deserve it.

This is the one that we find the most disappointing. What do they have to do for you to think they do? The announcement comes after an album that has been well-received in almost all areas of metal. A headline tour in the UK and Europe playing to some of their biggest crowds to date. What more do they need to do to warrant a headline slot at Bloodstock?

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Metal-heads really confuse us at times. On the one hand we bemoan the lack of new heavy-hitters who can take the metal world by storm. Then when we see a festival notorious with giving bands a leg-up in this country we get mad because it wasn’t what we wanted. We could hate Parkway Drive and still think this was a good idea as we need more bands to be successful.

Why do we hate success so much? Surely by now everyone is aware that to ‘make it’ in music nowadays is near impossible thanks to a lack of album sales. We will never have bands the size of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath etc again because they became huge when people had no choice but to buy their music to hear it.

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Those days are done and they’re never coming back so if we get a band making enough noise and impressing enough people that they are given a position to prove they belong, that they could be the next big thing we should support it.

We’re about to lose Slayer. Ozzy is next…who else is left if not these younger, hungrier bands?

7. They suck.

Fair enough. If your taste is such that you don’t like Parkway Drive, that’s cool. The idea of a festival is that it should have a diverse line-up that has something for everyone. If the line-up overall isn’t to your taste then you don’t go but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a moan. We disagree with the ‘if you don’t like it, don’t comment’ stance held by many. We like debate, we encourage debate and your opinion is just as valued as a person who loves Parkway Drive. However, it’s how you put that opinion into words.

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Don’t just headbutt a keyboard, start insulting people and making personal attacks. If you don’t like the band explain why you don’t and you’ll get a lot more understanding even if it’s people telling you that you’re wrong.

You have the right to criticise as much as anyone else but if all you’ve got to say is: “Parkway Drive are gay emos and all their fans are too. Bloodstock is just Download-lite now and should have booked Dying Fetus to headline instead”. Ain’t no-one giving a shit about what you’ve got to say.

This has been a long one but it really invoked some passion in us. We’ll see you in the field come August having a nice little head-bang to the likes of Bottom Feeder and Wishing Wells.




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