Ten Years of Bloodstock Open Air – Ten Favourite Memories

Bloodstock 2024 will be the tenth Bloodstock festival I have attended. Every Bloodstock since 2014, and to celebrate this fact, I’ve been writing a few articles about the festival, why I have been going to it every August for a decade, what it means to me, and much more. You can read a more in-depth retrospective here, as in this article I want to look back at the nine previous festivals and pick out some of my favourite memories from those festivals. Ten memories in fact, a number that seemed fitting.

Bloodstock 2014 – Turning 30 and A Surprise Attendance

At Bloodstock 2014, I turned 30 on the Friday of the festival. Back then, it was just my wife and I, and while that was great, everyone knows that the more, the merrier. So, imagine my surprise when on that Friday, during Evil Scarecrow’s set, my brother Brendan and his then fiancé, Gemma (now wife) showed up. It made a good day even better, and while they were only there for the day, it is my over-riding memory of that weekend.

Bloodstock 2015 – Sabaton Blow Me Away

I knew who Sabaton were, but hadn’t given them the time they deserved, nor had much interest in their ‘war-based’ antics. Over an hour as special guests on the Friday of the festival, they changed my mind about everything. It is still one of my favourite sets of Bloodstock to date and turned me into a full on fan from that point onwards. I don’t even think their headline show in 2019 topped it.

Bloodstock 2016 – Twisted Sister: One Time Only

The first time I saw Twisted Sister, and (in theory) the last time I saw Twisted Sister. As we all know, expect too much, and expect to be disappointed, but that was not the case here. I needed them to deliver, and they did, and then some. One of my favourite headline sets from all the Bloodstocks I’ve been too. I’ve still got a ‘Forty and Fuck It’ t-shirt floating around somewhere.


Bloodstock 2017 – The First Interview

GBHBL was finding its feet, but we were so far from being ready to enter the world of interviews and press at the festival. In fact, back then, the thought of ever doing something like that would have terrified me (it still does to some degree). While we did not apply for press, nor plan any interviews, a black metal band called The Infernal Sea reached out to us and we got talking, eventually arranging an interview. Ill equipped and with no confidence, we did this interview, and it sucked (to no fault of the band_. Even thinking about it, I get embarrassed and have never gone back to watch it.

So, why is it a favourite memory? Simply because it was the first interview GBHBL ever did at Bloodstock. Considering we’ve now done upwards of nearly 200 at the festival, I think it’s fair to say, we got better at it. I actually made sure that the next time I got to interview The Infernal Sea (which has happened happily), I would do them justice.

Bloodstock 2017 – The Bloodstock Crew Grows

The first year that Brendan and Gemma came for the full weekend, something they have done ever since. Bloodstock, like all festivals, is so much better when you can enjoy it with family and friends. I never thought I’d be stood in a field singing my heart out to Ghost alongside my brother. Although he probably has a different memory of the Saturday night headliner.

Bloodstock 2018 – The Year of the Up & Coming Bands

Democratus, Pelugion, Sertraline (now Waterlines), A Ritual Spirit, Seven Hells, Trivax, Cadence Noir, Kilonova, Aonia, Earthbound, Luna’s Call, Dead Before Mourning, Barbarian Hermit, Kamikaze Test Pilots, Callus, Damaged Reich, Alpha Omega, Dawn of Anubis, and True Believer. Look at those names, and many are still going strong (if not stronger) today. I’d flirted with the New Blood Stage and Jager stage in previous years, but this was the year when both those stages became the priority.

Bloodstock 2019 – The Next Generation

Who doesn’t dream of being able to bring their child with them to a festival, them love it, and become a regular part of the group going forward? Dream realised in 2019, and Bloodstock wouldn’t be the same without them there with me.

Bloodstock 2019 – We’re Interviewing Who!?

It’s an absolute pleasure to interview anyone at Bloodstock, and our focus has always been on the up-and-coming bands who not only need the coverage, but will struggle to get attention from the big players in the media. However, every so often we do get an opportunity or two to chat to some of the bigger bands, 2019 we hit a personal peak. Getting the chance to sit down with Sabaton for ten minutes. While, at this stage, interviewing didn’t scare me like it used to, I won’t deny I was pretty nervous about this one. A proud personal moment.

Bloodstock 2021 – The Best of British

Two years we had to wait to return to Catton Hall. Two years, and it wasn’t always assured that the 2021 edition would go ahead. It did though, and because of the world’s Covid restrictions, it meant Bloodstock had to look closer to home to book a lot of the festival, and they knocked it out of the park. Adding a full extra of music (excluding the main stage) and packing the line-up with quality, varied metal. For the line-up, and the fact that we got that extra day, this might be my favourite Bloodstock festival to date, even if I was exhausted by the end.

Bloodstock 2014 – Bloodstock ???? – Hello, you!

This one applies to all the Bloodstocks I have been too, the Bloodstock coming up, and the Bloodstocks in the future. It’s going to sound cheesy, but I mean it when I say one of my favourite memories are the people I’ve met. From saying hello to campsite neighbours, to meeting up with folks met online for the first time, to chatting to bands I’ve followed for years, to just having fun with complete strangers. Most of the time, it’s a once a year meet-up, but it sure feels like it matters each and every time. Bloodstock is great because of the bands, Bloodstock is great because of the organisation, Bloodstock is great because of its size, but what makes Bloodstock the best place to be every August, is the Bloodstock family.


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!