As Bloodstock looms on the horizon – the horizon being August 6-9 – we asked festival director Vicky Hungerford to pick out her five pivotal moments from the past decade…
THAT TIME WHEN OPETH PAID TRIBUTE TO DIO
Vicky: “In 2010, we were due to have Heaven And Hell play, but unfortunately Ronnie James Dio passed away. We then asked Opeth to headline, and they opened with a couple of covers in tribute to Dio – and it was quite a spine tingling moment. It was incredibly bitter sweet because it was an incredible performance but it was because of a horrific incident. The band did Dio huge justice, and that’s something that nobody will see again. The footage is on YouTube, but you can’t imagine what it was like unless you were there.
"That was that year that we decided to rename the main stage the Ronnie James Dio Stage. Paul, my father, was a close friend of Dio’s and he did album artwork for him, so it seemed fitting. And for the rest of time, that stage will remain the Ronnie James Dio stage.”
THAT TIME BIOHAZARD HAD A FEW MATES JOIN THEM ON STAGE
“The Biohazard performance of 2014 has to be one too, where they just decided to bring up the crowd on stage with them with no permission whatsoever. Our security gave up after a while. They must’ve brought up about 150 people, and I’ve never seen so much fun to be had by both the band and the fans. We’ve never had a band invite that many people on stage before, and we wouldn’t normally promote them to do that either – I just want to add that in there – but it was a nice thing to do and it worked well. Biohazard handled it very well, and the fans that were on stage were just having fun.
"How many fans can say they were on stage with a band for their entire set? And how many festivals would’ve allowed it without kicking them all off? Not many! I had a message from the band the following week to say it was one of the best festivals they’d ever played because they had so much fun and thought that the fact they could bring people on stage with them was amazing.”
THAT TIME SLAYER UNVEILED A MASSIVE TRIBUTE TO JEFF HANNEMAN
“The Slayer performance of 2013 was another magical moment. They brought a backdrop for Jeff Hanneman with them, and we didn’t know anything about it until they turned up to play. Bloodstock was the first show since the passing of Jeff, and the banner was as much of a surprise to us as it was to the fans. When the backdrop went down about two or three songs into their set, the cheers were deafening and the atmosphere completely changed.
"It was really emotional, and you could tell it was a huge deal for the band. People had their lighters out for the songs, and it was a really beautiful sight to see. We’ve had thousands of great performances over the years and I could sit here and reel off pretty much every band that’s played the Ronnie James Dio Stage and the Sophie Lancaster Stage, but moments like that are truly one-off.”
THAT TIME DAVE MUSTAINE JOINED SAXON
“I think we should mention Saxon because Biff is very close with the family, and my father Paul in particular. He’s done about 20 album covers for them. And Saxon headlined the first ever Bloodstock back in 2001. When they played last year, Dave Mustaine came out and joined them for a couple of songs.
"I knew nothing about it until literally about an hour before Saxon went on. You’ve never seen so many gobsmacked people either. Megadeth were obviously headlining that night, but nobody was expecting Mustaine to come out mid-afternoon and do something with Saxon, and it was absolutely brilliant.”
THAT TIME EVIL SCARECROW GOT A FIELD OF METAL FANS TO DANCE LIKE ROBOTS
“I have to give a shout out to the Evil Scarecrow guys as well. They’re a Bloodstock unsigned band that we put on the main stage in 2014 at 11 in the morning. We were really unsure how it was going to pan out, but for the record that was the biggest attendance any opening act has ever had. No other band can say that, signed or unsigned, and to see 10,000 people at 11 in the morning doing Robotron was hilarious. And the fact that so many people knew it was fantastic. They were blown away!
"They made all their props at home too. You have all these bands that spend thousands on staging and lighting, but they made everything themselves. Honestly, I could book them every single year just because they’re so much fun. And it’s been nice to see them go through the ranks. They’re now signed and they’ve got an agent, they’re getting loads of press coverage and they’re doing really well for themselves. It’s like having your babies grow up!“
For tickets and more information on Bloodstock Festival, visit their official site.