What does Bloodstock mean to Amon Amarth?

Amon Amarth

This weekend Amon Amarth will be making history by headlining a UK festival for the first time, and what better place for this monumental moment than at Bloodstock? Veterans of the Catton Park metalfest, the Viking heavyweights will be topping the bill on Friday, flanked by Blind Guardian and Kreator earlier in the day – it really doesn’t get much more metal than that!

But how is Amon Amarth’s fearless leader Johan Hegg feeling about their biggest UK headline show of all time? We gave him a call to find out.

What does Bloodstock mean to you?

“It’s a festival that we’ve played a couple of times and this year is the first time we’ve headlined, but it’s a really really good, genuine metal festival. It’s one of those festivals that I would probably enjoy going to; it’s only metal, and I really like that. It’s always good fun to play there, the crowd is always amazing. Even though the weather sometimes leaves a lot to be desired, it’s always a good atmosphere.”

What is it about Amon Amarth that connects so well with the Bloodstock crowd?

“Ha ha, I don’t know. We’ve always had a good crowd there, and it’s the birthplace of Epic Viking Rowing. That’s become a thing now, which is absolutely insane. I guess the Bloodstock crowd, as much as ourselves, just want to have a good time and party a bit ha ha!”

What did you think the first time you saw Epic Viking Rowing?

“I didn’t really see it at Bloodstock the first time because people were sitting in a line doing the rowing, but the first time I saw it happening on a massive scale it was insane. Hundreds of people just sat down and started rowing! It’s such a fun experience, it means a lot when people do it because it shows that people are having a good time and they like our stuff.”

How does it feel to be headlining your first UK festival?

“It feels great! We always wanted to get to the point in the UK where we could play bigger shows with big production, and now we’re finally there and have that capability. We worked really hard for it, so it feels really rewarding to be able to do so. Even though the fanbase has grown rapidly in the past couple of years, we’ve always had a good time in the UK and the fans have always been very supportive and amazing. We knew it was just a matter of time for us, but we also knew we had to put in the hard work.”

Was getting big in the UK always a plan for Amon Amarth?

“I don’t think that we focussed on any territory, we just wanted to go out and play in the beginning. But once you start growing, you want to be able to go everywhere and do the same thing. A couple of years ago we said we can play London now, which is fine, but we wanted to go further into the UK and make the effort to play more UK shows in smaller cities and really reach out to new fans. We did that and were very successful in doing show. It’s been a really good couple of years for us in the UK.”

Have you got any special production lined up for Bloodstock?

“We’ve got a couple of surprises up our sleeves, but I won’t give anything away. We have some ideas of what we want to do. It’s going to be a fun show.”

Who do you recommend people should check out at Bloodstock?

“Ghost are playing, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell people go see them. I’m not a super-duper fan, but I enjoy their stuff and I think that they’re bringing pretty interesting production. It’s going to be a good show.”

It’s quite a theatrical weekend with you headlining the Friday and Ghost headlining the Saturday!

“I think it will be and that’s what I like – I like bands that pull out untraditional production instead of just LCD screens and all that stuff.”

Bloodstock takes place at Catton Park, Derbyshire, on August 11-13, with Amon Amarth headlining the Friday. Weekend tickets are now sold out but day tickets are available.

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Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.