A few months ago a friend suggested we go to Bloodstock, in a moment of “what the hell” I bought a ticket. A few years ago this would have been completely normal for me, I went to festivals all the time. But at the time of buying the ticket, I couldn’t even manage to walk down the road and get on a bus on my own. Needless to say I had some serious buyers remorse and “what the hell have I done?” moments on the run up to the festival.
It’s easy to sit and say “you can do it” and “everything will be OK”, but the reality of living with mental illness is we don’t know that for sure. I did a lot of work before the festival to prepare mentally and physically but the fact was I had no idea if I was going to be able to cope with what was involved with being at a festival at all. To top it off I was only 3 weeks into starting Lithium when we left and suffering some pretty unpleasant side effects. Wonderful!
When we arrived my fears started to be put to rest almost immediately, the site was really well laid out and far smaller than I was used to having been to far bigger festivals in the past. People were really friendly, far more so than I had experienced in the past and the campsite wasn’t as cramped as I was used to. All positives.
On the Friday, the first main day of music, we really got into looking around the arena, which was drenched in sun, and the free water points meant everyone could stay hydrated!
Bloodstock being a smaller festival is far more intimate, the main stage is easy to get a view of from wherever you stand meaning even shorties like me can see even from the back! Even smaller and lesser known bands draw a crowd here showing that the people who come to this festival are true music lovers and this is something that tugs at my heart strings.
Evil Scarecrow draw a huge crowd for a band playing early in the day, this is the first time I’ve seen them live and with their little dances and crazy stage antics it’s little wonder why. They are balancing somewhere between hilarious and genius.
My reason for coming to the festival though were Twisted Sister and they headline on Friday. I was introduced to this band as a child in the 1980’s, one of my first introductions to metal, the opportunity to see them play their last ever UK show was the reason I took this leap of faith. This show was everything I had hoped it would be and more. They put their hearts and souls into the show and the crowd were completely behind them all of the way. Goodbye Twisted Sister it’s been a pleasure.
Saturday came with one of my favourite bands playing, Rotting Christ. Hailing from Greece I discovered them while I lived there and became hooked. They had an early afternoon set but didn’t let that stop them, they tore the stage up and ripped the crowd apart. Their set was outstanding and flawless and certainly deserving of a higher billing in future.
Gojira were in my opinion deserving of a headlining spot. They were supporting Mastodon but they were superb and their set was exceptional.
Sunday was a day full of bands I could write about but one I was really pleased to see was Pythia, they played the Sophie stage. I’ve been listening to them for a while and it was a pleasure to see them play live at last. They are a skilled band with a talented singer in Sophie Dorman. Considering they collided with Anthrax they pulled in a decent size crowd.
Finally, Slayer! They played a mix of new and old tracks and, well, slayed it! I don’t think I’ve head-banged that hard in several years, I didn’t think at my age I still had it in me! Appears I was wrong!
Overall, I overcame my anxiety with music again. I get questioned quite a lot about how metal and going to gigs (and I guess now festivals) calms my anxiety and helps my mental health. I don’t know how it works or why, but it does and while it does I’m going to keep medicating with metal. And I will definitely be doing Bloodstock again!