This year’s Bloodstock festival in Derbyshire attracted an audience of 15,000 metal fans with a lineup that included Slayer and Anthrax. The festival is a classic example of one that has grown ‘organically’, slowly evolving from being an indoor, inner city event, to one that now requires a full-time team of production staff. To cap it all, Bloodstock was this year awarded the accolade of Live UK’s Best Festival under 15,000, sponsored by WeGotTickets.
Producing the Event
When it comes to producing the event, director Adam Gregory says that the organic growth has been a major benefit, allowing them develop all of the necessary elements at a steady pace, without any major leaps in size from one year to the next.
“We were granted a new license this year which increased our capacity to 15,000”, said Adam. “Although this is a major sized crowd, it’s not too big a leap from the 12,000 we had last year. As a result, we’ve had to slightly adapt the arenas and expand certain areas, but we’ve not had to completely overhaul the site plan. We’ve witnessed some festivals make the mistake of trying to grow too quickly and not being able to cope with the infrastructure demands that a 50% or more increase can place on an event. As ticket demand has grown, we’ve been careful not to get too carried away.”
The nine-day production build was unaffected this year thanks to clear weather. However, the site itself, situated a few miles south of Burton-upon-Trent, doesn’t’ suffer too badly should it be hit with rain, as Adam explained.
“The site contains a lot of gravel below the surface. This means that even when we’ve had heavy rain, it drains very well and, although not ideal, certainly doesn’t cause us the issues that some sites experience.”
Every element required to stage the festival has to be brought in on a temporary basis. “The only thing we can guarantee will be there when we turn up is grass”, said Adam. The organisers increased the amount of trackway that they ordered this year, partly as a precaution based on the weather conditions in 2012, but also to improve the vehicular access to the site during the production build and breakdown. Access is improved by an onsite tarmacked road and two areas of hard standing near to the main stage.
As the festival has grown, so has the stature of the bands that perform. With this comes the need to raise the standards of the technical production.
“It’s a natural progression that we now require bigger stages, better audio and more sophisticated lighting”, said Adam. “Although all of these elements have had to develop, but we take pride in not making them too noticeable to the artists or the audience.”
Noise level restrictions, applied to the majority of open-air events, are part of the license conditions at Bloodstock. Like many events, the organisers work closely with their audio suppliers, local authority personnel, and noise consultants in order to stay within the stipulated limits.
Bloodstock has established an extremely loyal following of metal fans and with continued growth over the last few years, has established itself as the biggest metal festival in the UK.
“We’ve already agreed plans for the next three year’s in terms of how we would like to develop the festival”, said Adam. “We can’t reveal too much at the moment, but can say that the plans are very much built around the ‘organic’ growth strategy that has seen us get to the successful position that Bloodstock currently finds itself in.”