This is going to be a story about a tradition about as old as distorted guitars and giving the finger to The Man. This is the story of how I went to Bloodstock, second time, and did it VIP style.
For those unaware of what Bloodstock is — it's a music festival. In some ways it's nothing special. In others it's absolutely different. Every year thousands of metalheads travel to an empty field in the middle of nowhere (sorry midlanders) to just cut loose. Noise constraints don't exist. Drinking before 11 am is not really frowned upon, should you choose to have ale for breakfast. Wanna walk around in corpse paint all day? Go ahead. Wanna walk around in a mankini all day? Go for it.
very important people aka we paid more
I've written before about how and why I've drifted toward the quality end of things. Effectively, I simply paid twice as much for the tickets. Following the previous post, though, I got questions about whether it's really worth it and what the actual bonuses are, so I decided I'd write about Bloodstock's VIP treatment.
enter with style
Unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture of this one, but if you've ever been to a festival you'll be familiar with this one — entry queues. Everyone's bags have to be thoroughly checked, everyone needs to exchange their tickets for wristbands. When "everyone" is about 15,000 people, that makes for some massive queues.
Except if you're in VIP. Then you only have about 20 people in the queue for the wristbands and then you just stroll over into the campsite and pitch your tent.
portaloos are not metal
Yes, I'm sure you've all seen the ridiculous death metal track and album names. It's all good fun. That does not mean metalheads like to crap in a plastic bucket with epic splashback whilst breathing in whatever managed to evaporate from said plastic bucket before you entered the booth. Portaloos are absolutely no fun when it's 30º C outside. If Hell exists, it's either this or spending all eternity in Bruges.
The VIP treatment gets you decent, clean loos and a separate block of showers just for the VIP campsite.
Honestly, I'd probably pay the price just for this one alone. Portaloos and no showers are about 80% of the misery in festivals. Not having to hold your breath while taking a dump is worth that much, and a shower in the morning after sleeping in a tent on a hot summar night definitely refreshes you enough to get you to the coffee stand.
variety is the spice of booze
Another thing you get from the VIP package is a separate bar and seating area.
The main arena serves Hobgoblin. Your choice is between dark or light. The VIP bar serves about 100 different ales and ciders, including Bloodstock's own Beast of Bloodstock. Granted, the end result of 8 pints is about the same, but it's about the journey in this case.
shamelessly skipping the queue
If you're into that sort of thing, VIP gets you priority access to the signing tent for anyone but the headliners. Needless to say, the queues are mental for regular ticket holders. The VIP ones not so much.
rinse & repeat
We had an absolute blast this year. The 4 days you spend there feel like much more than that. You make new friends, you get to see and hear your favourite bands, and all that while sipping some quality brew.
Vicky and the team do an incredible job every year, e.g., this year they managed to get Twisted Sister to do their last ever UK show at Bloodstock. I've generally made it a point to see all the founders of metal before they die. I managed to see Lemmy and many others. Now I can proudly say I've also seen Twisted Sister, and it was absolutely awesome.
It's become a yearly tradition by now, and I'm absolutely going back next year.
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