Bloodstock Open Air has grown in stature at a phenomenal rate since it’s inception in 2005. In under a decade the festival has moved from an indoor venue at Derby Assembly Rooms to attracting the cream of modern metal as well as scene legends, and giving a stage to upcoming talent.

In recent years it has played host to an eclectic mix of acts spanning metal’s myriad sub-genres from classic rock to extreme metal and all stations in between: Alice Cooper, Morbid Angel, Nightwish, Europe and Devin Townsend Project to name a few. BOA 2013 takes place from 8th to 11th August and promises the best bill yet. The following are some of the highlights as I see them.

On the Ronnie James Dio stage the headline triptych of King Diamond, Lamb Of God and Slayer spans three decades of seminal bands. The very mention of the King should raise the hairs on the back of the neck. From Mercyful Fate through his solo career he has consistently delivered archetypal and influential heavy music. The opportunity to see his theatrical spectacle in the UK is a rare and mouth-watering one.

Thrash fans are well catered for with the mighty Anthrax and Exodus on Sunday as well as Xentrix and Death Angel. On the proggier side of the fence Avantasia, Amorphis and a reinvigorated Voïvod are all tantalising prospects. For those who don’t take their metal too seriously and fancy a bit of audience participation, the sublime silliness of Evil Scarecrow is not to be missed.

In addition bands as diverse as Accept, Municipal Waste, Gojira, Sabaton, Wolfsbane, Scar Symmetry, Dying Fetus ensure there is something for everyone across the four stages.

Slayer closing out the weekend in a year which saw the loss of their fallen brother will give thousands the chance to say a cathartic farewell and raise a beer in celebration of Jeff Hanneman’s music and metal in general.

See you there!

Bloodstock Open Air – Official Website