Interview: Adam Gregory (Bloodstock Festival Organiser)

By Mike Scott

With the lineup of this year’s Bloodstock Open Air looking stronger and stronger (although, as long as Slayer are playing, what more convincing do you need anyway?), Mike threw some questions over to one of the hard working festival organisers, Adam Gregory, about what goes on in providing us with the 3 day event…

Hi there Adam. Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. Can you just give the PT readers a brief intro to yourself and your role working for Bloodstock?

Hey there! I’m Adam Gregory and I’m one of the directors of Bloodstock Open Air. I look after all the sponsorship/brand engagements, as well as some artist bookings for the Sophie Lancaster stage (our 2nd stage) and some main arena activity. I also generally support Rachael Greenfield (one of the other directors) with infrastructure support (that’s basically posh talk for helping with the practical planning bits). Not always the most exciting part of the job, but certainly a crucial one. The role is rewarding in its own right, but very much a balancing act, as we need to ensure any brand partnerships are fitting with the event.

It is quite the lineup this year. How does it rank for you in terms of lineups for previous years? Were there any bookings for this year that really made your team happy to have secured?

It’s a tough question, as every band who plays isn’t chosen by accident. The booking process is a tough one and Vicky and Simon (who book the main stage and Sophie stage) do have a tough job. We try and offer a balance when firming up the bill each year, and whether it’s down to studio time or touring schedules getting in the way, we can’t always get the exact mix we would like. Generally this year, we’ve been quite lucky and the overall line-up has worked out pretty nicely. When we talk about acts we were chuffed to get, that really comes down to personal choice; I’m really stoked to see Rotting Christ again, and Slayer (their new stuff is awesome)! There are so many amazing bands on this year, we’re honoured that they’re all playing!

What are you offering long-term Bloodstock visitors that is new this year? Several metal festivals have been accused of booking the same lineup each year – it seems like Bloodstock try not to do that…(although I’d be happy with Slayer every year…)

We try to bring a little something extra each year and 2016 will be no different. We have a couple of cool new additions this year but obviously love the idea of the fans discovering what’s changed each year themselves. Booking bands is always difficult, as you can’t give everyone exactly what they want, all the time. We listen to who’s been requested and do our best to offer an overall lineup that ticks as many boxes as possible. It’s not just about the biggest bands out there, it’s more about offering complete quality from start through to the finish. Vicky and Simon who secure the bands for us, have a real tough job ensuring all 4 stages bring the best available acts each year and sometimes you may get the occasional repeat. That doesn’t happen unless there’s a real appetite for the band concerned and it works for the overall festival feel. Bloodstock itself sits at a place in the market where we have a deeper pool to choose from at the top end of the bill, but it’s not exhaustive and we will get repeats sometimes. But is that a bad thing when it’s a really great band?

Bloodstock has always seemed to have given underground UK bands a go of things on the smaller stages. Have you got any personal favourites from the list of newer and less well known bands you’ve booked for this year’s festival?

Paul (the festival’s founder) had a vision to give new emerging talent an opportunity, which had always been surrounded in controversy with pay to play type shows being the only route to bigger things. His vision was to give ALL bands an equal opportunity and to bring accessibility to the forefront, so the ‘Metal 2 The Masses’ scheme was born. Simon Hall picked up the mantle a number of years ago and vividly shared Paul’s vision. He has spearheaded the growth of the scheme across the UK and now into Europe. The shows are extremely well attended and the bands taking part are embracing the opportunity. Bloodstock doesn’t charge the bands and we invest heavily alongside the regional promoters to bring something tangible and beneficial to the industry. We’ve seen some fantastic acts come through the programme over the years and each year they just get better and better. To be honest, one of my favourites initially had been Evil Scarecrow, who are back on the main stage this year. They’re just nuts and just go out and enjoy themselves; something I believe all bands should do! Have fun doing the greatest job in the world!

Lastly, can you tell our readers briefly about any of the seemingly unending pre-festival events you guys are involved in that will be of interest to them?

There’s a ton of Bloodstock club nights at rock clubs all over the country from May through to August, where you can win festival tickets and various giveaways, in association with EMP, so there’ll be all kinds of stuff to win. We’ve also got the aforementioned ‘Metal 2 the Masses’ events all over the UK with ongoing heats happening in the coming weeks & the finals kicking off from in early May. Everyone should get out and check the bands out. The quality across the board is exceptional and I honestly believe you’ll probably discover a great band along the way. Let’s get back to grass roots, hit these shows up as we head into festival season and support the genre. Today’s unsigned bands could be the big stars of tomorrow, and how cool will it be to say “I was there before they were discovered”. If you need a reminder of where the M2TM shows or the various club nights are taking place, simply check out the news page on Bloodstock’s website, and while you’re there, pick up your tickets for the biggest metal party of the year! See you in a field in August!

Try these three interviews

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