The U.K’s Bloodstock Festival has announced Ghost (A.K.A Ghost B.C) as the third and final headliners for this year’s annual metal bonanza. They will top Saturday’s bill on the Ronnie James Dio Stage, joining Friday’s Amon Amarth and Sunday’s Megadeth as the festivals line-up toppers. This announcement leaves us with the three confirmed headliners, and needless to say the news has caused a bit of a stir.
The Swedish operatic metal band has been on the radar in mainstream metal for some time, having seen their career trajectory’s rise immensely in the last two years. Following 2015’s critically acclaimed album Meliora and a Grammy award for ‘Best Metal Performance’ last year, the band have gone from strength to strength. But are they a suitable or strong enough choice to headline the U.K’s largest annual outdoor heavy metal festival? And headline a day at the long-revered grounds of Catton Park’s Bloodstock Open Air?
Responses online have, unsurprisingly, been a mixed bag, ranging from complete outrage: “I am raging, I just don’t get it, they are the lamest thing I’ve ever seen, are we missing something here?!”, to ecstatic praise of the festivals bookers: “OMG this is perfect best headliners EVAAAAA!!!”, to total indifference: “every night is beer night anyway!”. As well as the usual regret over lost potential headliners: “Would rather have had Emperor”. But this of course is nothing new for a headliner announcement. What is interesting about this one however is the perception among some ticket holders that this forms some kind of assault upon the Festivals well-respected integrity: “Bloodstock’s reputation in tatters!”. There is the feeling among some that due to Ghost’s “un-metalness” that they are incompatible with the festivals traditional heavy metal aesthetic.
Others conversely have argued that this outlook is elitist and old fashioned. However no matter which side of the argument you fall on, it is undeniable that Ghost represent the most diverse and unique band of the three headliners. They may have been accused of being ‘gimmicky’, but love or hate them they do inject what is probably a much needed dose of the element of risk, only time will tell whether this will pay off.
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