LONDON   -  The Bloodstock festival came head-banging back to the tranquil Derbyshire village of Walton-on-Trent this week. The heavy metal extravaganza - back for its 20th edition - was, like so many events, forced to move online due to the pandemic. But with Covid restrictions having been lifted, metal fans of all ages could enjoy the return of live music. The event began on Wednesday and ends on Sunday, with Devin Townsend, Kreator and Judas Priest all headlining. Festival director Vicky Hungerford said: “Fans are happy and overwhelmed. We’ve had a lot of tears and screaming. People are over the moon to be back ‘home’ at Bloodstock.” The festival has not run for nearly two years, and Vicky says its return had been “a very emotional time for both bands and fans”. “This one has maybe been the most rewarding as it’s been a real triumph in the face of adversity. “Goalposts were moving all the time, but we managed to make it work and here we are on festival weekend.” The organiser added: “It’s really fabulous to have Judas Priest headlining on Sunday to celebrate their 50th year and also Saxon playing who are celebrating their 40th year.

“Saxon were Bloodstock’s first-ever headliner back in 2001, so that makes it extra special.” And for metal fans who haven’t been able to get to Bloodstock this year, the festival will return in 2022 with US outfit Lamb Of God headlining. Frontman Randy Blythe said: “It’s been way too long since we’ve rocked the festivals of Merry Olde - what better way to announce our return than a headliner slot at Bloodstock.

“Until then, pack your wellies and stay safe, England. Lamb Of God will see you summer 2022.”