bloodstock open air 2023 preview: headliners and sub headliners for the ronnie james dio and the sophie lancaster stages

Friday 11th August

Killswitch Engage – The American Metalcore heavyweights will have the task of closing out the Friday of Bloodstock and I’m sure that they will well and truly relish it and close it out in style. Jesse Leach will help lead the band headfirst into the UK’s biggest independent metal festival and antagonise and encourage the BOA massive with their trademark muscular swagger and calculated violent presence. Strap yourselves in for this headline set, it is surely one that will undoubtedly go down in history.

In Flames – Sub Headlining the BOA Main stage on the Friday is a band that surely need no introduction, the legends, the masters of Melodic Death Metal and one of the pioneers of the Gothenburg Sound, the mighty In Flames. Riding high on the back of ‘Foregone’, they are certain to beat and pound us with their unique blend of melody and brutality, a spectacle not to be missed.

Saturday 12th August

Meshuggah – Another slice of Swedish Extreme Metal, this time courtesy of the titans Meshuggah. Some would argue that this is a slot which is long overdue and with Meshuggah being famed for their live shows, this is a Headline performance which will deliver like a freight train at full speed. A perfect way to close out proceedings on the Saturday.

Triptykon performing Celtic Frost – What do you get when two giants collide? This exact Sub Headlining prospect, that’s what. The icon that is Tom Gabriel Warrior will lead his Triptykon troop headfirst into the Celtic Frost back catalogue and serve them up to the BOA faithful. This is a classic, tantalising vision and another that will go down in history and one certainly not to be missed.

Megadeth, Special Mini Acoustic Performance with VIP Q&A Experience – Admittedly not a Saturday headliner or sub headliner on paper, but how could we miss this event out of the preview. This will include a special mini acoustic performance by Megadeth and then a Q&A Session with the band. A real chance to get up close and personal with the Thrash overlords, do not let this slip through your grasp. The very special gathering will take place at 18.15 and a very limited number of tickets are available at

Sunday 13th August

Megadeth – After warming up on the Saturday, Dave et al will return to the hallowed grounds of Catton Hall and close out the Ronnie James Dio Stage and certainly close it out in style. The Thrash legends are sure to bring a whole host of Thrash anthems with them alongside some of the anthems in waiting of their latest opus, ‘The Sick, The Dying … And The Dead’. Get those neck muscles warmed up, the hour to bang those heads will be upon us.

Helloween – A band who embrace and epitomise the genre which BOA was born around, true advocates of the Power Metal movement and a band which is at the forefront of anyone’s minds when the genre comes into conversation. The German powerhouse, Helloween, will return to BOA and deliver their power psalms with the precision and dedication we all know and love them for. Expect plenty of pumpkins when these genre defining Germans roll into town.

The Sophie Lancaster Stage Headliners and Sub Headliners

Thursday 10th August

Skynd – The Industrial Rock phenomenon duo consisting of lead singer Skynd and the multi-instrumentalist simply known as Father will close out the proceedings of the Sophie Lancaster stage on the Thursday. Strap yourselves in, this will be one hell of a set and one to leave an impression scarred on you for many a year to come.

Visions of Atlantis – The Thursday will have some enigmatic Symphonic Metal served up courtesy of the Austrians Visions Of Atlantis and these will pummel the Sophie Lancaster tent into submission by way of grandiose vocals and muscular and an intricate beefy backbone. 

Friday 11th August

Candlemass – Epic, Swedish Doom, what more can be said about these legends. Crunching, powerful, foreboding and battering. Get yourself into the tent to witness a lesson in how to deliver heavy music and deliver it with perfection.

Bossk – Post Metal, Stoner Rock, Sludge Metal, it is so hard to define these British bruisers, all you need to know is that they deliver with an appealing attitude which is endearing as much as it is forceful. Be warned, you may need to retreat from the tent after this set in order to just grab yourself a little respite and reset yourself from the beating you will have just endured.

Gaerea – Ok, Ok, Ok, I know that this now makes three for the Friday rather than just the top two but how could I leave out Gaerea. Misanthropic, haunting, brutal and punishing Black Metal at its best. Hopefully we will get to witness some tracks of last year’s epic ‘Mirage’ alongside some of the more classic Gaerea tunes. Uncompromising Black Metal of the highest order.

Saturday 12th August

Brothers Of Metal – A cacophony of members will entertain you when the Brothers Of Metal grace the Sophie Lancaster Stage as Saturday’s Headliners. A triple whammy of vocalists and a triple whammy of guitars are bolstered by the bass and drum kit to create an awe-inspiring production of Swedish Heavy Metal. The bands life may not have had the longevity some of their BOA comrades have clocked up, but this does not detract from the elaborate and imposing tracks they carve open and deliver to you. This is an ensemble of ‘mighty warriors of Valhalla chosen by Odin allfather’. Prepare to be dazzled.

Trollfest – Norwegian Folk Metal, delivered in the most maniacal of ways, measured chaos will be the order of the day when the trolls invade Catton Hall. The award for the most chaotic set may well be scooped up by these Scandinavians but rest assured that, wherever you sit on the fence in regard to the enigmatic spectacle, you will not be disappointed if you are ready to party.

Sunday 13th August  

Biohazard – The New York City Hardcore behemoths are back together and are allowing us the pleasure to be able to welcome them back to the UK when they headline the Sophie Lancaster stage at BOA 2023. Billy, Evan and the rest of the Hardcore legends will hopefully bring some of the classics with them and demonstrate just why they are true god fathers of the Hardcore scene. Time to get those circle pits flowing, this set has the ability to go down as legendary.

Zeal & Ardor – After they were moved from the Sophie headlining slot on the Saturday due to logistical issues, Zeal & Ardor now occupy the Sub Headliner on the Sunday although they manage to keep their full 75 minute performance with full production and its one that again will potentially go down in the history books, do not miss this Avant Garde marvel. Its certain, without any shred of doubt, going to be special beyond belief.

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