After a week tergiversating on how I should write this post about these 3 days spent
in hell in paradise, I’m having a go, here’s my report of the 10th anniversary of the Hellfest !
It was my second year on a row going, and probably not my last, this year was by far the best edition I’ve had the chance to witness, and one of the best festivals I have ever been to, which sets the Hellfest at the top of my list of the best European festivals… The atmosphere, the people, the beer, the music… life should be a constant Hellfest… but since it’s not, let’s dive back into these 3 days with nostalgia !
On the 19th of June, I arrived with my group of friends, Nunien and my dad (it was his father’s day’s gift) for my first day at the Hellfest, 30°C in the shade, and a camera as heavy as a baby around my neck. Because I couldn’t really get close enough to the stage, I wasn’t able to take good pictures of the artists, so I rapidly decided that I wouldn’t bring my camera for the next day, and that I would only illustrate the 3 days with pictures taken during the first one !
This year, in addition to the Mad Max-ish metal decoration, they had added wooden decoration on the theme of old school tattoos, it made me want to get tattooed again obviously, and it gave a really cool appearance to the Main Stages, which you will be able to see in the next pictures !
As usual, the sponsors and various brands were present at Hell City, I came home with a t-shirt and a Marshall tote bag (thanks Nunien) as well as a Dr Martens goodie bag. The brand had several workshops all along the weekend… to customise Doc’s, a barber shop, etc… and spending that much time there made me want to buy another pair from the brand, which I did this week !
Once inside the festival, what does it look like ? You get to the stages through the cathedral that keeps expending every year (they’re going to end up building a real one) !
And here we are, the Hellfest \o/
Inside, the sceneries are just as cool, and as a bonus, the skate park that used to be inside the VIP area is now accessible to everyone, it’s inside a cage that looks like a WWE tournament !
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Shall we move on the to music report ? Friday was a fairly busy day, here’s what we saw in order of appearance !
– Billy Idol : Quite fun to see, Billy Idol still has a ton of energy and hearing his hits live put us right into the mood for this first day.
– Motörhead : At first I was surprised to see that they were going on stage this early… then I got it. Lemmy is really not in tip-top shape, the concert was kind of slow, the sound fairly bad because we could barely hear Lemmy singing, but yeah, we saw Motörhead live, and I sung Overkill at the top of my lungs, I think it was now or never.
– Alice Cooper : This one, on the other hand, did not age, Alice Cooper gave it all on the stage, singing hits non-stop, and with stageplay ! We couldn’t stay during the whole thing because Mastodon’s concert was about to start !
– Mastodon : My disappointment of the day, I discovered Mastodon two years ago, and I was waiting impatiently for their concert, but the sound wasn’t that great (we were at the back of the “Valley” stage, so maybe that had to do with it).
– Judas Priest : I only knew them by name, but I was surprised to actually know some of their songs, the live was really good and we can only notice the fact that they managed to keep the crowd during an hour and a half without being bored, while personally, all I wanted was to see Slipknot on the Main Stage 2 !
-Slipknot : Awesome. Corey Taylor. The percussions. The masks. The atmosphere. That fucking sound. I’ve been listening to Slipknot since I was 15, and I was looking forward to see them live, but it was beyond what I expected, now I’m dying to see them again, and I’m going to keep an eye on their next tours ! I put Slipknot at the 2nd rank of my best festival moment (you’ll see that the first one is pretty surprising) !
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Saturday was just as busy, but it was so hot we spent part of the day in the muscadet forest to stay cool (while eating ice cream) ! And I don’t regret it, eating lemon sorbet in the shade was the best decision of that day.
Saturday’s program :
– Rise of the North Star : Our friend Didier had told us to have a look at their show at the Warzone (the more punk stage of the Hellfest) and even if we arrived late because the entrance of the festival was extremely crowded, we managed to see half an hour of their concert and it’s awesome ! They are a French hardcore punk band and they really managed to have the whole pit moving !
– Airbourne, L7, Slash, Killing Joe : I won’t be able to say much about them since we were in the forest at that time, but I had a look at Slash & Miles Kennedy’s concert (because Slash) but just like in November when I had seen them at the MTV World Stage in Glasgow, I didn’t really enjoy it, Slash is cool, but I really can’t stand Miles Kennedy’s voice !
– ZZ Top : It is awesome to see grandpas turning on the power like that, they still have a ton of energy and their hits work perfectly with the crowd !
– Faith no more : I thought I didn’t know them, but in the end some of their songs sounded familiar, their concert was really good, and the stage was absolutely beautiful, white with bunch of flowers ! And if you don’t know Faith no more, they made a nice cover of All my life from the Foo Fighters at the Rock Wretcher festival last week, you can watch it here !
– Scorpions : What a show ! The band really blew us away (and hurt our eyes with they extremely tacky decor) ! Everyone was singing Still loving you and crying on The wind of change… a beautiful moment that goes into my top 3 of the festival !
And then came an awesome firework for the 10th anniversary of the festival, the most beautiful firework I’ve ever seen, and on top of that there was Bohemian Rhapsody on the background, which kind of made me shed a tear when I heard everyone singing while the firework was exploding everywhere.
– Marilyn Manson : Here we are, our day was supposed to end on one of the things I had been waiting for since they announced MM at the Hellfest… but I feel really mixed about it. On the one hand, it was awesome to see Marilyn Manson live, because he still has his voice and because hearing two songs from Mechanical Animal (Dope show and Rock is dead) totally put me in trance, but on the other hand, there were 3 minutes breaks between every songs, and it became really annoying, instead of a show that could have contained about 15 songs, we heard 10, it went really fast, but at the same time we were kind of bored… I’m on the fence, and I don’t know if I’ll see him live again.
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Last day in Hell ! We arrived around 3pm to enjoy the last day of the festival, the weather was less hot and we wanted to have a look at Hell City and the Metal Corner to do some shopping, because we only had concerts starting at 8:45pm. We didn’t had a lot to see, but they were supposed to be awesome !
Sunday’s program ?
– Les Wampas : I would never had gone to see that band live by myself, but we thought it would be fun because Didier Wampas is real crazy and indeed, the concert was cool and nut, Didier Wampas surfcrowded through the pit before hugging a skeleton on top of a bar…
– Limp Bizkit : The rest of the afternoon was pretty calm, we waited impatiently for Limp Bizkit that was playing in the evening, a band Nunien and I have been listening since we were teenagers… We didn’t had good feedback on their concerts but we wanted to see it by ourselves and we weren’t disappointed, here is my number 1 from the festival ! I would never have believed it… But apparently Fred Drust had decided to be in a good mood that day, all the heads in the pit were moving in perfect rhythm (which was fun to see) while listening to My way, Take a look around or Break stuff, Hot dog and My generation. I really had a blast and I would never have thought that the good surprise of the weekend would end up being Limp Bizkit, but it was !
– Korn : For the 20th anniversary of their eponym album, Korn was supposed to play the full album. The beginning was pretty great since they played Blind to start with… But then it got slower with the following songs, I think it was nice for the hardcore fans, but I expected another setlist for a festival that is supposed to present a sum-up of a band’s career so that everyone can have a great time. The setlist was perfect for the band’s concert (in a concert hall) but we were a bit bored… Until the end of the Korn album, and the other songs we were waiting for, like Freak on a leash… and 2 songs later, it was over. I had expecting a lot from their concert, I was a bit disappointed, but I understand their approach… I still think playing a full album wasn’t a smart move to conclude the Hellfest. Because we were originally supposed to end with NOFX, but the band got rescheduled at the same time as Korn after a band had to cancel in the afternoon… Nunien was disappointed because he really wanted to see them and had we known how Korn concert would be, we wold have gone to NOFX no contest…
But oh well, it was still a very nice day, relaxed and without too many band to check out, we managed to enjoy the atmosphere one last time before saying goodbye to this awesome festival !
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I’m repeating myself, the Hellfest is the best festival I have ever been to. Here’s why :
– It manages to mix “mainstream” bands and more specialised ones.
– The staff takes into account all the suggestions from visitors to always improve the festival, last year, there was a lot of dust because of the heat and the dry ground, so this year, the whole area was covered by a thick green comfortable lawn \o/
– There are no fights between visitors.
– When someone bumps into you, they offer beer to apologise.
– People are half-naked (and sometimes fully naked) and no one gives a damn.
– There was a tatooed bearded guy surrounded by balloons, and everyone wanted to hug him, true story, this guy looked like he was straight out of Adventure Time.
– There are a billion of good stuff to eat (omnomnom the thaï booth) and there’s even an ice cream booth !
– There are people of all ages, from 5 to 99, et mostly lots of people around 50 with iron Maiden t-shirts (hi dad).
And for many more reasons, I can only urge you to get a pass for next year ! In the meantime, I made you a playlist for this year edition with songs from the bands I saw there… I would have been really mad if I had missed it, a thousand thanks to Roger for the pass !