Summer is the festival season, and that season’s biggest and best festival is the French delight that is Hellfest. Situated in the small town of Clisson, 35 miles south east of Nantes, it offers festival goers the blueprint for the ideal festival experience.
Now in its 11th year, it has evolved into the “must play” festival for bands and unlike other festivals, especially Download, it caters for all tastes across the metal spectrum. It does so in a manner that is light on the pocket, even within the festival site – normally a licence to print money for cash grabbing UK promoters.
It has also benefitted in the last couple of years from the locals becoming more “festival friendly” in their attitude. This combined with the French police’s laissez-faire methods make it the ideal place to experience a plethora of bands and get a suntan thrown in for good measure.
This year’s extravaganza is being headlined by Rammstein and both Black Sabbath and Twisted Sister making their final bows across Europe. For 2016, the smorgasboard of talent within the 140 bands playing the event is immense, and includes Slayer, Anthrax, Volbeat, Gojira, The Offspring, Ghost, Down, King Diamond, dam my hand is hurting, so see the attached poster detailing everything in a wee bit more detail.
3-day passes for this year’s event were sold out within days of coming on sale and with limited availability of day passes, the festival is going from strength to strength.
Adding a bit of spice to this year’s event was Hellfest promoter Ben Barbaud’s refusal to remove Down from the bill following Phil Anselmo’s well publicised lapse of judgement at Dimebash a couple of months ago. This refusal to follow Dutch festival RortaRock’s decision to pull Down from the final line up cost them to the tune of 20,000 Euro in the form of subsidy funding from the Region Pays de la Loire, and in particular, the ultra strict Senator Bruno Retailleau who was adhering to the French policy for zero tolerance for hate speech.
This decision simply enhanced the festival’s status as the ultimate in your face, screw what everyone thinks extravaganza that it has always been.
Over the next couple of months I’ll be previewing in more detail what you can expect from the festival, not only in terms of music, but also from a cultural point of view.