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Hellfest - Starting the Second Decade


Event: Hellfest Open Air 2016
Written by: Darkside Momo
Published: 28.04.2016

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Hellfest 2016 by Darkside Momo (47)


Ahhh, Hellfest… The biggest French metal festival, and for a time the only one. We here in the MS towers have quite a few fond memories of it. We weren't here last year for this tenth anniversary edition, but by all accounts it was a success.
And, as you'll have guessed, we (well, at least I) will be there, so expect a report about it sometime during July.






Now, I won't really introduce y'all to Hellfest once again - there's this two-years old but still relevant article, and a string of reports with a shitload of galleries for that . But for those too lazy to check, here are a few numbers:
  • More than 140 bands playing on six different stages (well, seven if you add the small Metl Corner one near the campsite);
  • More than 50000 audience per day during 3 days - which is admittedly quite a lot;
  • And, as you can guess, it's already the eleventh edition (oh my...)

Quite impressive for a festival in a land where metal was and still is non-existent to the mainstream audience. Sure, they started small (22000 persons in total in 2006), almost got bankrupt after that first edition, then the climatically catastrophic 2007 could have ruined it all. Yet the music was good, and then metalhead flocked en masse to the 2008 edition, which proved to be the best Hellfest ever for most of those involved. The rest, as they say, is history.

Site and sights in 2008:

And in 2014:



What'll be new in 2016 and other polemics


The cashless bars (with pre-charged specific 'credit cards') already ain't new anymore, as they were introduced last year.
Same as the extensive visual ornaments - a Hellfest trademark, that are more and more expansive as the years pass. Check for example this French newspaper article for two pics of last year's decorum.
What, what? Is that Lemmy on the sketch? Yep. They're planning a 15 meters tall statue in hommage to him. We'll be sure to bring you a picture of it
Still, this huge decorative business (which, in 2015, costed 4 million € out of a total budget of 16 million €) has its detractors, who don't like the 'metal Disneyland' feel or the impact on the 3-days pass prices. Visuals are good, a nice bonus, and have always been a part of Hellfest, but we're here for the music, right?

As far as usual criticism and opposition goes, Catholic extremists still maintained their anti-Hellfest campaign, but they're more and more subdued and inaudible - at last. What made much more noise was that Down / Phil Anselmo affair. Remember that one? It started with a white power gesture, and ended with Hellfest defending Phil, the French regional administration yanking the small financial support they gave (all here) and Down cancelling everything.
Nothing out of the extraordinary these days :-/

To finish on a lighter note, let's mention the Hellfest - Deezer partnership. Called 'Deezer Open Hell Stage', it's basically a contest to get your band playing at Hellfest! Submissions are open until mid-May, then nine bands will be chosen to play this year at Hellfest on the Metal Corner stage (the one near the campsite, remember?). Out of those, the one with the most votes from Hellfesters will win a custom Gibson guitar and, more importantly, a slot on the mainstages for Hellfest 2017!
Nice, don't you think? Find more about it here!


The Bands


Hellfest often tried to bring rare bands on the bill, alonside more mainstream ones or old reccuring friends (see Phil Anselmo, above - or Walls Of Jericho, who are here every year or so), like Coroner in 2011. This year, we'll have - among others - Solefald, the Korean folk / post / noise band Jambinai, whose 2012 album Différance was loved by quite a few people aroud these parts, Ratos De Porao, No One Is Innocent, and the first Ludwig Von 88 show since 1999…
Ludwig who? Yeah, I guess they're not that known outside French-speaking countries, yet they were a really influential punk / rock with lots of funny and sometimes quite stupid songs about everything and nothing, including serious subjects like drugs and war, but almost always sung about in a derisive or satirical way.
Oh, and they're not fascists, far from it. Typical punk spirit once again


That's how they announced their return. "FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, THEY WERE BEAUTIFUL. Today, are they... old? Julio Iglesias fans? In Paradise with Lemmy Bowie? Married to Lauren Bacal? Members of Rotary Club? In hospice care? Rich assholes? In a hippie monastery in Goa or Kathmandu? Pascal Sevran's personal assistants? Playing live the 18th June at Hellfest?"


Want some mainstream? Powerhouse Rammstein will (finally) be in the place; you'll also have Black Sabbath on their last tour - same for Twister Sister btw - and the usual Slayer, plus The Offspring (but I'll be much better seeing Converge, mind you).

Full line-up is here.


So…


Yeah, it costs quite a bunch (200€… well, 197€ to be precise). But it was almost sold-out even before the first bands were announced - that's how big Hellfest has become in French metal culture. Its success gave birth to other, smaller festivals (Motocultor, Xtreme Fest, Sylak Open Air, Fall Of Summer…) which is quite awesome in our non-metal country.

So, let's drink beers and wine - Kingdom of Muscadet ftw! - and check some great bands live!









Written on 28.04.2016 by Once your regular Hellfest reporter, now retired. I (strangely enough) listen to a lot of metal. And enjoy good beers, comics, novels and role-playing games.


Comments

Comments: 8   [ 1 ignored ]   Visited by: 99 users
28.04.2016 - 20:20
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Unfortunately this lose its meaning as ms fest ... ms crew was there, reports was good, same as WAO and others, now, its just one of those fest where we do not know anything as in old days I will remember Barry's mud pants
Nice article, might be biggest fest (since we cant beat WAO) ... better line up
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Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

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28.04.2016 - 23:50
wrathchild

Oh Momo, these photos, old memories... you're making me feel guilty of not coming in 2016...
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La belleza no reside en lo que puedas crear, sino en lo que eres capaz de transmitir
Beauty resides not in what you're able to create, but in what you're able to communicate


Txus, Mägo De Oz
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29.04.2016 - 13:55
Darkside Momo
Retired
Written by Bad English on 28.04.2016 at 20:20

Unfortunately this lose its meaning as ms fest ... ms crew was there, reports was good, same as WAO and others, now, its just one of those fest where we do not know anything as in old days I will remember Barry's mud pants
Nice article, might be biggest fest (since we cant beat WAO) ... better line up

haha yeah, now apart of a few staffers here and there (Roadburn comes to mind), we have no big staff meeting in festivals. Too bad...
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My Author's Blog (in French)


"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you"

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I am awake"
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29.04.2016 - 13:57
Darkside Momo
Retired
Written by wrathchild on 28.04.2016 at 23:50

Oh Momo, these photos, old memories... you're making me feel guilty of not coming in 2016...

YEAH FEEL THE GUILT

(and yes, those memories... as I said 2008 was probably, like, the best Hellfest ever)
----
My Author's Blog (in French)


"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you"

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I am awake"
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29.04.2016 - 16:22
BitterCOld
The Ancient One
Written by wrathchild on 28.04.2016 at 23:50

Oh Momo, these photos, old memories... you're making me feel guilty of not coming in 2016...


i feel guilty for never having gone... DeadSoulMan out the house? Thryce still around ... (What happened to him? I know his time with us ended, but would love to know how post-School/MS has turned out. expected great things from him.)

Nice work, DSMomomo
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get the fuck off my lawn.

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29.04.2016 - 20:15
Darkside Momo
Retired
Written by BitterCOld on 29.04.2016 at 16:22

Written by wrathchild on 28.04.2016 at 23:50

Oh Momo, these photos, old memories... you're making me feel guilty of not coming in 2016...


i feel guilty for never having gone... DeadSoulMan out the house? Thryce still around ... (What happened to him? I know his time with us ended, but would love to know how post-School/MS has turned out. expected great things from him.)

Nice work, DSMomomo

You're welcome.
And yeah, nostalgia...
----
My Author's Blog (in French)


"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you"

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I am awake"
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02.05.2016 - 21:15
Magere Tijn

Went there last year, won't be coming back. The line-up was cool, and overall that's what made it worth my while, but the atmosphere and simple things that the organisation should have thought of sucked. We arrived there in the morning, before the gates were opened. Sat there with my friends, cd-player on, having some beers, and while sitting there with other metalheads, which should be a cool crowd, some fucktard stole my tent. Who. Does. That. Honestly, you don't steal fucking tents. After that there were the obvious huuuuuge lines which didn't move for shit, took us more than an hour to get from the gates to the entrance of the festival itself. Campinggrounds were littereed with sharp crap, toilets were the most disgusting pieces of shitcontainers I've ever seen. I know it's a festival and hygene is not the easiest to accomplish, but if there's crap all over the doors of the toilets, send someone to clean it, really. Urinals clogged with woodchips, uncool.

Another major downside was the Hellfest Creditcard you need to buy drinks. You have to get one, charge it, buy your drinks (if they still have it, Grimbergen was out on the last day) and if you have any money left at the end of the festival, you can kiss it goodbye. I understand you don't want to have cash at the bars and the creditcard is a good idea, but at least provide means to get unspent money back. It's my money, not yours. However, the stupid doesn't stop there. The card is only valid for drinks, not for food. Want something to eat? Better have some cash on you, the foodstands don't accept the card. Make your choice, make everything payable with the card, or nothing at all. Don't give me this lame-as crap. Drinks and food were obviously expensive, but what do you expect from a big festival. It's about the same price as Wacken.

There were some good things though, obviously. The line-up was great, sound was pretty good, screens were nice and large so you can see the bands even if you're in the back. Party went on 'till late, which is obviously nice. There were plenty of waterholes on the festivalgrounds, which was good, because it was scorching hot. I remember seeing Exodus play from under the shade of a nearby forest, and relatively little audience in the hot hours of the afternoon. Can't hold it against Hellfest though, they don't control the weather.

All in all, I had fun, but the organisation and the fact it's in France (the French tend to be nasty little fuckers in my experience) made sure I won't be coming back.

[/rant]
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02.05.2016 - 23:55
Vombatus
Potorro
^had more or less the same impression. My last year there was 2014, and I see no incentive in going back. The line-up got meh (same bands playing every 2-3 years, nothing exclusive) and they seem more interesting in spending the bucks in crap decorations and big wheels.
I think its a good festival if you are not particularly interested in the music and prefer the party side and being a retard. But I can do the later for less than 200 euro in the middle of nowhere in France.

(still had a great time the few times I went though).
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