In France there is a small village called Clisson where every year thousands of metalheads gather to raise their fists and horns for their favourite bands. Every June, this peaceful village becomes ’the rock city’ for a weekend. So, what makes Hellfest Open Air one of the best European metal festivals? Other than the overwhelmingly wide selection of bands it is the unique atmosphere which does so. The festival site itself looks like a piece of art.
Recently, the festival introduced Hellcity Square where you can buy all the merchandise you ever wanted (and even everything you didn’t think you would ever need). Metal Corner is for all the people who wanted to party ’till the first rays of the rising sun with their air guitars. The Enchanted Forest was really a magical place; during the day it gave shelter from the scorching sun and during the night it was lit in a way you would think you were high on something other than life. When the sun set, the flames of Hellfest came alive all over the festival site. The 10th anniversary firework show on Saturday night made me feel I was part of something amazing. As I was singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” with hundreds of others while watching the fireworks, I have to admit, things got a bit emotional.
Anyway, my point is that Hellfest is a kind of festival that brings together fans from all corners of the metal world regardless of age, sex, religion, etc. and creates a true community. I hope the atmosphere shots give something back from my experience this year to everyone who is yet to witness this festival themselves.
Stay tuned for more detailed reviews of who we meet, who we saw playing and other random thoughts.
All pictures courtesy of Vivien Varga and MetalRecusants.com.