Clisson, a small town part of Brittany in western France is usually quiet for almost an entire year, but when June arrives it is invaded by dozens of thousands of metalheads anxious for a good time and to watch some of their favorite bands in one of the biggest metal festivals all around Europe: Hellfest. The town inhabitants have become familiar with metalheads wandering around for 3 or 4 days and they actually prepare Clisson for it.
Picture property of: preprod.valleeclisson.fr
Arriving one day before the beginning of the festival allows you to settle down at the camping site and then explore the lovely small medieval town that is Clisson. It is impossible not to notice the castle in ruins sitting on top of a hill with a narrow bridge and a small waterfall underneath. One thing that most people don’t know is that the castle tour is free during the festival days. And it’s totally worth it! References to the festival can be found around the town, some cafes and pubs have their decoration inspired by the festival feeling, for example.
Going back to the festival area, a enormous amount of staff could be seen making the last arrangements before the first day. Usually friendly and helpful, you could see the commitment of those people to have things well done, in spite of the notable barrier that different languages can be.
This years festival site was composed of 2 Main Stages, the Warzone (more Hardcore orientated), the Altar and the Temple (for more extreme Black/Death metal bands), the Valley (dedicated to bands that play Doom, Sludge, and other slow styles), and of course like always, the Metal Corner, outside the festival site where party would go on until dawn, with concerts and other performances.
At sunset there was already many people partying, even though the festival’s first day would be on the next day, mostly because the concerts started at 5pm on the Metal Corner. As It Comes, Bunkum, Escarres, Arcania, Absurdity were some of the bands performing on that stage… and if you are a football fan, you could also watch the game between Spain x Ireland on the giant screen. The highlight of the day was the performance of the band Cover Kill, a Swiss band that plays Heavy Metal covers from Slayer, Iron Maiden, KISS, Amon Amarth… you name it. The crowd was having a great time and you could see it by checking how agitated everyone was.
A great way to start the festival, lots of partying, drinking and dancing that would have its consequences on the following day.
their decoration inspired by the festival feeling