Hellfest 2017: The Full Saga
Like every year since 2014, going to Hellfest means making a nice road trip from Berlin to Clisson and combine the greatest French Heavy Metal Festival with a nice and fun road trip. So, fasten your seatbelt and Join Me There in this saga to Hellfest to check out what happened in the 12th edition of the festival.
The Travel Pre-Hellfest
We left the German capital – Berlin, in case you skipped the Geography classes – around 10 in the morning on Tuesday, 13.06. We were already taking the road to Hell(fest), but we decided to make the travel to Clisson a bit longer making a stop by Luxembourg City. The travel from Berlin to Luxembourg City took approximately 10 hours with some stops on the way to stretch, eat and use the toilet. Because this post is mainly about Hellfest – and Luxembourg deserves a post just for itself -, let’s keep the travel going!
So, on the next day, 14.06, after an overnight at a Campsite near to Luxembourg City, we were back to the road. We left around 14:00. Respecting our bodies limitations and making healthy stops, we arrived in Clisson around 23:30. Besides the festival would just start on Friday, we decided to arrive two nights before, because we wanted to guarantee a nice parking place.
We knew already that on the previous day from the festival the main street is closed and just opens after a certain time. What we didn’t know was what time it opens and if you can access it on the day before. Our first intention was to arrive much earlier on Wednesday to check the possibility of already parking basically at Hellfest door. The “problem” was that Luxembourg city is so cute, that we ended up leaving too late and reduced our chances to arrive early enough.
We learned that if you arrive in Clisson at 23:00, the main street is already closed and you will just have access to it on the next morning.
The First Night
After realizing that the street was closed and not having a concrete information on when it would be opened, we decided to go to the Parking Lot from the festival and camp there. At this parking lot, you already start having the feeling of the festival. Some tents are already built for the night, some even stay there the entire time and people are already having their beers, wines and enjoying a nice music.
Besides having a very warm day on the road, at night got pretty cold and we had to change our light clothes for something a bit warmer. It was also nice that we had each other to just hold tight during the cold night. The partying spirit outside the tent was awesome, but after such a long day on the road, all we wanted was some hours of sleep.
Getting a nice parking place
We set our alarm for 6:30 in the morning because we really didn’t want to lose the nice parking opportunity near to the festival entrance. Contrary to the previous years, to this edition, we didn’t reserve a locker, because our intention was to use the car as the locker. So, parking near was definitely important.
Well, the street was still closed at 7:00. We were notified that would open only around 8:30. At 8:30 we were notified that would open only at 9:30, but a line of cars was being formed on the sidewalk near to the roundabout. We took this line and parked there to keep an eye on the opening. At 9:20 they opened the street and the traffic was already intense at this roundabout. Contrary to our wish, we were not the 5th car to enter the street, but rather the 20th. It was not so bad, actually. We managed to find a parking place really by the festival door and this was amazing for us.
While the gates are still closed
After we parked the car, around 9:30 in the morning, we had still few hours until we could enter the festival site. We used the time to go to Leclerc, the amazing supermarket near by, to get some food, some drinks and some new camping chairs. At this supermarket you will find everything you need to camp and to enjoy the festival at most. The best part is that it is not overpriced, so you won’t need to sell your livers to have a provisory tent for the festival (in case you get to Clisson with an airplane). So, really, instead of just sitting in the sun while the festival doors are closed, enjoy the time to simply go to the supermarket and already guarantee some nice items for your time at the festival. Believe me, the cheapest things are the ones that end first, so don’t go to buy the things too late or you won’t find so competitive prices anymore.
Small Tip for Early Birds
So, if you are like us and prefer to arrive earlier at the festival area, you must know that you just need to show your ticket to enter the campsite. This is pretty good for anyone that wants to save some time and relax a bit more. If you already set up your tent and reserved your place in the camping area, you don’t need to rush to exchange your ticket for your bracelet, so you can try to escape the long lines.
BUT – yes, there’s always a BUT -, if you are press or VIP guest (like us), you will have to wait until the counters are opened to enter the campsite, which is on Thursday at 14:00.
This year the counters opened very punctually at 14:00 and we already could see some changes on the festival layout. The lines and the entrance were very well redesigned, better organized and looked like even that it was bigger than the previous editions.
Besides some delays on the VIP/Press line, it worked quicker than the previous year and not even 15 minutes after the opening of the gates we were already inside the Hellfest City Square, that has its decoration inspired by the London famous Camden Town. A very nice band was playing right in front of the entrance to welcome all the metalheads, which made this year opening even more special. Also, a wrestling ring was right at this stage, but we must have missed the action as during all days we didn’t see a fight running there.
Another one bites the DUST
On the way to the campsite, we noticed something that was seen last time only in 2014: DUST. In 2015 and 2016 the festival had straw on the ground, which prevented the dust to raise and the floor to get muddy in case of rain. This year they were missing and the dust was once again strong and making things harder for the metalheads.
Very quick we were at the campsite and we managed to “fight” for some space near to the entrance. Besides the area was quite empty, some people were trying to reserve it for their huge group of friends that were supposed to arrive on that and next day. We actually have nothing against friends being together and people reserving the places for the bigger groups, but if you want so, don’t simply try to hold the best part of the camp, at the entrance to the festival. If you want to reserve some big space for your friends, than be nice with other people as well and reserve it a little bit to the back. Don’t need to be extremely far, but be fair with the other metalheads that are alone or with just another person.
Guys, Drink Water.
That day was very warm. The temperatures were going close to 36°C. I understand that you don’t go to a Heavy Metal Festival to drink water, but if you really want to enjoy the entire party, drinking water between your beers or wines is extremely important. Also, don’t forget the sun blocker. Never. Perfect combination for a successful festival: sun blocker and water. Healthy bodies make the party go longer! 😉
Getting Ready to Rock
After your tent is set, you already went to the supermarket to buy beer, food and ice to keep the beer fresh, you already inflated your air-mattress and you are ready to rock, how about going for the other items before the line grows? One good example is to buy your Water-Pass, an armband that costs 6 euros and gives you the right to shower as many times as you want and to use drinkable water to brush teeth, wash face and refill the water bottles. This line gets huge by the end of the Thursday and even bigger on the first festival morning. So, guarantee yours before. Enjoy the time also to take a shower. You won’t regret!
Also, did you reserve a locker? The line gets pretty annoying there. So, be quicker and already exchange your deposit for a key and you won’t need to worry about it anymore.
The festival also has some others features like recharging your phone or recharging you’re cashless. If you also want to avoid lines there, it is a pretty smart thing to do right after you got your stuff ready at the campsite.
Rest Well, tomorrow We Rock in Hell!
The night before the festival starts was cold. If you are reading this because you want to attend the next editions of Hellfest, well, learn that days can be very warm, but nights pretty damn cold. So, bring one warm pants and jacket to sleep well at night. If you are like us, wants to have a nice sleeping night to enjoy better the day, also don’t go to the tent too late. The sun will start to cook you inside your tent around 8:00 in the morning, so after that it’s pretty hard to sleep. If you want to rest more, you actually can’t, unless you are someone that deals pretty well with warm weather.
The Gates to Hellfest are Opened!
Friday, at 10:30 in the morning, you could hear the first screams on the microphone. It was Inglorious, debuting the Main Stage and starting 16 hours non-stop of the best Heavy Metal France will see for 2017. It was official, the 12th edition of Hellfest had just started and all the audience was already going crazy for those 3 full days of Metal.
Not too long after that, we were also ready to go to the Festival. Our first destination was the VIP Area that was repositioned and completely redesigned.
I really liked the older VIP area, but this one was fancy, beautiful and bad to the bones. The bar was one of the coolest bars ever and it was all decorated with bones and skulls (fake ones, of course).
By the bar’s door, there was also a really beautiful fountain that I named it “The Assassin’s Fountain”. It was so cool that I want to have a small replica of that. In front of the bar there was a very big “kind of pool” area, which was forbidden to swim, but under 34°C, it is almost impossible to stop people from refreshing a bit. Ok, the water had suspicious origins, which made me not put not even my feet inside there, but it was pretty funny to watch the VIP area becoming the Hellfest Holiday Resort.
What else has changed?
If you have read our previous posts about Hellfest, you are well aware that there was a Skate Halfpipe near to the Warzone. Well, the past tense in the phrase is correct. There was. Now the Skate Halfpipe was transformed into a cooling down area, which actually was a very good idea because during the 3 days of the festival was really, but really, warm and we all know that Hellfest is not the most shadowed place. Sorry for the Skate-people, but keeping the blood pressure at a normal level was a “cooler” idea.
A new beer was launched: the 600 ml beer-glass! I really don’t remember seeing this beer on the last edition, so I assume that is a new thing for this year. This beer has the best cost-benefit because it costs only 5,50 euros for 600 ml. While the 280 ml glass costs 2,80 euros and the 1,5 l Jar costs 14,50 euros. Just remember that you must buy the glass or the jar and it costs an extra 1,20 euros (for the glass) and they are not returnable, which is actually a cool souvenir from the festival.
Another change was the lines. I don’t know the miracle they did there, maybe hired more people or amplified the number of things, but the lines were smaller. I like that! It was one of my biggest complaints about the previous editions of the festival, but this year it seemed easier. Let’s hope it is not just an impression and it will keep this way. Thank you, Hellfest! 😉
Food and Drink
We had an impression that the food and drink area was bigger and expanded towards the main entrance. Just a reminder, a very important one: in Hellfest you buy DRINKS with Cashless, a prepaid card that you can only use at the festival. So, pay attention on this: just DRINKS. The food you can pay with money, credit cards or debit cards. The DRINKS you can pay ONLY with CASHLESS. So, don’t over recharge your Cashless, because it takes too long to get your money back. There are few points to recharge it on the festival site, so don’t worry too much. Just recharge what you are going to use to drink and be happy.
Just to be sure you got it right: Merchandise items and Food you DON’T pay with Cashless.
The bands of the first day
Those who attended the first day of Hellfest could enjoy under a heavy sun and among a lot of dust great bands like Krisium, Queensryche, Powerwolf, Behemoth, Deep Purple, Obituary, Sabaton, Rob Zombie and In Flames among other bands that made the first day in Hell heavy and loud.
The Second day of Hellfest
After another cold night, a very warm morning arrived to wake us up very early. We took the time to have some breakfast and shower. We just forgot that the sun didn’t have awake just us, but the entire festival. The line to the shower was so huge that while waiting in the line we had enough time to intercalate the use of the toilet, went to the tent to take some money, bought some breakfast (costs 5 euros for a combo of one coffee, one orange juice, one croissant and one choco-croissant) and ate it standing there. Just as a reminder, toilets and breakfast also have lines.
When it was our time to shower, we remember the second reason why you shouldn’t shower in the morning: there’s not enough water to wash all that dust away. The capacity of the shower is really low for a number of people camping at the festival. That means no water coming out of the pipes and what comes has no pressure at all. So, if you want to shower, take this tip as a golden one: ALWAYS SHOWER THE NIGHT BEFORE. You will have enough water, with pressure and won’t face any lines.
Besides the festival opens every day at 10:30, for me started actually at 2:20 with The Treatment. This band was a nice surprise. I was waiting to start my day with Ugly Kid Joe, but arrived one hour earlier and could enjoy a lot the young dudes of The Treatment making an amazing performance on the stage. The day followed with Pretty Maids, Steel Panther with their sexy show and for my surprise Dee Snider gave us the grace of his presence. WASP had some trouble and was replaced by the spectacular ex-Twisted Sister that proved that alone he can also be pretty amazing. The day kept nice and sound with Saxon, Airbourne, Pain of Salvation and the talented Apocalyptica. To complete this day even more, Aerosmith gave us their farewell in an unforgettable concert. Steven Tyler was voiceless and looked a little tired and sick, but even though gave us an incredible performance by the side of Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Krammer.
For many, the day ended with Aerosmith, but for me, there was another amazing band that would keep me awake much longer this night: Kreator arrived with their coolest hits Horde of Chaos followed by Phobia. It was amazing.
The Last day in Hell
The previous night was not so cold, but the long pants and a jacket were very useful for the night and again the sun was hitting us very early in the morning. Contrary to the day before, we have already showered the last night, so we could use our morning to go to the supermarket. On Sunday, the huge Leclerc closes at 12:00. If you want to guarantee any food or drinks for the last day, you must go early.
Sunday’s line-up of the festival was not so attractive for me. If Opeth and Suicidal Tendencies, that played on the day before at the same time as Aerosmith and Kreator, were playing on the last day, would have made me pretty happy. But for the last day of Hellfest, the only bands that called my attention were Slayer, Linkin Park, Five Fingers Death Punch, Alter Bridge and Blue Oyster Cult. Of course, that this was according to my taste, many metalheads went home with necks in pain after a great day in Hellfest, but for me, the sun was simply too strong to compete with the lineup and made me have a very slow and easy day.
It was a nice goodbye, or maybe just a “see you in 2018”, day. Even the weather decided to keep the night warm and it was very pleasant to sleep in the tents without jackets and pants.
Pack and go
Around 9 we were already awake and packing to go. We wanted to sleep a bit longer, but the sun would not let us stay another minute inside the tents. The rhythm in the campsite was as of a great hangover, with slow metalheads packing and going to the exit. The chemical toilets by the side of the campsite were available for general use. For those who have the waterpoint bracelet you could still shower on Monday morning. If you had something on the Locker you can also access to this area, but for all the others the entrance is forbidden.
After we packed our car, we stopped by Leclerc one last time to have some breakfast and use the WiFi to add our next destination after Hellfest: Bordeaux!
Goodbye Hellfest. See you in 2018!
Hello wine, hello Bordeaux! 😉