Hellfest 2018: Couldn’t be better!
Hellfest 2018 happened from 22 to 24 June. As usual, we drove from Berlin to Clisson, the hosting city of the best French Heavy Metal Festival. Since 2014, driving to Hellfest is a tradition and part of my festival experience. It is the road to Hell of every year that brings me the excitement before and after the huge party. It is like making Hellfest last for much more than just 3 days. This year couldn’t be different, but somehow, it was way much better! Join me there to see what I am talking about!
About Hellfest 2018
If you are new in the area and knows nothing about Hellfest, you can go to the Hellfest page here at Join Me There. There you can read about the previous edition and have a complete idea of this great event. Also, you should know that Hellfest is a French Heavy Metal festival that happens every year since 2005 in Clisson, a small city near to Nantes. The festival usually happens on the third weekend of June and brings a breathtaking Line-Up. I really mean it! They have one of the best Line-Ups among the European Festivals.
The cool thing about Hellfest is that camping is for free, the security is pretty amazing, the crew is helpful and polite and they improve a lot every new edition. On the 2017 edition, they made a great redesign of the festival site and even added a new stage! It is a festival to go with no regrets!
On the #RoadToHell
We left Berlin on Tuesday, the 19th, and this year the travel started much cooler because now we have a Cabriolet! You can picture how warm and sunny is in Europe around this time if the year, so we had a very pleasant experience driving with the wind on our faces.
Like every year, we try to leave Berlin as early as we can. We drive through the day and stop in some gas station at night, so we can rest before hitting the road again on the next morning. Usually, the sleep is very short and we are broken by the time that we get in Clisson on the next day. This time, some road miracle happened and we slept full 6 hours and very comfortably inside a Mini Cooper. We were totally renewed by the morning and we hit the road with a smile on our faces. It was indeed unusual! Because we had much more energy to drive, we made fewer stops and got quicker to Clisson. We even had time to stop by a supermarket – and a Decathlon for an emergency Mattress – before arriving in Clisson for lunch time! This is impressive.
Be an Early Bird
If you can plan to arrive much earlier to the festival, we recommend it. You can enjoy the fact that you can enter the camping site on Wednesday. All you have to do is to present them your ticket and be happy. For us, this was a new thing because we usually arrived on Thursday morning. Last year I wanted to see how it was to arrive on Wednesday, but it was already 11 in the evening when we got there. This year, we made it quick and got there very early!
The thing is that you MUST present your ticket to enter the camping site before the Hellcity is opened. But we are press guests, so all we had was an e-mail exchange as proof that we are allowed inside there. Well, lucky us, the guy at the door was extra cool and let us in after a small conversation and some e-mail showing. So, for our happiness, we could already build up our small paradise on Wednesday. What an amazing experience, friends!
The Camping Site
If you are an early bird just like us and entered the campsite on Wednesday then you should know that not the entire place is available for building up tents. They leave just one sector open for the people that arrive on Wednesday and this piece is the nearest to the bridge exit. Honestly, it was the best thing for us! We were close to the supermarket (you exit at the bridge, cross it and walk to your right and you are there) and closer to the press entrance at the festival door. So it was really the best option. The previous edition I always tried to put my tent as close to the Hellcity as possible, but this time it was much better!
Also, dear early birds, you have access to the toilet, but no access to water points on that day. But just by having a toilet is already enough. Go to L.eclerc, get yourself some food and water, so you can drink AND brush teeth, and enjoy your time. This year we had a huge tent that also gave us a completely different experience and we were so comfortable in the campsite, that worth it arriving so much earlier!
Do you know what is the greatest thing about a big tent? You don’t cook inside of it as soon as the first sun rays touch it. You can sleep longer and this is amazing when you are camping! Just this change already took our complete festival experience to another level. Being able to sleep well changes everything!
Thursday was our “preparation day” for the festival. We woke up and exited the camping site to get some breakfast, drinks and food. Of course, we could not enter the campsite anymore, because now there were way too many people and because we don’t have our tickets, we had to wait for the Hellcity to be opened. Fair enough. Safety first!
The Hellcity opened at 14:00 instead of 16:00 like the previous years. This was just perfect! Keep this timetable, Hellfest!
So, this is the moment where everyone exchanges their tickets for wristbands and you can’t access the campsite anymore without a wristband. We could go to the press tent and get our wristband as well and finally bring our stuff to our tent. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to go through that amount of people without our tents and bags. And with the peace of mind to know that we already had a spot at the camping site, so nothing to worry about.
Really, if you can arrive on Wednesday. Do it! No regrets!
On Thursday everything on Hellcity and campsite starts to function: water points, lockers, bars, recharging points, restaurants. So you can already set it all up and have nothing to worry about when the festival finally starts and even more people arrive. If you can, use the time for a shower, you won’t regret!
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Hellfest 2018! Today is the first day of the festival and it is when all the fun starts!
There are some new things around the festival area, while the press area remains just like the last edition. To the show areas, the decoration is improved. There is a light+water show at night and you can refresh yourself inside the old skate half pipe (photo below). Lines are smaller than usual, thanks to Cashless that now you can load it online on your mobile phone! But if we can give you any advice: do it a few hours before using it. Because of the number of people doing it at the same time, the “instant recharge” might not be so instant. But believe me, this is already much much much better than the huge lines to recharge the Cashless or at the old times, where you still need to buy some tokens.
Oh! I must mention! We woke up early and we went to L.eclerc for breakfast and we arrived a bit before they opened the doors and there was a countdown before the doors are opened. What a funny thing to watch! Even funnier is the moment right before the countdown, when the L.eclerc team leader made some quick motivational speech and when he was done, a very loud Aperol was screamed by all the L.eclerc crew.
Oh well, every year we learn new things about this great festival!
On this day we got on the main stages great names like Europe, Joan Jett, Meshugga, Stone Sour the great Judas Priest and unforgettable Hollywood Vampires (what a show, my friends, what a show!). The smaller stages also had great names like Therion, Napalm Death, Satyricon, Hard-Ons, Bad Religion and Raise Against.
Because of the great coffee and the price, we went back to L.eclerc for breakfast. It costs 4,50€ and comes with a croissant, two breads, coffee and orange juice. A really great deal! On the festival, everything was going as planned, a lot of great bands playing on all the 6 stages, the sun burning the metalheads and a lot of beer and wine being drank. For today, the attractions on the mainstage were Bullet for my Valentine, Deftones, Limp Bizkit and Avenged Sevenfold. On the smaller stages Dimmu Borgir, Children of Bodom, Hatebreed and Kataklysm. Among many other bands for all stages, of course!
I must confess that it was not my favourite day as a Line-Up, but those days are amazing to enjoy all the other things the festival has to offer and to chill a bit in the crowd.
I could not be more anxious for this day. The best Line-Up was reserved for the last day, definitely! It was a day to try to multiply and watch it all! Look who was on the main stage: Iced Earth, Megadeth (horrible sound, by the way), Accept, Primal Fear, Arch Enemy, Alice in Chains, Iron Maiden (making an impressive performance as always!), Marilyn Manson and Nightwish. Couldn’t ask for more. But there was more! On the other stages, we enjoyed: Backyard Babies, Exodus, The Hellacopters and Turbonegro. Of course that many other bands were also playing, those are just the ones that call my attention.
What I find great about Hellfest is that on the smaller stages you can really get close to the band, you can watch very well from any distance and the sound quality is really impressive. Also, they always put big names on smaller stages as well, so you can really enjoy it at most!
You’ve Gotta Another Thing Comin’
Did you know that it is possible to get married at Hellfest? Well, now you do. There is a place there that it is used to celebrate love and connect souls through Rock ‘n Roll. So, if you want to plan something really different and crazy, but can’t go to Vegas for that, well, just come to Hellfest! 😉
What was also going on during this year at Hellfest was the World Cup! So, at the entrance of the Camping Site, there is a huge screen that showed SOME of the matches. The gossip around was that the festival didn’t have the license for all the games, so that’s why they just could show some of them. Well, the Brazilian matched against Costa Rica was not exhibited there, so a group of Brazil’s and Costa Rica’s fans, got together to watch the game in the screen of a mobile phone. It was hilarious but efficient!
When to leave?
If you live nearby and can (or have to!) leave on Sunday after the main attractions, it is not that bad. Many people leave at that time, but because there are many directions to go, the heavy traffic doesn’t last too long. But for me, sleeping there this last night and leaving peacefully and slowly on Monday morning is my thing. I still have a full day and night on the road before getting home, so resting after such great 3 days of craziness is essential. But believe me, on Monday morning the traffic is still intense around the festival area and still many people leaving the site. Also, the festival promos at L.eclerc are already gone for this day.
It was another amazing experience at Hellfest 2018 and we hope to be back for the next edition. We love how the festival is developing and we want to see it again and again and again!
So, thank you for joining us there and until 2019!