A Personal Account Of Hellfest & The Summer So Far

Written by: Baz Anderson
Published: 07.07.2007
There is mistake about it, I had quite probably the most amazing experience in my life so far two weeks ago in France. Not only was Hellfest my first ever open air festival and of course a showcase of my favourite bands, but on some personal level it was something very important to me as well. Before the summer, I said it was quite important for me to go to as many festivals as reasonably possible this summer and the reason behind that quite simply was that nothing was happening in my life at all, I had no mental reference to anything totally outstanding that had happened in my life that I could look back on - but now the ball has started rolling.

I set off for France and Hellfest the day before the festival was to begin - I was travelling with "Argon Direct", a company that provides busses to, festivals and shows, etc. and although lets say not everything went to plan - I did get there. While crossing the English channel on the ferry I was stood on its top watching England get further and further away and it was kind of a time to reflect on what was happening. The only other time I had ever been abroad was with my school some six or so years ago, and everything was taken care of by the teachers - I was surrounded by my friends, I had nothing to worry about. I am getting to the age now where it is becoming more and more of a reality that I need to become that individual, that man that always seemed like it was too far into the future to even think about - and on that ferry it finally dawned on me that I had no friends with me, I had booked all of this myself, I had arranged getting there myself, I was finally doing something truely independent and it felt quite weird, I half expected while I was leaning on the barrier on the edge of the ferry for a friend to call my name and I turn around and see a bunch of friendly faces.

Okay, I am not in contact with most of my school friends, that is one of the sad things I have to face - but I wasn't here just for some personal enlightenment, I was there for the experience of the open air festival, the bands and of course the people I would meet. Before I got on the bus to set off for the festival someone told me that festivals were the best and worst things both at the same time. I was told they got addictive as well and I can understand both of these points completely now. Over the three festival days I saw some of the best bands in the world and met some lovely people, and also at times wondered why I was even there and just wished I was back home. The weather on the first day was just awful, we had rain on and off all day and the festival site and camp side was just turned to mud. You would sink in it, the mud would cover your shoes and being wet and miserable in a foreign country is not a good thing I can tell you. Everyone around me spoke French, at times I felt so alienated - when I was waiting for a band to start all I could hear around me was French - I would have loved to have been friendly and joined in their conversations but I just couldn't for obvious reasons. In some ways France and Hellfest was like a dream, I couldn't understand the signs, I couldn't understand the people - all I could understand and focus on was the bands.

The good sides grossly outweigh the bad though. I have experienced the open air festival, I have seen over thirty bands in three days - some of them long time favourite bands of mine, and I have also finally met most of my colleagues from this site. When a band you really love starts to play you just forget about everything bad around you, you are no longer wet and muddy. Seeing Emperor again was just unbelieveable, Cannibal Corpse, 1349, Dream Theater, Blind Guardian, Immortal, Slayer - all these bands just blew me away. The concert review will be posted soon, don't worry about that. As well as bands that I already knew, I picked up on a few other bands that I previously did not know. Most notably Heavenly, whenever I listen to this brilliant band now I am reminded of the unsuspecting joys of Hellfest. I am eating some rich tea finger biscuits now and it feels like I am back in that camping ground in Clisson - and part of me really wishes I was back there experiencing it all again. Like that person said, I guess they can be addictive. Meeting my fellow Metal Stormers was a totally unreal experience - Cyrille, Marcel, Amine, Ivan, Ivor, Collin and Jeff. Cyrille, Marcel, Amine especially I spent the most time with - but you are all the first French, Dutch, Moroccan, Russian and Estonian people I have spoken to in my life and really a great honour. I will never forget the first night me and Amine spent wandering around the camp site, lost, in the dark - such an amusing yet horrible experience at the same time. Also thank you again to Marcel for letting me stay in his tent for the duration.

Arriving back in England and being greeted by floods everywhere in this area of the country was still quite some relief indeed. I hadn't had a lot of sleep or food over the time, and I needed to take my muddy clothes off and let my body recover. Time has passed though and I am nearly 100% recovered, and to tell the truth I can't wait to get stuck into Wacken Open Air in just over three weeks time. I have just purchased myself a brand new, very good digital camera - much better then the one I was using at Hellfest, and I can't wait to try it out in the festival environment. Thank you to Ivor for trying to help me understand the workings of aperture and shutter speed, photography is certainly much more complicated then first imagined.

Reflecting back on the festival, I knew I had had an amazing time while I was there - but now I am back here and it has all thoroughly sunk in, I appreciate even more how much of an amazing time I have had. I thought it would be something I would remember for the rest of my life before I went, but now I know it will be. Thank you to everyone that was there and made it so special for me, all the bands and all the people running the festival. Deciding to spend all that money and go was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Next - Wacken in Germany!! At least I have a little understanding of the German language. The line-up for the festival is certainly not as impressive as Hellfest's on paper, but at Wacken the bands will play for much much longer. Hopefully Wacken will contribute towards making this one of the best summers I ever have in my life.


Written on 07.07.2007 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More articles by Baz Anderson ››


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ylside - 07.07.2007 at 12:12  
I'll never forget those 5 days.

That night was quite horrible at the beginning, but turned out to be bearable when Michael (whom I salute, if he ever gets into Metalstorm), and the drunk girl joined us ... I still remember that guy who fancied Michael at some moments (he was calling him "My Force of nature" in french, and tried to squeeze his chest quite often hahaha )

As you know it's my first open air festival aswell, and I'm glad I began with some quality bands. And definitly some quality people aswell !!! and some quality loot, I'm still hungry for more CDs damn!

Definitly good luck with Wacken.
Darkside Momo - 10.07.2007 at 13:58  
Believe it or not, it was my first festival too... Yeah that seems strange, with me being an old guy etc...
Baz, when you're wet and muddy all over, the only difference in being french is that you have no problem to find the store that you need to find raincoat and boots, that's all ! Beacause on friday morning, both my girlfriend and me were longing for home too... And then she just said : "next week, we'll be laughting at that say 'hey, remember how terrible the camp was!'". That's exactly what happened !

And yes, I agree with you, festivals like this can be addictive, even moreso when you have a backstage pas !!! But no more festivals for me this year, Wacken problably in 2008 (Maiden with a little piece of Egypt)
Also, I don't really know how yet, but this experience (like all big events in a life) changed me little. More mature, I'm not so sure, but is that a problem ??

Bring good shots from Wacken !
Baz Anderson - 10.07.2007 at 21:04  
haha yes! I knew I just had to put up with the weather and being wet because in a few days I would be home and dry again and looking back on the experience

Wacken 2008 looks good for me as well - I have never seen Iron Maiden before so I would love to see them - playing songs from a GOOD era as well!!!

I really hope I can get some good pictures from Wacken, I hope my new camera does well for me!

hahaha - Amine.. "my force of nature" hahahahahaha - when he started taking his clothes off.. and he took his shirt off - I was wondering how far he was actually goingto go!! crazy drunk people you can't understand are scary!!! hahaha

that girl was actually really nice - I don't know why she always seemed to be looking at me though and insisting on trying to speak English instead of getting you to translate for me because:
1 - she doesnt know the language, and
2 - her accent makes it impossible to understand anyway. hahaha
but she went and got us that torch and tried to help us find the tents.. hahaha - she was nice in her own way
ylside - 10.07.2007 at 22:59  
Why she always tried to speak to you? She wasn't that sober mind you hahaha
Bad English - 14.07.2007 at 15:41  
@Baz - Who are Amine Darkside Momo?
I had seen IM in Gethenburg 3 years ago and man YOU SHOOD SEE IT, ITS iNCREDIBILE
Hahhah girls yeah in festivals there are a lot of nice girls and sometime sppl mix tents and

@ylside - did you go by farry or plain
Baz Anderson - 14.07.2007 at 16:52  
Amine is our loveable moderator ylside here, and Darkside Momo is Darkside Momo
Bad English - 14.07.2007 at 17:28  
Written by Baz Anderson on 14.07.2007 at 16:52

Amine is our loveable moderator ylside here, and Darkside Momo is Darkside Momo

Ylside name are Amine
Baz Anderson - 14.07.2007 at 17:54  
Written by Bad English on 14.07.2007 at 17:28

Ylside name are Amine

thats right!
Darkside Momo - 15.07.2007 at 00:18  
Written by Baz Anderson on 14.07.2007 at 16:52

Amine is our loveable moderator ylside here, and Darkside Momo is Darkside Momo

My real surname is Sebastien, but everyone calls me Momo, so...
After all, DARKSIDE Momo is much more metal !
ylside - 15.07.2007 at 00:39  
Written by Bad English on 14.07.2007 at 15:41

@ylside - did you go by farry or plain

Went by plain. And yes that's my name
Bad English - 15.07.2007 at 00:40  
Written by ylside on 15.07.2007 at 00:39

Written by Bad English on 14.07.2007 at 15:41

@ylside - did you go by farry or plain

Went by plain. And yes that's my name!

Hehhe by farry are more fun damn plains are good to i love boutght trevel types
Nice name

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