I returned to Hellfest for the third time, but this year the advance weather forecast promises sun instead of rain! Well, it was correct and we now affectionately call it Dustfest due to the amount of dust being churned up from the parched arena!
First impressions of the new changes to the site are great. As we headed from Nantes to Hellfest on our pre-arranged transfers we approached the site greeted by a huge guitar on the roundabout by the entrance. Then you spot the large sign posts, so you can find your way around. At check in there’s friendly security and staff, I even got a quick lesson in French from the lovely lady that gave me my pass :)
Walking into VIP/Press area I could see they had spared no expense adding in lots of new funky metal work, as well as a few shaded areas, including a domed army tent with a crashed helicopter sticking out of the top! Awesome to look at plus so handy for providing shade during the scorching 3 days we spent at Dustfest ;)
Walking around we noticed they had closed off the usual exit/entry to the arena via VIP Tent and we now used a side entrance which fronted a HUGE Hellfest Skull and chains above. This made getting in and out for interviews and for Neil to shoot bands much easier. However, when the main bands were on he still struggled along with the other togs to fight their way through the crowd into the photopit to shoot the bands.
The new festival layout though is superb as they have moved the extended Metal Market to where the campers arrive via a bridge. A few campers were complaining about having to cross the bridge, especially with heavy cameras etc. The market consists of two huge tents packed with awesome stalls selling everything from CD’s, vinyl, patches & badges, clothes & bags, scarf’s, custom wood and leather goods. I DID indulge and purchased a few items there! There was also, for the first time, a market street based on Camden in London right by the tents. This hosted a Dr Martin, Spotify, Volcom shops, Tattoo & Piercer, Welfare and Lost property so everything was in a central area without having to actually go into the arena.
The Food Area has been moved to where the Metal Market use to be and has a lot more benches, another welcome change as well as being easier to see what is on offer, along with how long the queues were. Last year it was shaped in a ‘U’ with a few benches at the bottom so it was harder to move around such a busy place, yet another improvement that works! However, there was a need this year for more shaded areas as the forest area was jam packed, so the food area would have benefited from a few more parasols to help keep the sun at bay!
Food prices are good given the quality is better than at other festivals. 6€ to 8€ for burgers, 2.5€ frites, 5€ Panini, 2€ for ice cream/cornetto, 8€ for a freshly cooked pizza on a grill. There is such a wide range of stalls and they cater for everyones dietary and taste requirements.
In VIP we had 3€ for a tomato and mozzarella with a mini petite pain or salad, 3€ for fruit salad or fromage & coulis, 8€ for burgers, 2.5€ fries, 6€ for pasta and 8€ for Fish & Chips. The burgers, fries and salads were superb but the fish was bland. There was only one food cart in here which lead to long queues, so VIP would definitely benefit in having another food stand. On the whole though, everything we tried was worth the cash.
Hellfest also has a drinks token system, every drink token costs a Euro and prices were reasonable. 25/30cl cup prices are 2.5€ for Orangina & cola, 3€ Magners, JD 4.5€ or 5.5€ with mixer, 2€ for a bottle of water, a cup of beer varied on type and size with it starting at 2.5€ up to 15€ for a pitcher! There was also a wine bar and a bar that specialised in different beers that cost slightly more. You can buy a cup with the small ones costing 1€ while the pitchers were 2 or 3€ to buy. You can use the same cup or trade it in for a new one with every drink or, if you’re like me collect the different styles and purchase new ones over the weekend :)
The toilets were plentiful out in the arena and were cleaned regularly and always had loo paper. In VIP we have proper loos and had more than last year but there were still long queues, especially for the Ladies as guys were going in and using ours as well.
All in all the new changes that have been implemented have worked out well and I’m looking forward to seeing what changes they do next year :)
I would recommend this festival for all types of festival goer’s.
Hellfest 2014 Highlights & Let downs!
Over all highlight was the new layout at Hellfest :)
Disappointed with the Heat/Dust but it was still better than torrential rain that I’ve experienced at Wacken!
Highlights – Therapy?, Death DTA and Septic Flesh
Let down – Slayer :(
Highlights – Dagoba, Hatebreed and Quo
Let down – Missing the majority of Incantation & then Skyclad due to dust :(
Highlights -Dark Angel, Paradise Lost,
Let down – Alter Bridge I’m not a huge fan anyway but was listening to them while queuing for the Ferris Wheel.
Highlights – Therapy? and Crossfaith
Let down – Not getting any pictures of Slayer due to panic attack in crowd!
Highlights – Dagoba, Quo, Deep Purple and Aerosmith
Let down – Not being able to shoot from the pit at Main Stage 1 due to Aerosmith’s stage taking up all the room!
Highlights – Going on Ferris Wheel and Black Sabbath
Highlights – Enjoying my first ever arena experience of a European Festival, Crossfaith tearing it up.
Let down – Iron Maiden having an off day, seeing my horrible plastic Press wristband begin to lose its motifs.
Highlights – Status Quo absolutely smashing it, finding out the Press bar accepted tokens, cash or card.
Let down – Managing to see the bare minimum of Clutch’s set for a review before having to sit down and enjoy the rest musically due to the dust.
Highlights – Black Sabbath and Emperor. Enough said.
Let down – Knowing it would be the last full day I spent at a European Festival before next year. Roll on 2015!