Europe has a lot of music festivals to offer. Although hardcore rock and heavy metal fans will find a great festival in the small French town of Clisson in Loire-Atlantique.
The Hellfest Summer Open Air, or simply, Hellfest, is held annually in June. This summer music festival is recognized in France for having the highest incomes and revenues from music fans. Its renown also extends throughout Europe as being counted as one of the biggest festivals celebrating metal music in the continent and the very first one to be held in France.
The Beginnings of Hellfest
Clisson’s Hellfest began as the predecessor of another music festival called the Fury Fest which was previously held from 2002 to 2005. The Fury Fest venues were scattered throughout the various areas of the Pays de la Loire. However, starting in 2006, the Hellfest festival took over with continued success over the years in attracting more and more attendees. The first edition of the Hellfest music festival had 22,000 visitors. The numbers rose to a crowd of 50,000 by 2017. The success of Hellfest can be attributed to the efforts of the CLS CREW of Clisson who made it their objective to organize concerts that celebrated punk and hardcore music in the French region of Nantes. The shows they arranged were successful indeed and was able to be stepping stone for Hellfest’s early version, the Fury Fest. The first Fury Fest was held on June 2002 where 400 people attended to watch the performance of Agnostic Front and join the festivities at Clisson’s Val-de-Moine sports complex.
The Rise and Popularity of Hellfest
Hellfest’s festival program featured metal and hard rock musicians on the festival’s two main stages. Aside from this, four other festival stages are dedicated to particular styles under the metal, and hard rock genre lies death metal, doom metal, stoner metal, and black metal. The diversity of musical stages in Hellfest contributed to the presence of many famous and sought-out performers of the genre like KISS, ZZ Top, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Slayer, Sepultura, Megadeth, Anthrax, and Cannibal Corpse. The promise of witnessing live musical shows from these bands increased the number of people attending the festival. Although, organizers are still working on bringing in more historic metal and rock bands like Van Halen and Metallica to their program. Despite possible weather conditions in the area during June, crowds of thousands of metal fans still travel to Clisson for the Hellfest festival. The organizers have 3,500 volunteers that help set up the booths and grounds for the visitors. Thee multiple days with concerts by the biggest names in the music genre of rock and metal are supported by over 1,500 technicians. In 2017, the Hellfest concert sold 55,000 tickets daily on the duration of their concert. Over four days, when the festival was held, the organizers estimated to have welcomed and entertained more than 365,000 spectators. The year 2017 also marked Hellfest at the forefront of revenue-making music festivals in France with a turnover of an astounding 20 million euros.