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Hellfest, located in Clisson, France, is one of the biggest heavy metal festivals in Europe.

The festival runs annually, usually for three days in the middle of June. But this year (2022) it was something special. The festival ran for whole seven days with music. It was the extended 15th anniversary edition.

I have arrived to the festival one day before the festival site was to open. When you arrive to the area, where the festival is being held, you are being totally blown away. You see the huge camping site, then you move forward to get your wristband and you find yourself at something called HellCity - a square located between the campsite and the festival site. You feel like you literally are at a small town made only for metal heads. There was a barber, a record shop, a small market, shops with amazing clothes that matches the festival spirit, and a Harley Davidson shop, where you can try and sit on a pretty cool Harley! You can also sneak a peek at the entrance of the festival area, which looks like a huge cathedral. All this experience is already giving you plenty of butterflies in your stomach and a great feeling of bliss. However, you know that you haven’t seen anything yet.

The festival wristband that you get, has a little plastic chip on it, and it functions like a credit card. You put money on it through the Hellfest app and then you can pay with the wristband everywhere on the camping and festival site. It is very easy to insert the money on your account and also to get them back.

The camping site is so huge, that you can easily get lost in it. Luckily it is divided by different, colored towers and there are plenty of nice people who will always help you to find the way. When you enter the camping site, you are given different garbage bags for garbage segregation, which regularly are picked up from your camp, by people working on the camping site. So, the camping site is fairly clean. My personal favorite on the camping site was something I have never seen before at any other festival I have been to. There was a tent designed for women's urinal. Just before the entrance to the tent, there stood a couple of very sweet ladies, who sold something called ‘’a shewee’’. For those who do not know what it is – it is a female, portable urination device, which makes it easier for women to pee while standing. At Hellfest camping site, they have designed an area, where women could go and try it in privacy. For me it was a game changer, when I had to go to the toilet in the morning. Instead of waiting in kilometer-long queues for the ‘’normal’’ toilets, I could go to the women's urinal tent and pee like a man! I must admit that it really made a big impression on me, and it only shows that Hellfest takes the matter of gender inequality seriously! It might seem like a small matter, but it is a huge deal and big game changer for women at a festival! I only wish that they also had installed something like that on the festival area, where the toilets were difficult to be found in a first place. Maybe next year?

But now… for the most important part – the festival area.
When you get through the entrance which looks like a huge cathedral, you are being stunned again. The festival is so huge, with so many cool elements, that you cannot believe your eyes. Are you at a festival or a metalhead wonderland?

The festival area consists of:
- 7 different stages, which are divided according to the metal music genre. 2 of the stages are the main stages of the festival, located in the center of the festival area, next to each other, where the headliners perform.
- A Ferris Wheel, where you can see the entire festival site from above.
- WarZone, a special place at the festival, which is dedicated to punk and hardcore music.
- Kingdom of Muscadet, a place at the festival where you can buy really good wine for a good price.
- Plenty of merch shops.
- Plenty of bars with great diversity of special beers.
- An amazing food court with loads of vegetarian and vegan options.
- V.I.P area with a swimming pool.
- A huge Lemmy statue holding a cigar, which lights up during the night, and a little smoke also comes out, as if Lemmy smokes the cigar.

Besides that, there have been many other elements that just have made this heavy festival also a beautiful festival.

Anyone who is even slightly interested in heavy metal festivals in Europe, or just heavy metal music general, knows that Hellfest is known for a festival with ’’some of the best lineups on the entire European scene’’ (Metalinjection). Hellfest always delivers the best bands, both the well-known established bands, but also the newest gems on the metal scene. This year Hellfest has even overcome itself. Two weekends, seven days of music with bands like: Metallica, Guns’n’Roses, Nine Inch Nails, Scorpions, Deftones, Faith No More, Alice Cooper, Avatar, In Extremo, Opeth, Black Label Society, Gojira, Nightwish, Deep Purple and the list continues. Nevertheless, there also were artist as Jerry Cantrel (from Alice in Chains), Igorrr, Tribulation, Fejd, Eluveitie and Alien Weaponry.

There was simply everything, for every metal/rock music taste to satisfy. Add an amazing glass of wine or a special beer and you will find yourself at a heavy-heaven and hell, of course! That is what Hellfest 2022 experience has been to me. I 100 % recommend and I totally agree with those who say that Hellfest is a festival you must visit before you die!


Writer: Karolina Pepel
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