Hellfest is a rock festival held yearly in a small town in rural France called Clisson. Surrounded by vineyards and rolling country side this picturesque location seems at odds with the metal music scene, except, the town accepts it so warmly that it would seem odd to hold it anywhere else after attending it once.
Ben Barbaud is in the 11th year of Hellfest, He originally started a festival called “Fury Festival” and in 2006 he decided to evolve the festival into the festival you all know and love called Hellfest. We had the pleasure to sit down with Ben and ask him some questions about the History of Hellfest.
Ben’s original interest in the music scene started when he was “approximately 15 years old”. Ben said “I started to be a drummer, but it was not so good. I was a punk hard-core fan and I listened to Bad Brains, & Dead Kennedys for many hours. When I was a teenager I was looking to participate as a singer, because the do it yourself attitude was very important in my eyes.”
“So when I started to be a musician, and I saw that I was a bad musician, I decided to organise some club shows in bars around Clisson and then it was France year after year. I met a lot of people, they asked me to participate, and we built a strong crew here in Clisson.”
“Then we started a festival called fury fest in the past. And then we came back here to Clisson, my city, to start Hellfest year after year. I cannot explain why this festival is so big right now."
Ben has had a lot of setbacks throughout his festival career, he told us that his greatest setback was in the “second edition 1o years ago, because we had a lot of margins, we did not have the same money to organise everything well. And so it’s the first year I saw every volunteers working here at Hellfest, you know. Big, strong, and with honour. So we saved the festival with this way of working. And it was a really impressive year. Throughout the history Hellfest we have seen a lot of ups and downs and we admire Ben’s Persistence and attitude to making this festival succeed. Time and Time again Ben has proved that the “do it yourself attitude is very important”
Unfortunately Hellfest are not going to send this festival internationally, however they are “In touch with some big promoters in different countries” so Hellfest are “looking at the different options they have in America and Europe. We will see in the future if we can’t find a good deal to make this happen. To be honest I am not sure if this is realistic.” The operations and logistics to move this festival on an international scale would be “really difficult and it would cost a lot so we are waiting for to find a strong partner.”
Ben does not know where the future lies for his Festival, as they “Have no limits, so if the audience are still strong with Hellfest, and if people love the festival year after year, we will offer more and more and more and more.” Twinmusix are very happy about this attitude for this festival. We are amazed with the headliners that attend the festival every year with bands such as Aerosmith, Motorhead and Rammstein just to name a few. The sell-out crowds, of 150,000 plus, due to the attention to detail, this three day festival has exceeded every expectation we have had. We are excited to follow the festival and see how it will expand over the following years.
With the festival running for 11 years Ben the voice behind Hellfest, Roger (who was instrumental in getting us press passes this year) who conducted the event and assisted with the layout, the volunteers that assist running the festival and all the fans that attend the festival Hellfest will continue for many years to come and may even continue on an international scale.
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