Hellfest promoters did not mess around in 2022. After a 2-year break for obvious reasons, they wanted to make this edition special, not only because it was the return after the pandemic hit, but also because it was the fifteenth edition. They decided to invite most of the biggest names in the business and their mothers, who all said, “yes, I will absolutely Hellfest this year.” We wanted to Hellfest too! The second part took place over June 23rd through 26th in Clisson, France.
Let us waste no time as we have 4 days to go through! Hellfest part two, bonjour!
After getting back from our lovely getaway, we returned to Nantes and after some accommodation issues (did you know that French people do siesta, like the Italians and Spanish? Well, I DIDN’T) we arrived at the grounds to see our first band that day, UFO. We chose them, as we didn’t really know when we would have an opportunity to see these lads again.
What followed was TRIBULATION for me, as I have again a soft spot for Swedish horror rockers and later on, we visited ZEAL & ARDOR, as we were genuinely curious about their live performance. This blend of genres was executed by them absolutely flawlessly and worked seamlessly. We will definitely try to hunt them down at other, smaller concerts.
We headed after that to the WHITESNAKE queue. David Coverdale was in dope shape, rocking the catwalk and interacting with the public at all times. I really wish I could have been able to shoot them for a few more songs, so I could have gotten some more opportunities to shoot David Coverdale, Joel Hoekstra, and Tanya O’Callaghan on the catwalk.
Then we went to quickly see SÓLSTAFIR because I have an unbreakable affinity for them. What happened next was HELLOWEEN on the main stage. I got to shoot the “Metal Invaders” medley without Michael Kiske or Andi Deris, but no worries though, I got plenty of time in the pit (13 minutes!) to shoot the rest of the gang, with Kai Hansen at the forefront. I was happy as a pig in shit, as HELLOWEEN helped me to capture some of my favorite shots from the festival.
After that, I dashed back to see one of my all-time favorite bands, which is SEPTICFLESH. Despite their new release being slightly underwhelming for me, I still wanted to see them on stage, especially since they brought Sotiris Vayenas (the second vocalist who does clean vocals) to the gig, whom I have never seen perform live with them – can’t omit that, since I grew up chomping on their “Sumerian Daemons” and “Communion” albums as young’un.
Subsequently, we went to see HEILUNG, as we can never get enough of them. I’m pretty sure that I got hexed by their hypnotic music at some point and now I’m conditioned to go to each and every gig I possibly can. I will only say that I’m absolutely fine with that. There is no such thing as feeling sick from their music for me.
We weren’t allowed to shoot SCORPIONS sadly, but I managed to enjoy part of their concert, which is always neat. They’re almost an institution and they never disappoint.
I finished up with WARDRUNA who had almost as strong an impact as HEILUNG. With their music being less tribal and more Norse in its core, they almost transported the whole festival to different times and places. The Norwegians left us wanting to see more of them, so we will definitely try to hunt them down again.
Text & photos by Maria Sawicka