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.
We kicked off the day with another of my favorite French death-grinders, BENIGHTED. How can you not love them, with a wall of sound that will kick your slippers off and pig squeal and all that? The answer is simple, you have to! On top of that, I adore bands that have a blast on stage and you can tell that lads were having a great time there.
For a reason unknown to me, I felt like going to DRAGONFORCE. The contrast was stark, after the heinous gut punch that was BENIGHTED. Despite me listening to power metal profusely some time ago, which included DRAGONFORCE… I was a bit indifferent. It’s clearly not my jam anymore.
To keep ourselves in a properly gloomy mood, we went to KILLING JOKE and KREATOR next. KILLING JOKE was further homework for me, as I dig industrial metal but sadly never got into them. KREATOR, on the other hand, is a band that I’ve listened to since I was a kid, so I had to go, no question about it! Thankfully, they’re another institution that never disappoints and always delivers. Good that some things never change.
After that, we quickly popped by the MOONSPELL show, as they’ve always put on a pretty strong performance. Fernando Ribeiro always had an impressive personality on stage, which is heavily captivating.
What followed turned out to be the last gig I shot that night. I went into the queue for ALICE COOPER, not even wanting to go to MINISTRY so I wouldn’t miss my spot, so I waited for their whole concert. During pouring rain. As I’m not really a fan of Al Jourgensen, I don’t know what I hated more, being soaked or him on stage. Probably both.
When I finally got to shoot old uncle (or is it grandpa now?) Alice Cooper, I was ecstatic. It’s not often that you get to shoot such a legend, who started his career when your own mom was 7 years old. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks and kept me alive in the pit, which turned into an actual stream thanks to the rain still pouring on us.
When I left Alice’s photo pit, we ended up throwing in the towel, despite wanting to stay a bit longer. We were cold, soaked, and tired, and we could feel diseases boiling up inside. Instead, we opted for a trip back to the hotel.
Text & photos by Maria Sawicka