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.
Geared up in rubber boots and proper rain jackets, we popped up at the grounds on the 25th, ready for both rain and sun. Take that, Hellfest weather! And we’re glad that we did, as the whole grounds turned into an adorable bog.
We started off with ELUVEITIE because they are among my all-time favorite folk bands, hands down. This was particularly thrilling, as I got to shoot them when they played “Inis Mona,” one of the songs that got me into them. This made me all warm-up and fuzzy inside.
The next choice was ARCTURUS, an avant-garde Norwegian quintet, whom I wanted to check out for some time, as I like something unusual that stands out from the crowd. What I liked about them is the playfulness of their stage antics which you don’t typically see with metal bands.
Then we moved to the neighboring stage to take some pictures of my favorite i fantasmi dell’opera, or rather, FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE. I got to shoot one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Sugar,” which slaps like no other, but damn if this one song was not enough! Like a proper sweet tooth owner, I wanted more! However, we had to dash back to shoot EPICA on the mainstage. I figured that I might not see them again for a hot minute, as I typically don’t go to festivals where they perform. So I went and I have no regrets, but as mentioned – probably won’t see them again soon.
After that, we went to see IGORRR. I was once bashed that for not being a fan of this project, so I went there to form my own opinion. Well, call me every name in the book you want, but I just don’t get the phenomenon behind this project. I liked the good energy on stage though, as it spread throughout the audience in a split second.
Then I went on NIGHTWISH, the first one after Marko’s departure for me. I never knew I could miss someone on stage THIS MUCH. As I shot “Planet Hell,” I was yearning for him when Floor was singing his parts. Just to clarify, I will never say that Floor Jansen isn’t a fantastic singer. She is, absolutely. The song just lacked Marko’s heavier counterpoint. I survived Tarja Turunen’s departure, survived the Anette Olzon phase, but I simply can’t survive Hietala’s departure. I just can’t.
I bumped into a good friend in the VIP area and we got chatting for a good moment, so the next and final gig of the day, turned out to be Finnish MOONSORROW. However, we also took a look at the GUNS ‘N’ ROSES show on the outdoor screens… oh my. Axl didn’t really sound like Axl to me, and I don’t even particularly like them! I’d be really upset if I’d pay money to wait to see them, especially as a long-time fan.
Text & photos by Maria Sawicka