It wasn't just Glastonbury to be a wash out at the end of June. Over in France the country's leading metal festival Hellfest also saw heavy rain throughout the weekend, meaning bands had to be cancelled, and headliner Korn pulled out claiming the event's organizers didn't provide adequate protection for their equipment. Hellfest have responded by threatening the band with legal action.

For those who didn't fancy Download, or felt like catching an event on the continent, Hellfest was as good a bet as any. As well as Korn, its line up boasted Slayer, Lamb of God, Mastodon and Machine Head.

Room Thirteen photographer Gemma Shaw headed off to get a metal fix French style, read her account of the weekend and her thoughts on Hellfest below:

Hellfest, Clisson, France (near Nantes)

Despite the constant rain and muddy fields Hellfest was a great weekend.

We got to the campsite on Thursday evening and set up and then the rain started so we went to a pub. The nearest one being a 1 hour walk away!


The music was supposed to start at 1 but they had problems as a generator on the main stage caught fire, meaning we were waiting outside the gates until 4 - in the rain, again!

When we finally made it in we learnt that Lamb of God weren't to play,
I was gutted as I was especially looking forward to seeing them. Apparently they turned up, were ready to play and no one told them what was happening or when they would be on so they left, which is fair enough on them. All other bands before them were cancelled due to the generator problem.

Hellfest went for the quite clever idea of putting a band on the Main Stage, then when they finish there was a band straight away on the slightly smaller Gibson Stage. Immediately as they finished another band would start back on the Main Stage and so on... I thought this was cool because, unlike say Reading Festival it means less waiting around as there's always something happening. You never find yourself hanging about in the same spot for half an hour or more while the bands change their equipment.

The wait outside the gate meant I missed Misery Index. Saw five minutes of Chimaira, but left due to sound being awful.

Unearth were excellent on the Gibson Stage, before the move over to Mastodon on the Main Stage, who were having trouble with equipment and sound not
working properly. You could see they were getting annoyed but they did play well even though it didn't sound great.

One of day one's highlights was Earth Crisis back on the Gibson Stage. Hear the sound had been sorted and was excellent. They were an amazing hardcore (straight-edge) band who have only recently got back together. Ten out of ten for their show - full of energy and the crowd loved it even if there was torrential rain during their set.

Hatebreed on the Main Stage played good straight forward hardcore, which was nothing special but benefited from the sound on this stage slowly getting better!

Brutal Truth impressed as a really good grindcore/ metal band, but then it was all about Machine Head. They put in a perfect performance as usual, for the ladies Rob Flynn looking as hot as ever!

Slayer were excellent playing 'Angel of Death' my personal favourite song.

Korn pulled out & refused to play. I don't think anyone was upset about this.


The day began for me with Vader, who are a pretty cool French metal band and went down well with the locals.

Finnish folk/ metal band Korpiklaani are a band you wouldn't think works but it does. the kind of band you can headbang then do a jig to. Check them out for yourself at Bloodstock Open Air in August.

Another French act in Kickback were next, although this time a hardcore band. their CDs sound wicked but live they just don't seem to cut it

The brilliant Brujeria are a Mexican fronted metal band dressed in bandanas. When finishing their set they walked out to the Macarena song slightly altered to say "marajuana" instead, thoroughly entertaining!

Others to impress on day two were Walls of Jericho, girl fronted hardcore band and Napalm Death.

The cheese metal of Immortal were less impressive, and Type O Negative were very bad. Their front man getting stressed about things not sounding perfect and twiddling with things throughout the set, then just standing in front of the mic for the rest of the hour made them boring to watch and not connect with the crowd at all.


Moho got the final day off to a great start. They were in the small tent on the Discover Stage; an unknown band to me but they reminded me of Isis or Neurosis style music.

Converge were the best band of the day. Jacob Bannon has an amazing stage presence which draws everyone in and the crowd went mental! Their set wasn't half as long as it should have been

Megadeth were great on the Main Stage, the crowd loved them. They played all the classics except my fav 'Sweating Bullets'!

When Neurosis played the heavens opened and it bucketed down constantly for their whole hour set. Most of the fans stuck it out though, hypnotised by the music in a way that; Neurosis have a habit of doing to you. They're always wicked live and this time their visuals on a screen on the backdrop only added to the moment. I was dripping wet by the end of the set (and now have a full blown cold) but it was worth it!

The Festival Itself

Inside the festival there was a limited amount of food. There only being baguettes, chips, skanky kebabs, a 5 euro watery smoothie and churros (kinda like doughnuts), so take your own if you can. If you are veggie or vegan you will be living on chips the whole weekend. The food there makes you appreciate the selection and quality of food available at the likes of Reading and Leeds.

Toilets were interesting. They were made of a bucket in a hole with a toilet seat on top where you queued for half an hour to receive a pan of sawdust which was given to you to put on top of your 'waste' instead of flushing.

Overall I'd rate the weekend as an 8/10 - the festival might have been a bit of a mud bath, quite a walk away from town and not have very good food or toilets but the bands made up for it. For a metal fan this was a perfect line up.

The people are really friendly and we made some good friends over there. Hopefully next year it won't rain quite so much.