Firstly I was very fortunate to even make Hellfest. I had my ears syringed and unfortunately the doctor didn’t do it correctly resulting in a perforation in my left ear drum. An infection got in which left me with a swollen face, couldn’t eat or anything and some hearing impairment which I’m hoping will heal. I was on codeine and paracetamol and 3 lots of strong antibiotics. Still, me being a stubborn me bought some pro earplugs and went on my way to France – after all I had it all booked and wasn’t going to miss out.
I initially was to write a diary-like entry on here but didn’t want to bore you all with my drivel. So here’s the festival trip in brief:
• Killer of a journey – 11 hours all told from London – Lille – Kortrijk – Clisson.
• Glorious sunshine and very impressive visuals at the festival. Arrived slightly later into the Friday – Buckcherry were on and playing ‘Crazy Bitch’. What a nice welcome
• Friday I shot – Voivod, W.A.S.P., Anthrax, Papa Roach and Down
• Hung with Parkway Drive who are awesome dudes. I think they used their meal tickets which resulted in a farting competition, initially looking really embarrassed at me when I heard the first one but I then told them it was all cool so they continued…They went on stage at 1am…yes. Thankfully they weren’t silent and deadly.
• DOWN were immense. I enjoyed taking their pictures again and sang ‘Bury me in Smoke’ to Cindy and Fanny (lovely to meet you finally Fanny, you’re ace.)
• Went up to Pepper from Down and informed him his beard was looking awesome. We then had some pictures taken together to celebrate his beardy goodness and pulled funny faces. He remembered me from last year’s promo shoot where I took MegaBeth and he told me he was excited to be having a baby boy soon. Kirk also remembered me and we had a weird chat about eyebrows. I guess they’re beards for the eyes?
Pepper + I = Funny Faces
• Anthrax were awesome. Scott Ian is a dude, since seeing Supergroup he proved how cool he is to have that much patience with Seb Bach. I like his stage moves a lot, the stage this year wasn’t so high like before (about 7ft) so I was actually able to take good pictures this year without the need to wear really high heels.
• Roy Mayorga arrived with his band Amebix late afternoon; they were excited to be supporting Killing Joke on the Saturday.
• Motley Crue headlined and didn’t allow any photographers. This was a regular occurrence on their festival trip in Europe. That really sucked as they were one of the bands I really wanted to photograph. I didn’t watch their set but heard groans from people saying it sounded awful. I wandered outside and heard Mick Mars playing ‘Little Wing’ by Hendrix. Well, not playing it, actually murdering it. I told Glen when I got back home about it; we had many whiskeys and a take away. I was telling him all about my trip and said “ahhh man, Motley Crue covered Hendrix’s ‘Chicken Wing’.” HAHAH, it may well have been chicken wing they were playing. It was bad.
• I shot – Devildriver, Amebix, The Misfits, Killing Joke, Cradle of Filth, Soulfly, Gojira, Machine Head
• I arrive at the festival and immediately go to see if my good friends Machine Head have arrived. They were crazy busy with press but we managed to have a quick catch up. Robb is sporting a beard too. I start to think that beards are the thing to have in rock bands at the moment!
• Devildriver were insane as always, I saw them at download 2007 last when they attempted the world record for the biggest ever circle pit. You can look it up on youtube. The sun had dried up the field where the crowd were, the pit started and all you could see was brown dust rising. People weren’t bothered and made themselves masks from their t-shirts, some had bought gas masks and others with them – it was such a funny sight! One guy crowd surfed in a butchers apron covered with fake blood and put it all over his face too. He neared the French security at the front and they panicked thinking it was real! The French are funny people. You would never see naked people running around at a festival in the UK. Right by the press pit there was this drunken French hunchback. He kept talking to me and I had no idea what he was on about. Maybe he wanted a picture, I should have taken one for you all to see – it was rather random.
Dust-pit during Devildriver
• After their set I had a shoot with Dez. He likes red wine so we go to the VIP bar and i get some red wine and we do the shoot for Terrorizer magazine (keep your eyes open for the feature) We hung out and had a really cool chat, he is a super cool dude and I hope to work with them again soon. Dez and I joked about making DD gasmasks for their merch. Karine from Roadrunner took this picture for me – thank you Karine!!
Dez – Devildriver likes Red Wine
• I shoot Soulfly and the bassist looks down at me and pokes his tongue out. Later I’m walking to the next stage looking through my pictures and I hear this voice “you better have made me look tall and skinny!” I look up and it’s him! I say of course, you aren’t remotely small or fat
Bobby Burns – Soulfly
• Clutch replace KMFDM on the 2nd stage – such a nice surprise. I try to watch them from side stage with Mudbilly but the French security guy wouldn’t let me as he didn’t understand what i was saying. Quel idiot!! I still find a way to dance to ‘Mob Goes Wild’
• After that I went to the VIP area where I hear saxophones and trumpets, not the usual sounds from a metal festival. I walk in and laugh. There’s a band called Pastors of the Muppets playing Fuel by Metallica on brass instruments dressed as rock stars. It was very amusing!
• I went and hung out with Al and Fiaz from Machine Head’s crew for a bit. Fiaz is their photographer. He is a complete dude and he showed me some pics he took of them on his travels. They are amazing and I’m sure you will see them somewhere soon.
Fiaz & I
• Machine Head’s set was amazing as always and the crowd went crazy. I stood on the barrier to take some crowd pics and ended up laughing at this guy with a camcorder trying to get footage of the circle pit while on his friend’s shoulders running around in the pit. Proper comedy! Straight from the set Dave McClain goes to the other stage to jam with his old band Sacred Reich. Awesome!
• Killing Joke take 2nd stage after Machine Head and in my opinion it was a big mistake! Talk about Fucking Joke! I was talking to the Gitter on blackberry and said Killing Joke just played. The guy looks like what Marilyn Manson will look like in a few years time. Funny shit. I’m horrible I know.
• Tim from Bloodsimple was with his other band Vision of Disorder in the Terrorizer tent. He got changed after the set into an Ed Stone shirt. I saw him and asked to take some pics of him in the shirt as I work for them. Paul and Debs will be happy!
Tim – Bloodsimple
• Marilyn Manson didn’t allow photographers either. I’m beginning to not understand why these headline bands aren’t allowing photographers. Stupid huh.
The final day of the festival – SUNDAY….
• I shot – Mastodon, Dragonforce, Epica, Suicidal Tendencies, Europe, Hatebreed.
• Arriving on site again from the hotel and grabbing breakfast – more melon!!
• Bumped into Mark from Death Angel who was on a day off from on tour. He was mainly spending time at the buffet table. He’s a good laugh.
• Steve from Suicidal Tendencies was also by the buffet table. No surprise really as they were playing at 9:55pm. They arrived mid morning and were given only 1 meal ticket each to last them the whole day. Oops. Steve also had a beard too, last time I saw him was at download 2007 sans beard. It really is the festival of beardyness. Or maybe I just miss Glen.
• Dragonforce and their usual antics on stage result in customised microphone stands with beer holders avec pink straws. Only they could do that.
• Simone gets ready for the stage and looks beautiful as always. I did a quick shoot with her just before Epica went on stage.
• Europe takes the stage and everyone waits for The Final Countdown. The rest of their set was actually pretty fucking good. They save that track for last and it leaves everyone backstage going around singing or humming it for the rest of the evening.
• Last days of festivals are always crazy fun. A very merry Brent from Mastodon walked around with half a bottle of red wine in one hand and his dinner in a Tupperware container in the other, telling everyone “here, hold this; this is my dinner – heavy isn’t it.” Haha.
Napalm Death had a poodle party
We all had a good laugh; Brent then tried to trash Hatebreed’s dressing room resulting in Steve from Suicidal getting hit on the head with a metal support beam and Jamey just laughing his ass off at the whole thing – Hatebreed had a stressful journey and didn’t think they were going to make it to the festival, so I think they were happy of some laughs before stage. Steve then found a really big bogie up his nose and asked me to photograph it (I won’t put that picture up). There was comparing of beer bellies, group hugs, and Cindy and I were asked to be pretend band members of Suicidal and do a pretend promo shoot.
Suicidal Tendencies & Marie
• Manowar headlined and of course there were no photographers again. Unless you were contracted this time. But they forgot to tell people about the contracts. I will forget about that though, and end on the high of Hatebreed. They headlined for me.
• Stole a pillow from Mastodon’s dressing room so I could sleep on the 8 hour car ride back to Kortrijk overnight. Sorry Hellfest. It was a nice pillow though There wasn’t too much room in the car so Cindy slept in the trunk
Mega thanks to Uxjx for driving his car for so long and being an absolute star!!!
Here are my favourite photos from the 3 day festival, hope you like them
Hellfest – France Day 1.
Top-Bottom: Anthrax, Papa Roach, Voivod, DOWN, W.A.S.P, Anthrax.
Hellfest – France Day 2.
Top-Bottom: Amebix, Gojira, Soulfly, Misfits, Soulfly, Killing Joke, Cradle of Filth, DevilDriver, Cradle of Filth
Hellfest – France Day 3.
Top-Bottom: Dragonforce, Epica, Europe, Suicidal Tendencies, Mastodon, Dragonforce, Europe, Suicidal Tendencies