Hellfest was amazing this year, despite the 48 hour drain of driving all the way there in two vans, one for the stage gear and one for Daniel, Paul, James, myself and our Monitor guy Pete. It was pretty horrific in all fairness, but in a really good way.
Leaving Ipswich at half past four with our former tour manager Steve Page at the proverbial helm and driver Andy in the hot seat, I winked in and out of existence until we hit Dover, where we took an early ferry and a hearty English breakfast across to Calais, our second step towards Clisson and Hellfest 2013.
Incidentally it was also the Le Mans 24 hour endurance race this weekend (sod 24 hour, we were on a 48 hour endurance marathon!) and the motorways were peppered with flashy sports cars and unpredictable bouts of inclement weather, all the way across France.
Eight hours later we arrived with the sun and a totally dry festival site, having navigated some very twisty county lanes and knocking a 4x4 off of three of its wheels when we accidentally forced it in a small ditch! Even the driver saw the funny side...
The festival itself was great, with so many bands playing, though our day was the last of the weekend. Still, there was plenty of time to hook up with old friends (Tom and Rob from Temple Of The Black Moon are here with their respective other bands...), as too is Big Martin -our usual tour manager- who is working this weekend for Phil Anselmo and Down.
Floating about the backstage area I manage to bump into Jason Newsted, The guys from Voivod, Danzig (though he is a little flippant), Volbeat, Ghost (yes I know his true identity!!!) Down, Corey Taylor, Johnny Kelly, and Graveyard amidst others and what's left of the afternoon is passed very pleasantly, with a lengthy TV interview squeezed in for good measure.
Stage time is five minutes to midnight, so we're getting prepared whilst Danzig and Ghost are on (typically) and then it's off to the huge tent to headline the Temple tent to around fifteen thousand punters, at midnight and under a full moon...
And what a great show it is... The sound is awesome, the stage lighting is amazing and the crowd are pretty fucking wild considering they've been here all weekend and we are practically the last band of the whole shebang. We only have an hour to play, but we make sure we cram as much of the good stuff in as possible before returning to the dressing room to swiftly pack, before hitting the bar and mingling with friends and fiends alike.
Not to bore you with the rest of the details, but we left the site at approximately 2 in the morning to head to Nantes and a well-deserved hotel, with the next day being another twelve hour door-to-door travel adventure involving driving through the beautiful French countryside, the return boat ride fleshed with various Hellfestians and Le Mans fans, before dispensing with people on the road back to Ipswich.
So all in all a fantastic weekend, unmarred by bad weather, bad people or sound. With that in mind I would say it was some sort of triumph!
Next plop. Sofia in Bulge Area.
Sounds like a love song.
Best, Dani Filth.
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