22 – 24 JUNE, HELLFEST, CLISSON – FRANCE

My first festival abroad and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, gathering my thoughts on my return I have learnt a lot about culture, language barriers and myself.

Setting off from Stansted Airport, London the weather was beautiful. Talita, Rachel and I were all in high spirits and even met some UK festival go-ers on the plane!

We land in France and the weather is blustery and threatening. We were met by JP one of Talita’s friends and were taken to the festival location to meet the crew and set up the press area. Nicely decorated with decking, funky lights and felt floor decorations – the art guys there did a very good job. It was a shame that in the next hour it would all be totally ruined. With torrential rain, in a matter of moments, the place was flooded. Talita, Rachel and I had to pull up all the felt decorations and sweep the water out of the press area to save the electric cables that were running for the laptops etc.

The French were not happy. Rachel and I have no idea what they said, but Talita tried to appease them while they shouted and pointed, then stormed off. Not a good start to the festival.

We had catering, went back to JP’s and got a good night’s sleep.

First day of the festival was as wet as the day before. The mud was already very apparent and any chance of nice footwear not an option. Look at the mud in the background of this picture!

Rachel and I manned the press section and made sure bands had checked in and journalists collected their allotted times with the bands. I had arranged with them to go and shoot a few bands throughout the day. Things didn’t go according to plan though. The French serve wine with breakfast. Something that us “Brit’s” aren’t used to and it went straight to my head! Free booze is never a good thing and I knew I would pay for it.

I photographed Chimaira, and then went back to the press area to be told that Machine Head had arrived. I was asked to do some filming by their crew as well as take some pics from side of the stage.

To celebrate afterwards, I drank some more. Oh dear.

Slayer took the stage and I was very happy to be photographing Kerry King – a guitar icon who I met at Download about a week ago. A teddy bear as I said before, but on stage, a monster!

KoRn were supposed to headline that night but left earlier in the day without telling anyone. Talita would have to announce over the microphone that they weren’t going to play and Adam and Phil from Machine Head wouldn’t let her go out there and announce that as the crowd would most certainly bottle her. So they went out to announce it.

Everyone was obviously disappointed and went about the rest of the stages and drank some more, including Rachel and I.

Saturday I was ill in bed. I didn’t go to the festival and was feeling extremely sorry for myself and angry that I ruined an opportunity. I missed so many bands and didn’t take any pictures. I thought long and hard about my career that day and made a decision to not drink again when I am working – festival or not. Work is work.

Sunday I woke – much better, clearer and focussed. A bit like the weather as the storms had cleared and we actually had some sunshine. So much so, people got a weekend’s worth of sunburn in a few hours!

Arriving at the festival that day was a big change. Everyone was enjoying the setup there (which was specifically designed for the sunshine and not the previous 2 days weather); skateboarding, sitting on the cube lights outside, drinking at the fabric covered hammocks by the bar…much better.
Within Temptation had arrived – and so had their HUGE tour bus!

We have some breakfast and Jamie from Biomechanical was messing around using a plastic teaspoon as a monocle to peruse the stage line up for the day and Rachel played around on the great transport they had at the venue

I had a shoot in the early afternoon with Ephel Duath for Earache Records. I snapped them for their live set and then some promos. The sun was SO strong that their eyes kept watering. It was also difficult to communicate with them as they spoke little English. But seemed like very nice guys.

My final pics were of Megadeth and Dream Theater.

Then off to the press area to have a nice cup of tea and chill out until we left for a good night sleep before our flight home.

We went into the little town there and ordered crepes and freshly made cider for breakfast. I hadn’t had crepes before and was never a keen cider drinker but Talita assured me it was good – and she was right. A nice end to the journey.

At the airport we had a group photo taken and went on our way home.

About the Author:
Marie Korner is an internationally published photographer, with over a decade of experience. She has an insatiable love for collecting skulls & vintage items. A wife, mother of two, and occasional foul mouth in a pint-sized package.


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