M for marriage, D for Depp, T for tag… the quirky ABC of Hellfest 2023

What happens at Hellfest 2023 apart from the remarkable performances of the mythical groups scheduled? Answer with an offbeat primer of this great metal meeting, which takes place in Clisson (Loire-Atlantique) until June 18.

The 16th edition of Hellfest opened on Thursday June 15 with the legendary group Kiss. M for Marriage, T for Tags, H for Hell’Debert… Here is an offbeat primer of Hellfest 2023, a festival dedicated to metal.

D like Johnny Depp and T like Tags

The Hellfest was criticized as never before despite its success (240,000 festival-goers expected until Sunday, tickets sold out in record time).

“Hellfest, denial of sexual violence” was tagged on the forecourt of Clisson station, “Hellfest, Shame” we read on a wall on the outskirts of this small town near Nantes.

The festival is thus accused of being light on the aspect of prevention against sexual and gender-based violence for past clumsy statements by its leaders. “We are aware that we have to improve”told AFP the boss of the event Ben Barbaud, who has set up a brigade of volunteers dedicated to this task.

The controversy also arose from the programming of artists prosecuted against a background of domestic violence, such as Johnny Depp, guitarist of the Hollywood Vampires, or Tommy Lee, drummer of Mötley Crüe, convicted in 1998 of domestic violence on his ex-wife Pamela Anderson. This did not prevent the festival from giving these artists an ovation on stage.

D (bis) as Déjanté, and T (bis) as Tenacious D

The Hellfest is an opulent poster of stars from the metal sphere like Kiss, Def Leppard or Iron Maiden. But humor has its place and the satirical group Tenacious D, led by American actor Jack Black (Jumanji), is also in the game. Just watch the clip of their crazy cover of wicked game of Chris Isaak to get an idea.

“I take metal extremely seriously but I make an exception with Jack Black. This guy has metal legitimacy, we saw him join the Foo Fighters and Slash on stage to cover a Led Zeppelin song“, comments for AFP Luc Frelon, programmer of the web radio Fip Metal. We also saw him alongside Metallica to pay tribute to Chris Cornell, leader of Soundgarden who died in 2017.

H, like Hell’Debert

“It was a bit of a foregone conclusion, the album should be released in March 2024”confesses to AFP Aldebert, star of the song for children who will therefore publish a disc inspired by his first love, metal, entitled Hell’Debert. Always aimed at young audiences.

We also met him with his two young sons on the Hellfest. “No, Gabin, you can’t climb on the skull”, he says to his youngest son, when the latter begins to climb this statue in the VIP area during the interview with the AFP.

M for Marriage

Hellfest is a popular venue for secular weddings for metal fans and its currents. In a dazzling white wedding dress that contrasts with the black t-shirts in force at Hellfest, Gabrielle, professor of philosophy and volunteer at the central bar of the festival, lends itself to photos and interviews.

“We met at Hellfest a year ago”she begins for AFP. “We knew we were done for, our souls linked forever. We had planned about ten people for this wedding but, when we told that, we had more people than expected”smiles her husband, Jérémy, 33 like his wife, who works in an automotive group.

M (bis) like “My way”

As per usualsung first by Claude François and became My way in Frank Sinatra’s version, is one of the most covered songs in the world.

The Hellfest did not escape this year with the reinterpretation of Billy Idol, on vocals, accompanied by former members of the Sex Pistols. All in a group called Generation Sex, a collision between the singer of Generation X and musicians from the Sex Pistols.

Nothing illogical, since Sid Vicious, bassist of the Sex Pistols (deceased in 1979), had appropriated it in 1978. That will please Jacques Revaux, composer of the original song too often forgotten in the history books.

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