HELLFEST 2014 - Where I have a great time.
ONGOING REAL HELL - GAZA and other places all over the world where shit happens.
Remember them in your thoughts and prayers. Maybe if you feel like supporting in any way you can or want to, there are ways to do it, You Know What To Do.
The pretty colourful Hellfest carousel ferris wheel.
Nope I didnt take the ride. But I saw some photos from top from a Hellfest-goer who took the ride, it was very nice view.
One of the big problems I encountered while I was doing some homework on the Hellfest trip,
- was the lack of detailed information on the internet in English (with supporting photos to give a better idea and imagination)
- when I was thinking of travelling alone to Hellfest without any knowledge of French language, French Railway and transportation, city of Nantes, town of Clisson and the environment of Hellfest itself.
So here it is my Crash-Course Guide to travelling alone, cost incurred, the many mistakes I made which hurts my limited backpacking budget and my time, the time taken to travel, and everything else - to Hellfest Clisson France using public transport of trains from the city of Paris, to Nantes and travelling on to Clisson train station and then taking the transportation provided to Hellfest site.
Also how to travel daily if you choose not to camp at the Hellfest campsite and prefer to stay at Nantes, and most importantly how to travel back to Nantes at the end of every night of Hellfest and the transportation and cost incurred using the Hellfest transportations provided.
I will be using numeric points. take note there is other alternatives, but I decide on these...based on my budget and my very limited time to backpack to two different countries (France & Serbia) and three different cities. (As usual click all photos to enlarge it).
1) Train Ticket for the high speed TGV train from city of Paris to city of Nantes can be bought THREE months in advance thru the internet, and I think that is when its at its cheapest. Chances are there is also a ticketing representative of French Railway in your country or a neighbouring country. There is one right here in Singapore and I got the ticket delivered to me the next day after I purchased it online. I think the Singapore office also support the Malaysian market.
If you are early, the price of the RGV train ticket is about 34 EURO one direction and the price for 1st class and 2nd class could be similar.
It will take you about slightly more than 2hrs for the train trip from Paris to Nantes. You have to take this RGV train at Gare Montparnasse station, the station is very huge (REMEMBER THE MR BIG ALBUM COVER LEAN ON IT?? with the derailed Locomotive?? This is the station I believed, funny thing is when I came back from Nantes, I walked outside the station to look for that derailed loco coming out of the wall LOL!!).
NEGATIVE POINT FOR ME is that I really have a horrible time finding my seat once I locate the train that I am supposed to take, as I cannot distinguished which train carriage is my coach, so for two times, I had sat on the right seat number but on the wrong coach. It did gives me a bit of stress trying to understand the seating and coach arrangement and having to do it quick as the train is leaving, all the while carrying my backpack and also not understanding French.
Luckily, wearing flip-flops slippers has a calming effect LOL!!. It did attract attention because people over there all wear proper shoes.
Anyway, it is my own fault, as I was not prepared for this trip. I should have tried to learn more French rather than the most basic greetings, thank you's and goodbyes.
2) Nantes Train Station – Nantes train station is strategically located in Nantes because just opposite of the train station is a stretch of road with all the food, drinks and all the lodgings places that you need plus a tram station to travel around Nantes though I never took a ride on it as I was comfortable enough to just walk and walk exploring Nantes (more of that next time).
I am so glad Halal Muslim food run by some Morocco and Algeria is available 24hours on this stretch. Though I cannot be expected to eat Kebab and its same genre kind of food that often. More pictures of the food next time in other post about food on my travels this time.
There is so much of that kind of food that I can take. Seriously.
NO, NO RICE!!! hahahahaa. They dont really eat rice like us. I mean like us in South East Asia.
So lets eat fruits instead and I have a good stock of dates, and vitamin C pastilles in my bag all the time.
A short walk and you are then into the huge shopping, historical attractions, MEDIEVAL CASTLES WITH MOATS!!!!!, and food and beverages main area of Nantes. So It Is Not A Problem At All. I really love this Nantes.
Next time I will blog on my exploration by walking all over the Nantes City for more than 5 hours, just walking by myself. It is very beautiful, I really say its so beautiful, the weather was amazing in Nantes, everyone seems kind-looking LOL!! and I feel safe even when I lost my way thru the maze of the backlanes of homes.
You can find Muslim food shops during your exploration, more of that next time, I will show you a beautiful little shop in a street I found when I was exploring, and losing my way and sense of direction a few times, but yes, Nantes is amazing environment in my view. I would think its worth exploring if you love exploring and travel adventures by yourselves.
Anyway, lets say it again, I choose to stay in Nantes and travel daily to Hellfest in Clisson.
3) Irregardless, for everyone, once you arrived at Nantes, you will need to take a train to the village of Clisson.
I may not know French, and the train ticket machine that I used is only in French, but it is actually quite simple once you play around with it, you can guess that the machine will ask for your departure station and your destination station, all you have to do is play with the lever joystick, then you just click some “oui” for yes, and YOU CAN PAY IT BY CREDIT CARD, and it is user-friendly, there is no need for any pin-number, you just slot your credit card into the machine for a few minutes that is all. I have no issue at all when I returned after the trip and check my credit card bill.
A MISTAKE I MADE HERE – I bought a to and fro ticket, which cost me 11.60 EURO, when I should have just buy a one direction travel. This is because, once Hellfest finished for the night, there wont be any more train service. Silly me.
You use this machine, and above is how the ticket looks like.
THE duration of the train travel from Nantes station to Clisson station will take you about 50 minutes long. On weekdays and Saturday there should be a reasonable amounts of trains departures but not on Sunday, like I tell my stories on a few postings ago about Powerwolf, I was at the Nantes train station at about 1.30PM, but I got a shock when I realised the next train to Clisson from Nantes on Sunday is at about 4PM.
As I don’t want to miss a few bands I like as seriously this is a rare chance for me to see some of these bands who play in the afternoon and early evening, and I dont bother to locate (if any), a van transportation from Nantes train station to Hellfest (Yes, I may make a mistake here!!), so I took a taxi and it cost me 90euro for a 30 minutes ride, and even then, it can only alight me at the first security check point of Hellfest, so I have to walk a distance to reach the roundabout of the ACDC guitar.
SO PLEASE TAKE NOTE of this to save your own ass if you're a lazy fucker who cannot wake up early in Nantes, especially for Sunday's Hellfest. So lets BLAME IT ON CARCASS and the TIMETABLE FOR Carcass PLAYING STARTING at 1AM the night before.
Anyway, the train ride itself to Clisson is so scenic. Its a very beautiful environment. Clisson is actually a wonderful place to explore. I got a chance to see their old castles..more of that next time.
4) Arriving at Clisson Train Station.
Once you arrived at Clisson Train Station, you will notice this vans lining up outside the train station. It will cost 2 EURO per person. The Hellfest transport will alight you at the roundabout of Hellfest. Or you can walk...see point 11 later.
This is the roundabout for alighting and boarding for authorised vehicles at Hellfest.
I don't know if non-authorised vehicles can reach all the way here.
If thats the case, you just have to walk extra to reach here. Not a problem really unless you are late for Powerwolf, and you never ran as fast as when you take fitness test during your Full Time National Service and then Reservist. LOL!!!!! but still failed. haha..
Its a long way to the top if you wanna rock n roll - ACDC
I think thats the scribe on the huge guitar here if I still remember.
Now that Hellfest can afford Iron Maiden and is big enough for Iron Maiden, its matter of time really to get ACDC and Metallica to headline the mainstream main stages LOL!!
5) First time entering Hellfest to check and validate your ticket, collect the wrist tag, and the security checks to enter the Hellfest site. As its the first day of the festival, so the queue is quite long,
First they will scan your ticket barcode, then they will provide you a wrist tag which a staff will kind of punch and clamp to secure it at the metal parts so you cannot remove it from your wrist. Fancy stuff.
But Water can still go thru your wrist and skin, and the tag is not damaged by water even after 3 days, IF YOU GET WHAT I MEAN.
in fact I only cut the wrist tag after 4 days when I arrived back in Paris to see Extreme play at Le Bataclan.
6) Then you enter the big square with lots of shopping attraction, take note this is still not the actual Hellfest site for all the 6 stages yet, this is just another zone,
Anything you can ever imagine in the world of rock n roll and metal. I absolutely am in awe of the Hellfest Extreme Market where its so exciting on the range of items on sale.. From all kinds of music releases, and mostly I have never seen before, in different formats of cds, tapes, vinyls, boxsets to clothes to all kind of merchandise.
All kinds of releases really, from heaven and hell LOL!!
I HAVE A QUICK WALK AROUND AND AS FAST AS POSSIBLE I WALK AWAY, AND NEVER CAME BACK!! BECAUSE I AM AFRAID I WILL SPEND MONEY BECAUSE LIKE I SAY ITS A ROCK N ROLL AND METAL SHOPPING PARADISE.
There is a bridge that links you to the camping site of Hellfest, but I never foray till across that bridge. But all the facilities are in place, ATMs money cash dispensing machines, handphone mobile chargers and bath and toilet facilities.
On the way back from Nantes to Paris, I did have a chat with those who camp at Hellfest, so I did get some good info like, the bathrooms will be crowded at about 10 morning, so its wise to wake up very early, bath, use the toilet, and the sleep again, and you are already cleaned and ready to see the first band at about 11 morning.
7) Then you have to go thru another check point!!!! to really access the huge music site itself, it was so crowded on the very first day morning, it looks kind of like this. But on the 2nd and 3rd day the crowd is gone, as I am LATE on both Saturday and Sunday LOL!!!.
On this photo of my first day, PATIENCE IS VIRTUE. As long I can make it for Impiety then Satan, I am fine LOL!! Both early birds on the first day, if you had read my previous postings regarding Hellfest.
Next photo, everyone was having fun inside, and I am like "STAR KARAT", I am late...I missed a lot of good bands I had really want to see.... REALLY A BIT OF SAD A BIT haha.
Ohhhh the security will check your bag if you carry any, frisk you a bit, anyway, they do not stop you from bringing in water. For your Information TO ensure my budget is manageable for this trip, (AND YOU GUYS CAN CALL my tight spending SAD AND PATHETIC BUT I DONT FUCKIN CARE), I bought from Nantes 1.5 litres drinking water. Because its very expensive at Hellfest.
**** *** Please take note, one important you have to bring along is the TIMETABLE.
Six Stages, 150 bands across three days from about 10AM to 2AM.
The timetable is very very important.
* Whether you print out the timetables (make sure its as latest as possible, or you create your own or whatsoever but its neccessary.
8) At Hellfest to buy food you can use your cash. But for drinks and mostly the beverage of choice from what I see are the Alcoholic ones, or soft drinks, orange juice, red bull and drinking water, you have to use tokens like this. Looks like credits token and you have to change it at the Hellfest bank counters. Just to give you an idea, the cheapest is drinking water which will be two tokens where each token is equivalent to one Euro. A Red Bull is about 3.5 tokens (yes the token can be split into half).
Food, there is a reasonable amount of food choices and there are plenty of food stalls and dessert stalls, but myself being a Muslim, I did have a problem in selecting the food I can eat.
The white tents are some of the food stalls, but it stretches to the other side also...
Fortunately, I found that there is one Vegetarian Only Stall which only sell organic food, so I guess I can eat that, so I did try some rice with vegetables.
The taste was so weird, but at least it helps fill my empty stomach.
You do tend to get hungry and thirsty often in this environment...
YES FROM ALL THESE PHOTOS THE PLACE IS REALLY "HELL"FEST. Its hot and dusty and its very bad by the 3rd day as 150,000 total attendance for 3 days trampled the dust, the worst was the tents with no proper ventilation.Not good for health really if you stay non-stop in the altar and temple tents.
PLEASE TAKE NOTE, actually there are drinking points available... if you want free water, but I did not go there and try to taste the water so I dont know how its like.
Toilets, lets say I prefer the Download Festival ones... For Hellfest ones, its like those bins and whatsoever, but then its the ermmm flooding if you get what I mean on the grass near the area you have to look out for.
9) Merchandise, like I say earlier in my other Hellfest postings, the Hellfest Merchandise is prominently located.
There is actually another stand which solely sells the participating bands merchandise and it is at a corner near Main stage.
So don't get too excited and blow all your money on the Hellfest Merchandise, BECAUSE YOU MAY FORGET THE EXISTENCE OF THE PARTICIPATING BANDS MERCHANDISE FURTHER AWAY, as the bands merchandise are nice too and some bands create special tshirts just for Hellfest or the French tour. Anyway, three seperate days means each day the merchandise sold for the bands varies. So its wise to check out the bands merchandise stall daily and try to be early. I think I had talked more about the merchandise on the Dark Angel etc Hellfest review earlier... Ooo I still have not pasted the Maiden tshirt and Hellfest tshirts yet, I only posted the special edition Dark Angel Hellfest one. Maybe next time.
It cost about 20-25 euro for a tshirt if I remember correctly..but there are variety of merchandise especially the Hellfest ones from cheap to super expensive ones Not bad really I wish I can spend more LOL!!!
10) Now comes to the situation that was worrying for me when I was making this trip...
HOW DO I GO BACK TO NANTES AT THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT FROM HELLFEST?
Anyway, there is definitely no more train service from Clisson, even if you walk to Clisson train station at night...
Mind you the weather at night is very cold for me coming from South East Asia, so its not as easy as just sleeping anywhere on the road side.
I find the temperature did fluctuate a lot between day and night at Hellfest, or is it because, once the festival ends for the night, the crowd disperse so there is not much body heat surrounding me too? LOL!!
So a bit of info that I personally encounter,
- on the first night I decide to leave Hellfest at about midnight,
- on the second night, Carcass finished at 0200 AM so I left at that time,
- and on the 3rd night, I decide to leave Hellfest at one in the morning after Black Sabbath.
- on the first night, once I reach the roundabout, I did not see any transport or any Queue, then I saw a white Hellfest Van, fortunately, I understand the pronounciation of the word NANTES in French, I thought at first it was "Nan-Test", but its actually a bit like "nuns". So once the driver was speaking in French and he utter that Nantes words, I raised my hand to say I want to board his van and was the last one onboard. Lucky me...
- 2nd night, at 2AM, then I saw a long Queue at the roundabout, so I pressume its for the transport to Nantes, so a quick check with those in the line and I joined in..
So I realised, if its later in the night, the transport will be a Bus instead to accommodate the many people also going back to Nantes.
- 3rd night is the same, again I take a bus. You just have to patient in the queue, the bus will come, I think no one will be left behind in Hellfest, you just have to wait your turn.
it cost 15 euro, you pay it when you board it. It does add up really, if you are on a strict budget, but I had known in advance, and had set aside some money for these transports.
I just dont feel like camping in Hellfest campsites, so its my choice, so I have to bear the consequences LOL!! I should have make an extra effort to find a place to stay in Clisson village though, but I was just too ill-prepared for this trip.
I lost my sense of direction once I arrived at Nantes because the bus stop at the other side of the train station, but then its ok, anyway, the area is very safe, so I have no problem alone.
I think its on the 2nd night that I reach Nantes at 4 in the morning. But no problem, there are still food shop (Halal for the Muslims like me), and drinks and provisions shop selling fruits open opposite the train station if you are hungry.
11) Walking from Clisson train Station to Hellfest site - I actually walk on the second day, It is of course a bit mazey and alien for me walking thru the town and village but at the same time its beautiful. I ask for direction from a local, and he was actually going the same way, and he brought me along to check out some Clisson history like the castle. More of that next time when I post photos of Nantes.
To walk is about like 20 minutes if you walk fast? So if you camp at Hellfest, you have no problem walking to town to have your food and supplies.
Reflections on life - my travels to see Maiden play (and in the process experience other great bands that I do like all my life) in different environments allow me to see some aspect of social responsibility and the quality of life that is provided to people who may be less-abled in a heavy-metal environment, which always supports my idea that majority of metal fans are the greatest best people in the world. For example those who are using wheelchairs or even blind.
- I remember a blind boy decked in the most metal attire, with his loving father in the front row at the sides for Maiden in Melbourne Hisense Arena. I saw them earlier outside the arena, and when after the show, as I was standing quite in front, I turn around and look around at those who are sitting at the arena sides, I saw them again, they were near the stage as quite near as the seats can be.
Its something always wonderful, not many things bond in life like Maiden (and Arsenal FC).
Thats why Maiden sold that many tickets, people bring their love ones to see whats Maiden about!! LOL!!!!. And it expands from there, and expand and expand LOL!!
its a time for bonding, to show your love ones, now this is why I love Maiden.. Maybe you will now understand why I put myself in so funny unusual situations and sacrifices to do what I do to extend to travel to see Maiden now that it is possible to travel compared to before, and maybe you will love it too...and please its NOT FEAR OF THE DOG!! ...(it happened to me ok!!!).
- I remember the man besides me with only one leg, and on the other is a support frame. Standing with me in anticipation for Maiden in Brisbane, we were quite in front and basically there is 40,000 fans behind us as it was also a Soundwave. We were crushed there waiting for Maiden for more than an hour, and once Maiden start the pushing waves moving left and right will also start, and I was wondering about this man. Now to me watching him, THAT IS DEDICATION!!.
- I remember Frankfurt Festhalle has this impressive huge raised platform for those with handicap to watch Iron Maiden in comfort and clearly, and the number of fans who turn up with wheelchairs and all kinds of assistance is amazing for me. Its simply breathtaking to see that in this sort of Heavy Metal environment in Europe.
Its like its really true about that Kiss song "they try to tell us that we dont belong, but thats alright, we're million strong". I think its true.
- I remember Donington Park was amazing in terms of facilities for the handicap....they basically have raised platforms for all stages even in the tents... First Class, considering its Donington environment. I think this is the single most greatest heavy name ever. Donington!!!. Its all theirs, everything!!, the history of the place.
Donington Park Download Festival is amazing for its facilities when thinking its like 95,000 daily.
Soundwave? I dont recall much and never took too much photos LOL!!!
- And at Hellfest, you have fans in wheelchairs having right in front at the Temple, which is simply amazing.
I like it, I mean, being a heavy rock fan, or heavy metal fan, you tend to be special. Only a special person can appreciate whats these music is about. Others dont get it.
So in Hellfest, especially, I see all kinds of weird people. The kinds of weird people that I dont know maybe will be a bit out of place in our fucked-up society, the kind at the same time you are intrigue, and at the same time you want to hug them.
I hope I had covered everything.
I am doing this blog post as first a memory for myself, and also if anyone is just like me, who have no idea at all how to go to Clisson to see Hellfest but wants to do it...
It is a very nice experience for me....
Donington Park (Download Festival) has a much bigger crowd, there was reportedly 95,000 fans on the 2nd day of 2013 when Iron Maiden headline it, but I dont feel the congestion and the stress, because the site is so huge,
while Hellfest I think can only accomodate 45,000 per day but its a bit congested in my opinion.
Nevermind.. It is so wonderful.
I dont think I'll ever come back, Hellfest is a bonus for me, I had always wanted to go to one hallowed land and its of course Donington Park.. and I finally did it last year to see Maiden play there.
So I guess, if I want to go to another festival, it will be Donington again, I guess for the very very final time Maiden play there. I am sure Maiden will play another Donington for the very final time. I hope I can make it, if cannot make it, its ok. LOL!!
Wacken? Problem with Wacken is the ticket will sold out before the main headliners are announced. And I will only travel for this purpose, sacrifice a lot, and anything else, if there is Maiden. Though the list of other bands will certainly help, but Maiden is a must on the bill.
(out of topic, I was looking at the retro-festivals going on in UK and Europe, and Men Without Hats are on the bill and I was like, "I think I am sure to have a blasting time during Safety Dance") LOL!!!!
Though, in my heart, I am so happy reading about Savatage reunion next year.
In my life, there is always a remembrance of how most beautiful the Gutter Ballet album is first time I hear it.
But Hellfest with Maiden and a list of the most fantastic bands I like, or curious about, was awesome certainly...a very very incredible experience for me.
This is two short videos I took on the situation near the Hellfest tree, on in the morning, and on at night...
Anyway, the reviews of the bands I see, and the youtubes I took of the bands, are on my previous blog posts...
Sortie.. ok today we learn another French word, for Exit I guess.
"See you next year hellbangers,"
Sorry...not me. Though I would love to.
Note - If I remember anything beneficial, I will continue to add with edits here.
26 February 2016.
BONJOUR TOUT LE MONDE.
I still think of La Bataclan the night EXTREME played the day after Hellfest 2014.
A most memorable Monday night to end a most magical weekend for me.
I am a Muslim, and my heart tears for what happened to beautiful Paris, and especially La Bataclan.
La Bataclan, and Republique area is one of the highlights of my backpacking time in France.
Viva Le France.