Hellfest takes over Clisson – not far from Nantes – every year with 60,000 festivalgoers a day. They all come to live to extreme music: metal, heavy metal, hard rock, black metal, as well as punk, and even stone metal…
Because of the health crisis, the still active spread of Coronavirus in France, and the surge of variants, some festivalgoers are wondering if Hellfest will take place as scheduled on June 18, 19, and 20, 2021, as the 2020 edition has been cancelled already.
On February 18, 2021, Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot made several announcements as for summer festivals. The latter will be able to take place on certain conditions. They have to reduce and limit their gauges, and set a maximum limit of 5,000 spectators. Promotors will also have to adapt the format since sole seated open-air festivals are allowed. Social distancing will have to be complied with.
Following these new restrictions, Hellfest director Ben Barbaud has confirmed to our peers from Ouest-France the edition 2021 of the metal festival will not go as expected. After the edition 2020 that has been cancelled already, we can feel how desperate promotors and thousands of festivalgoers must feel.
“It will be another fruitless year for me. Even though health restrictions are not as strong as they were a few months ago, the step is too high before we can get to an allowed gauge of 60,000 daily festivalgoers squeezed against each other” Barbaud said in Ouest-France.
The extreme music festival director points out the new measures made by the Minister of Culture. “I don’t share some promotors’ enthusiasms at all. A festival with 5,000 spectators, seated and far apart, is no festival” he said, adding: “But this coming summer will be devastated for the young. And unlike what I have been reading, festivals will not be saved”.
Although some promotors will try to fit the new restrictions, Barbaud is not considering doing so. “I don’t understand those selling their DNA in such a restrictive format. It will definitely lead to frustration. People come to us to attend the big mass of extreme music. And then 90% of the artist lineup is made of foreign bands, so, I don’t see how we can come up with a plan B” he explained.
Yet, this February 19, in Le Parisien, Barbaud details: “a decision will be made in the coming days, I need to see with my team and speak with my international peers, but 5,000 metalheads, seated and far apart from one another, it’s not possible”.