Interview: Hellfest organiser Alexxx Rebecq [March 2015]

By Glen Bushell

The festival season is nearly upon us again, and it’s time to start getting excited about all the great events happening across the world and the memories they create for people. Over in mainland Europe though, they really know how to put together a great festival line-up, and a lot of eyes are focusing on the extraordinary event that is Hellfest Open Air 2015 in Clisson, France. The 3-day festival is the successor to the predominantly hardcore-based Fury Fest, and now in its tenth year it is presenting a line-up that has drawn from the worlds of classic rock, metal, punk, hardcore, death metal and almost every sub-genre of aggressive music. It’s hardly surprising that the festival sold out before Christmas last year given that it will play host to Slipknot, Judas Priest and Faith No More among its headliners, and feature appearances from Code Orange, Twitching Tongues, Alice Cooper, Mayhem, Lamb Of God, Cocksparrer, along with just about anyone else you can think of.

We recently had a chance to speak to one of the events organisers Alexxx Rebecq about how far Hellfest has come in 10 years, where it is heading and about creating a new experience for music fans.

So firstly, Hellfest 2015 sold out quick as a flash! That must make you feel pretty happy. Did you expect any of that?

Not at all! We knew we had a good line-up, but we were surprised at how quickly it sold out, and very glad it happened.

Hellfest celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Did you think you would still be here 10 years later when you started the festival?

Well, it’s just great we are still here. I think we are still standing because we are all music fans making a festival for music fans, and trying to create a new experience. Aside from 160 bands, there is so much more to Hellfest like the market area, interesting stalls, and giving people something new.

What have been your most memorable moments in the last 10 years?

Where would I even start? There are far too many. We would need to sit down and have a drink and talk about that! I think though that this year, Slipknot making their first headline appearance at Hellfest will be one to remember.

Is there anyone you have wanted to book for the festival but never been able to?

A lot of the big names, AC/DC, Metallica etc, and we tried for Rammstein but they opted for another festival. When a band’s agent says they are unavailable it usually means they are interested but can’t make it, so we will see in the future. We did try to get Darkthrone two years ago, but they said no…

This yearโ€™s festival covers almost every area of heavy music from classic rock, to punk, to hardcore, to metal and more. How do you even begin to put such a stellar line up together?

We are working 24/7 all year to create Hellfest. It started with just 2 people, and now we have grown to 12 of us, and not to mention the 2000 plus volunteers, and the great crews we have that help make Hellfest what it is. It’s like a family now!

Among the bigger names, you also have the Warzone stage that has some of the newer generation of bands on it including Code Orange and Twitching Tongues to name a few. How important is it to you to support these bands?

It is important to have the smaller bands play alongside the classic and bigger bands you know, but when I read stuff on the internet like “I’m so glad you have put blah blah blah on”, I prefer to see people saying “Thank you for introducing me to this band”. It’s also made me a lot more open-minded to other bands.

Where do you see Hellfest heading in the next 10 years?

Well I hope we are still here because I just bought a flat! No, we probably won’t grow in size as we are about big as we probably want to be. The main thing is that we keep improving our services, and improving the experience that Hellfest is. We have 6 stages now, maybe in 10 years we will have 10 stages, but who knows.

Finally, what can people who are coming to Hellfest for the first time expect this year?

I think they will be blown away. Hopefully the weather will be good, and everyone will have a good time. I invite people to join us, to try a new experience, and hopefully I’ll see you in hell!

Hellfest 2015 is unfortunately completely sold out now, but you can still see the fantastic line-up, and stay up to date with the festival over at the Hellfest website.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

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