United We Stand: The love and communion felt during Hellfest 2023
It’s not just the artists and bands that make up a perfect edition of Hellfest. We can’t simply boil down an entire festival experience to the brilliant shows we saw, we will always include the people that, along with us, attended one more edition of the best metal festival of all time. Last year, we spoke of how a pandemic deprived the metal community from being together at the place we love most, and the difficulties that arose from that terrifying situation. We all persevered through those hard times, and when everything opened up again, we were able to enjoy ourselves once more in the company of each other. There is no denying the amount of love and unity we feel every year at Hellfest; the smiles, the laughs, the hugs, every single gesture tells a story. It is extremely easy to just stand still and get inundated with emotions, absorbing every small detail that catches our eyes and our ears – there is no feeling quite like it.
As soon as the famous Hellgates opened this year, it all started over again. The races to the Sanctuary for some devilish merch, the scouting of the new Valley, the exploration of the expanded areas of the festival, the tasting of delicacies and beverages from the various food stands, the dances around the fires, the insane Brutal Caddie battles, the raving campsite afterparties, the hilariously brilliant cosplaying, the moshing, the crowdsurfing and the headbanging; all done like a ritual in communion with one another. As the world is becoming a more dangerous place, it’s important for us to remain together as a community that is united and that supports one another. More so now than ever before, we have to stand as one against those that would endanger our lives and those of our community. We truly believe that music can have a larger role in changing lives as well as mentalities, so let us remain steadfast in our resolve and never back down. We stand together, always.
The photo galleries below call upon these sentiments that make music so special and dear to us. It’s all about community, the support felt through it and how it can change the world, turn something beautiful into something perfect.
Words by Filipe Silva
Photos by Alexandra Ramos