REPORTAGE. At the scorching Hellfest, walls of sound and… water

It’s hot, very hot as hell approaches. And the thermometer should still climb today in Clisson, in Loire-Atlantique, where the first weekend of Hellfest, the extreme music festival, takes place.

At the entrance, Val, Auré and Tom brush themselves with sunscreen. “We come from Montpellier, the heat, we know! » have fun these metal fans. Three liters of water while waiting for the doors to open, foggers, they have everything planned. These Bretons from Finistère also took the stock of cream to avoid burns. “Seeing how it hits, we will buy caps on the site! » drop Vince and Titi.

Giant foggers

At the controls of the biggest festival in France, the boss, Ben Barbaud, anticipated the heat wave. “We have already experienced heat waves, like in 2017, when the mercury rose to 36°C.” The record will be broken, “we may be expecting above 40°C”. From year to year, the event has been equipped. Two enormous water walls 15 meters wide, several fountains and hundreds of water points have been installed to refresh festival-goers. A wood of 1.5 hectares allows you to rest in the shade and three stages out of six are covered. “We also robbed all of our partners of umbrellas of all kinds, but it is impossible to have shade on a 15-hectare site.”

Faced with the risk of fire, vigilant firefighters

For the well-being of festival-goers, these devices against the stifling heat are reinforced for this 15e editing. The Hellfest Productions association has invested in four giant foggers, “they can project cool mist up to 60 meters”. Three pump trucks, instead of just one, were rented from the departmental fire and rescue service. Filled with water, they feed large lances which refresh the crowds massed in front of the concerts.

Exceptionally, festival-goers can access the festival with their water bottles and other corked bottles. “We usually avoid them because they can be used as projectiles” says Ben Barbaud.

Sunburn, malaise, dehydration, rescuers could have a lot to do this weekend. They will be supplemented by firefighters, “who remain very vigilant about the fire risk because the vegetation is already very dry. We expect an overconsumption of water, we hope that the reserves of the city of Clisson are well filled”.

The prefect himself calls for the greatest vigilance and recommends drinking water regularly, avoiding alcohol and cooling off as soon as possible.

Hellfest, in Clisson, from June 17 to 19, 2022 then from June 23 to 26. Complete.

REPORTAGE. At the scorching Hellfest, walls of sound and… water

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