Hellfest 2020 Cancelled; Will Return in 2021

  • Axl Rosenberg

What has three days, more than a hundred bands, and isn’t happening? Hellfest 2020.

The beloved French festival, which was scheduled to take place June 19 – 21 (don’t tell Tommy Lee) in Clisson, made the announcement today. It would have included Deftones, Faith No More, System of a Down, Judas Priest, and scores of other bands.

This year was supposed to the festival’s 15th anniversary; instead, that celebration will occur June 18 – 20, 2021. Concertgoers who bought passes for this year’s festival will have the option of porting those passes over to next year’s festival or using a “reimbursement offer,” the details of which have not been finalized at this time.

That’s all bad news, but making matters even worse is the fact that even though the festival’s insurance policy is supposed to cover pandemics, the company that issued that policy is refusing to pay up, asserting that this “type” of pandemic isn’t covered in the policy. Which sounds like. Y’know. Bullshit. Typical insurance company bullshit.

The only bit of good news, such as it is? The festival is also launching Hellfest for Health, an crowdfunding campaign to raise money for Nantes University Hospital… and despite the financial hardship the event is facing, they’re donating €20,000 — a little under $22,000 — to the fund. If you’d like to contribute, you can do so here.

Read the festival’s lengthy statement on the cancellation, their insurance woes, and the Hellfest for Health fund below (please excuse Google’s meh translation):


End of the uncertainties, end of the game, the State services have just confirmed to us that there will be no HELLFEST this year.

Many of you were worried about this 15th anniversary edition, but even more to show us your support in this unprecedented situation, which is hitting us all hard. We hope, like you, until the last minute, that the festival can take place.

Unfortunately, faced with the current unprecedented situation, the Prefecture of Loire-Atlantique, accompanied by the Ministry of Culture, took the only decision that was necessary, that of prohibiting it. The HELLFEST 2020 edition is therefore canceled. We share this position with them and thank them for the consideration and responsiveness they have shown towards the festival.

The more the days passed and the more it seemed impossible to us to envisage a 2020 edition guaranteeing a satisfactory organization, and, most important: your security. Realizing that the risk of contagion linked to Covid-19 will still be high in June, it would have been irresponsible and dangerous to allow tens of thousands of fans – shirtless and thirsty for beer – to gather in a perimeter that did not allow for respect the necessary social distancing. The authorities also told us that they were no longer able to put in place the usual security and rescue devices (police, emergency doctors, first aiders, etc.) necessary for any large gathering like ours.

The knot in my stomach, we finally give appointment to the 15 th anniversary edition of Hellfest 18, 19 and 20 June 2021.

If you have a 3-day Pass or a 1-day Pass for the edition to be held next June, we offer you the possibility of converting it into a pass for the 2021 edition, at no additional cost. To do this, you will simply be sent a new ticket valid for the Hellfest 2021 by e-mail shortly.

If you do not want to, or are not sure whether you can participate in the 2021 edition, you have two choices:

-Go to Ticketswap, the only official reseller of tickets valid for the festival, which also guarantees you a secure transaction. Needless to say, tickets purchased by any other means will not be valid (Viagogo, Stubhub, etc.).
By choosing this choice, you will make many happy: a festival-goer who despaired of not being able to come this year; and our association which will be able to limit the damage and calmly prepare the 2021 edition of YOUR festival.
-A reimbursement solution will also be offered. We will soon get back to you on the different possibilities that will be offered to you, including for the specifics linked to the different transport packs (train, bus, etc.).

It is a real blow for our non-profit association as well as for our territory.

Out of respect for you, the fans who made Hellfest what it is today, we want to be as transparent as possible about the repercussions of this “forced” postponement.

From today, the association Hellfest Productions which organizes the festival every year, will have to face a certain number of difficulties. In contrast to other sectors, which will also be hard hit by a slowdown in the economy over several months, our association will have to face a “white year”. The government measures, which we welcome, will not be enough to make up for the heavy losses that the association will have to bear: salaries, general and promotional costs, bank depreciation, are all inexpressible costs that cannot be financed with a year without a festival.

Aware of the stakes and its responsibility, the Hellfest Productions association had nevertheless taken care to take out an “all except” type insurance with the aforementioned company ALBINGIA, a French insurance company with its headquarters in Levallois Perret, for the low sum of € 175,000, corresponding to the amount of the contract premium supposed to cover us from potential risks leading to a cancellation. This same insurance contract clearly stipulates that pecuniary losses due to possible pandemics will be covered, provided that the contract was signed before the appearance and recognition of this pandemic by the French authorities or by WHO. Our contract was signed on December 17, 2019, before the official appearance of the virus in China.

Only here, our dear insurance company shows to who still doubted it, that it is easier to pay contract premiums rather than to obtain compensation for damages supposed to be covered: ALBINGIA sent us an end of non receive on the pretext that this “type” of pandemic did not fall within the terms of our insurance policy.

We obviously dispute this reading and this position. For ALBINGIA, solidarity is for others, even if it means putting their policyholders at risk economically. Their reasoning is simple, take our contributions for cancellation insurance: YES, compensate us: NEVER. To do this, you just have to play on words and imagine interpretations to start a trial that will last for years. Years during which ALBINGIA will keep the sums it owes us warm. An attitude that we denounce today publicly in order to shed light on these practices that we find shameful, especially in these times.

Solidarity and respect for their commitments should be at the center of the concerns of insurers.

In short, while waiting for the start of this long procedure, two words come to this insurance company supposed to be specialized in the events and audiovisual fields: FUCK YOU!

All united to quickly find each other!

To conclude, everywhere in France, calls for donations are multiplying in order to help the nursing staff who are fighting against this pandemic. Faced with this situation, it is out of the question for us to wait with folded arms.

As a unifying event of a large community we would like to answer this call and for that we also count on YOU!

This is why we are now launching an online kitty to raise funds for the Nantes University Hospital, and we are donating € 20,000 to it. This sum corresponds to the usual intervention costs of emergency doctors on the festival, present by your side each year and which of course will not be requested in 2020.
We invite you now, if you can, to participate in this “Hellfest For Health” kitty to support Research and the teams of the Nantes University Hospital. So you will show everyone that fans of extreme music know how to show solidarity and generosity towards those who today are at the front to protect us.

Stay strong, Stay safe, Stay home

So you have a little over a year to perfect your headbanging. We will be waiting for you on June 18, 19 and 20, 2021 with even more impatience than usual! Until then take care of yourself, your loved ones, the people you love and above all stay at home.

We wish you all a “pleasant” confinement to the sounds of saturated guitars! We meet again very quickly and, of course, we keep you up to date with the rest of the events.

Hellfest crew

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