Hellfest 2024: The Stories and Pictures

Hellfest 2024: The Stories and Pictures

Held from June 27-30 in Clisson, France, Hellfest 2024 just wrapped up, and ESP was once again the official guitar sponsor. It’s impossible to truly describe the massive size and level of intensity that Hellfest offers in words alone, so fortunately we took plenty of pics while we were there… but we still have some behind-the-scenes stories to share as well.

Saving the Day for Katakylsm and Madball
Perhaps the most common nightmare for touring bands is to arrive in a city and find your gear missing. It happens more than you probably realize. In many situations, no gear means no show, not only disappointing the band but also thousands of fans who bought the ticket to see you.

At a festival the size of Hellfest, it’s bound to happen to at least a couple of bands, and two of them were Kataklysm and Madball. Katakylsm, the Canadian death metal band featuring ESP artist Jean-François Dagenais, arrived in France to find their entire backline missing in action. Fortunately, ESP was ready to help, and the Kataklysm show kicked ass with J-F using the ESP E-II EX we loaned him.

Mike Gurnari, guitarist for New York-based hardcore band Madball, had a similar situation. Once again, we were there to support our artists, and Mike had an ESP USA M-I DX to use when Madball hit the stage.

A Rare Public Appearance for Dimmu Borgir
You might not be aware that despite having a massive and rabid fan base in Europe and around the world, Norwegian symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir doesn’t make many public appearances apart from their spectacular stage shows. It was a really big deal, therefore, that ESP artists Shagrath, Silenoz, and Galder agreed to do a signing at the ESP Showroom in Hellfest’s Hellcity Square.

Hundreds of people — many of them lifetime fans of Dimmu Borgir — rushed to our showroom to have perhaps their one and only chance to meet the band, shake their hands, and get their photos signed. It was one of the biggest events of the entire festival that didn’t happen onstage.

Slaughter to Prevail with the World’s Largest Wall of Death
Okay, this probably hasn’t been verified by the people at the Guinness Book of Records, but from what we could tell, Russian deathcore band Slaughter to Prevail (featuring ESP artist Jack Simmons) may have done something that’s so insane, it would probably be illegal in most places.

You know what a wall of death is, right? That’s when a band splits a crowd down the middle, the two halves of the audience move to either side of the venue, and then like ancient warriors of yore, they run full speed at each other until they clash in the middle at high velocity.

Isn’t that dangerous? Yes, yes it is. But is it also completely exhilarating and fun? Unless you get body parts mangled, then also yes. So thousands of people participated in STP’s enormous wall of death at Hellfest 2024, and as far as we know, there were no actual deaths as a result. Side note: the consensus among the metal/hardcore community is that the wall of death was was popularized (if not invented by) by American hardcore punk band Sick of it All, with founding member and ESP artist Pete Koller at least partially responsible for this insanity.

The LTD 200DX Series Arrives
Hours before the start of Hellfest 2024, ESP’s French distributor Algam received their first shipment of the just-announced, super-affordable LTD EC-200DX FM, M-200DX, and TE-200DX. We’ll tell you now: ESP is looking to completely rule the space of guitars in this price range, and we truly believe that no other series of guitars that cost so little deliver so much.

Especially today, at a time where inflation is a worldwide factor and people have to tighten up their budget, having access to guitars with the features offered by the 200DX Series can mean the difference between having a guitar to play… or nothing at all. So it wasn’t a surprised when people at Hellfest 2024 had their first chance to try out these three new guitars (each available in two great finishes) and were 100% blown away.

Not only were people checking out the new 200DX models in the ESP Showroom, but a number of our artists who stopped by ended up using them for their guitar demos outside the booth. All of them said the same thing to us, which was that they couldn’t believe how good these guitar are considering the price tag.

See You Next Year
Is being involved in one of the world’s largest metal vests a grueling and often unforgiving task? Yes, absolutely… and yet we wouldn’t change a thing. Hellfest 2024 was a massive success for the dozens of ESP players who graced the stages, and will live on in the memories of tens of thousands of fans who attended. All we can say is… meet us there again in 2025!

Entering the gates of hell.

Hellfest is a dream come true for anyone who respects and honors the power of heavy music.

Outside the ESP Showroom in Hellcity Square

And inside, which was jam-packed with people from start to finish.

Those who weren't demoing guitars were picking up some sweet ESP merch. Actually, they were doing both.

This dedicated guy gets the "ESP For Life" award.

Our new super-affordable LTD 200DX Series guitars arrived at Hellfest moments before the show kicked off.

Here's B.B. Plaza (Crisix) and Nils Courbaron (Dropdead Chaos) outside the ESP showroom demoing the TE-200DX and M-200DX.

ESP Signature artist Ben Weinman (Suicidal Tendencies) outside the ESP interview zone.

Guillaume Martin (Circles) and B.B. Plaza (Crisix) gather a crowd in front of the ESP Showroom in Hellcity Square.

Billy Graziadei (Biohazard) stays after a signing to take a selfie with a fan.

Galder, Silenoz, and Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir) in Hellcity Square outside the ESP Showroom.

Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir) signing some merch for a lucky Hellfest attendee.

Silinoz (Dimmu Borgir) with his original ESP Custom Shop Okkultist guitar.

Alex Bouks and Robert Vigna (Immolation) get ready to take the stage.

Jack Simmons (Slaughter to Prevail) takes a pic with a fan during one of the many ESP artist signings.


Jamie Ryan (Mass Hysteria) rips it up on bass for a big crowd at the ESP Showroom.

Ready to rock is Jean-François Dagenais (Kataklysm), holding his loaned ESP E-II EX.

Another guy happy to have a guitar available: Mike Gurnari of Madball with an ESP USA M-I DX.

Nils Courbaron and the rest of Dropdead Chaos with a bunch of fans having a good time at Hellfest.

Hanging at the ESP Hellfest Showroom: the guys of Orden Ogan.