Hellfest (American music festival)

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Genre Hardcore punk, extreme metal, punk rock
Dates June–July
Location(s) Various locations
Years active 1996–2005

Hellfest was an American hardcore punk festival. Named for the intense summer heat at the show, the festival originally began featuring hardcore bands before crossing into several genres later on. Hellfest was known for its fan-friendly atmosphere, (including a lack of barriers, providing easy access to the stage for stage diving) and for its high social-awareness, focusing on such causes as animal rights, with many attendees following the straight edge and/or vegan lifestyle. It continued as an annual event until it was cancelled in 2005. After its cancellation less than thirty-six hours before doors were scheduled to open on the festival's ninth year, some fans, unhappy with the inadequate processing of refunds, filed small claims court lawsuits against promoter Keith Allen.[citation needed]

In its ninth season in 2005 (which was cancelled), Hellfest was to feature independent hardcore, metal and punk rock bands on three different stages. However, discrepancies between Paper Street Music (Hellfest's organizer and promoter) and the venue caused the fest to be cancelled at the last minute. A number of the bands originally scheduled for Hellfest planned last-minute alternative shows that weekend in the Tri-State Region in the wake of the festival's cancellation.

Bands that have played at Hellfest




Syracuse, NY, USA:


Syracuse, NY, USA @ The Lost Horizon:


June 30 (No bands played this day, riot police were called, nothing happened, new venue secured for the next day), July 1, July 2, Syracuse, NY, USA:


July 6–8, at the Action Sports Center, Mattydale, NY, USA:


Syracuse, NY, USA:


Syracuse, NY, USA:

18 Visions, A Life Once Lost, All Else Failed, Arkangel, Arma Angelus, All That Remains, As Hope Dies, Asherah, American Nightmare, Atreyu, Avenged Sevenfold, Bleeding Through, Between the Buried and Me, Blood Brothers, Bloodjinn, Bloodlet, Brandtson, Breaking Pangea, Breathe In, Burnt by the Sun, The Cancer Conspiracy, Caliban, Candiria, Codeseven, Coheed and Cambria, Count the Stars, Commit Suicide, Cro-Mags, Curl Up and Die, CKY, Daughters, Dead to Fall, Death Threat, Diecast, Drowningman, Ed Gein, Eiffel, Ensign, Evergreen Terrace, Every Time I Die, Face the Fact, Fall Silent, From Autumn to Ashes, Found Dead Hanging, The Funeral, Further Seems Forever, Glasseater, God Forbid, Hatebreed, Himsa, The Hope Conspiracy, The Hoods, Harakiri, Haste, Hopesfall, Hope and Suicide, Homesick for Space, If Hope Dies, In Pieces, Jesuseater, Jude the Obscure, The June Spirit, Kalibas, Killswitch Engage, Kittie, Knives Out, Lamb of God, Light Is the Language, Lickgoldensky, The Locust, Long Since Forgotten, Love is Red, Martyr ad, Misery Signals, Most Precious Blood, Moneen, Murder by Death, My Chemical Romance, Nemesis, Nora, Norma Jean, Not Waving But Drowning, xOne Fifthx, One Line Drawing, One Nation Under, On the Might of Princes, Open Hand, The Promise, Reach the Sky, The Rise, The Red Chord, Remembering Never, Ringworm, Saving Throw, Shai Hulud, Skycamefalling, Season of Fire, Static Lullaby, Stretch Arm Strong, Suicide Note, Sworn Enemy, Taken, Terror, This Afternoon, This Day Forward, Throwdown, Thursday, Unearth, Undying, Until the End, The Wage of Sin, Walls of Jericho, What Feeds the Fire, xDisciplex A.D., and Your Enemies Friends


July 2004, at the Rexplex, Elizabeth, NJ, USA:


At the ill-fated 2005 festival, which was to have been held in Trenton, NJ, bands slated to perform were:

Hellfest releases

Hellfest has one VHS released by Trustkill (2000), and three DVDs released by High Roller Studios:

  • Hellfest 2000, The Official DVD Documentary, (released April 8, 2003):

Featuring live performances from Killswitch Engage, Every Time I Die, Eighteen Visions, Converge, Shai Hulud, Poison the Well, The Hope Conspiracy, Walls of Jericho and more.

  • Hellfest 2002 (2 discs) (released January 6, 2004):

Featuring live performances from Coheed and Cambria, Bleeding Through, Hatebreed, Merauder, NORA, Open Hand, Freya, Throwdown, Lamb of God, Bloodlet, Eighteen Visions, Most Precious Blood, Terror, Death Threat and more.

  • Hellfest Vol III: Official Video Documentary Filmed Live At Hellfest 2003 In Syracuse, (2 discs) (released July 13, 2004):

Featuring live performances from Anti-Flag, Thursday, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Norma Jean, Lamb of God, Murder By Death, Walls of Jericho, The Bled, Terror, From Autumn to Ashes, CKY, Comeback Kid, My Chemical Romance, Full Blown Chaos, The Locust, Biohazard, Unearth, Bleeding Through, Bouncing Souls and more.

Hellfest's final year, the 2004 weekend at Rexplex, Elizabeth, New Jersey was filmed by High Roller Studios to be released on DVD, but the footage was never released publicly. When High Roller Studios ended, their MySpace page (www.myspace.com/highrollerstudios) explained the company's reason for disbanding, adding that the Hellfest DVD would never be released. Unbeknownst to most, the entire 2004 DVD had been edited and was ready for release, however Radiotakeover president Shawn Van Der Poel had failed to negotiate agreements with the bands that would have appeared on the multi-disc set.

Director Doug Spangenberg and editor Anderson Bradshaw went on to form a new video production company (Space Monkey Studios, Inc.).

  • Hellfest 2001/2004 Resurrection (July 2013):

In the summer of 2013, Doug Spangenberg gave the surviving tapes from Hellfests 2001 and 2004 to hate5six.com so that the sets could be properly edited and released to the public for free. This long term project promises to make the "lost" footage available in an ad-free and non-commercial setting.


  1. ^ "Hellfest bigger and better". NewsTimes. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  2. ^ Simula, Collin (July 12, 2015). "Collin Simula of Maranatha". Interviewed by Trav Turner & Stephen Sarro. As The Story Grows. Retrieved May 18, 2016.

External links

  • Hellfest Was Amazing, Review of Hellfest 2004 by the Lifting Journal
  • One ‘Hell’ of a concert, Report by Scott Frost, The Trentonian
  • Cold day in hell, by Scott Frost, The Trentonian
  • Article in the New York Times about the demise of the festival in 2005. Registration required.
  • Videos of performances from shows that sprung up from the Hellfest 2005 cancellation. Videos include Lifetime, Good Clean Fun and more.
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