We expect no less from the temple of extreme rock, the Hellfest festival in Clisson near Nantes. After two years of cancellations linked to Covid-19, it is an exceptional edition which starts on Friday, with not only two weekends of concerts (against only one usually) with more than 300 bands on the bill (Metallica, Guns and Roses, Scorpions or Korn), but also a new special tribute to a heavy metal legend who died in 2015.
Ian Fraser Kilmister, aka Lemmy Kilmister, not only revolutionized music with his band Motörhead, but also gained respect beyond extreme music, by dedicating his life to music, linking studio and tours, without ever stopping until his death. He was known as much for his humor and benevolence as for his rock’n’roll way of life, burning life at both ends. The festival, known for its extraordinary sets, therefore continues to pay him a tribute to the height of the character: a new statue bearing his effigy is installed on the site, in which there is literally… a little bit of Lemmy.
A first statue nibbled by crows
It was imperative to replace the old statue of the leader of Motörhead, explains Ben Barbaud, the boss of Hellfest: “It had unfortunately been built in a bit of a hurry when Lemmy died in December 2015“. The pirate-like singer was enthroned 13m high at the top of a rocky peak, one arm in the air with his fingers making the devil’s horns and his favorite bass around his neck. The work signed by visual artist Jimmix , alas, “aged very very badly from year to year“because of bad weather and”crows” who “nibbled at it as they went.“
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Only one solution:We razed it all and we redid it all.” Destroyed in March, the festival immediately announced that a new statue would take its placein more resistant materials.
His ashes inside the new statue
The death of Lemmy, on December 28, 2015 at the age of 70, just two days after being diagnosed with prostate cancer which had already metastasized, shocked the community of fans of this sacred rock monster for years. 70. Especially Hellfest regulars who were able to see him play the year the festival was launched in 2006, then on three other occasions in 2008, 2010 and a few months before his death in 2015. It is therefore a strong bond that united the rocker the French event, so much so that he donated his person to the festival.
On his death, Lemmy was cremated and part of his ashes were offered to some of his relatives and those not so close to whom he still had deep respect. Ben Barbaud therefore received a funny surprise: “The Motörhead manager had 500 pistol rounds made, filled with a tiny portion of his ashes which he then sent to his friends. I have one there, with his name engraved on it!“
The loyal fan community is also hailed by the late rockerwith a “urn“sent with a”sachet with Lemmy’s ashes inside“. This urn was until now kept on a shelf in the office of the boss of Hellfest, but now takes place in the new statue: “There’s only four or five little urns like that. We are going to display it in the statue with armored glass so that it is not vandalized“.