Friday, July 22, 2011

June 30 - July 2, 2000: Hellfest, Syracuse, NY

The day after that Dillinger Escape Plan show I headed up to Philly to meet up with my high school friend, Doug Spangenburg, who was doing High Roller Productions at the time. He did videos for Brother's Keeper, Earth Crisis, and more, and was the man behind the first, and probably some of the later, Hellfest video. I was on board as one of his camera men, so we rolled up to Syracuse together. Doug was way more into the metallic hardcore scene than I was so he knew a lot of the people involved in the fest and we stayed with DJ Rose (Halo Tattoos, Path of Resistance) for the weekend. (Fun fact: Many years later the Spark was on tour and stayed with Chuck from Black SS after our Syracuse show. We followed him to his house and I was stunned to realize I had been there before, as he moved into the same house after DJ moved out.) I actually met Chuck at this Hellfest as he was helping out with the video shoot as well, but I didn't make the connection until he pointed it out many years later. I was on the stationary camera in the middle of the room so I got to sit down and use a tripod the whole time and I had a great view of the bands. That was a crazy weekend. The original venue was a fairgrounds just outside of the city and something happened they day before the fest was to start where the town or the fire department or something wouldn't allow it. Then they tried to move it to the Lost Horizon, which is a club with about a 500 person capacity, if that. Not sure if the powers that be realized that wouldn't work for all the people that had bought tickets or what but they finally got it set at a large club that seized on the opportunity and charged the promoters out the ass for the venue for the weekend. At least it got to happen. I don't remember every set from the weekend (I never even got a copy of the DVD, somebody hit up Josh Trustkill for me) but highlights I remember are: God Below being one of the heaviest sets I've ever seen (their LP was a big disappointment though), Head On's set cuz it was cool to see my friends and their small band on such a big fest, Bane's set being possibly the biggest 30-minute long pile-on I've ever seen (I think Aaron got about 7 total words into the mic), Every Time I Die's set being a full-on party with streamers and poppers and goofy hats, and Brother's Keeper and their Misfits cover set. That was the one and only time I've been to a Hellfest but it was probably the only one I'd ever cared about being at. Good times for sure. Check me out at the end of the video, during the credits. And seriously, if anyone can get me a copy of the DVD, I'd be stoked.

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