You've no doubt heard of Hellfest, Wacken Open Air, Grasspop Metal Meeting, Brutal Assault and Metaldays – but have you heard of Denmark's Copenhell?
The festival, held in Copenhagen every year, is a huge celebration of metal and metal culture incorporating every aspect of our beloved genre into four epic days of hell on earth. It's so good, you'll want to sent up camp the whole year round.
This year's line-up included Slipknot, Tool, Scorpions, Lamb of God and Rob Zombie, among more niche acts from across the globe.
Not convinced? Let us give you a tour of this unique temporary rock city and we're sure you'll be booking your tickets and flights for next year!
1. Eat and drink like a Viking
Honestly, NOT having a Viking village in a Danish festival would be weird, right? A visit to the homeland of Ragnar Lodbrok would feel somewhat disappointing without indulging in a drinking horn full of mead and a freshly cooked hog roast.
Udgård, named for the land of the Jötnar (the giants) in Norse mythology, transports you back to the early medieval period with appropriately attired Danish vendors selling everything you might need to feel like a proper Viking warrior, a campfire to keep you warm until the early hours, and of course the aforementioned honey wine (in a variety of flavours) and a substantial amount of pork to gorge upon.
2. The Food
The Viking village is a great shout if you like your meat, but all the food vendors within the festival site provide the absolute best festival fuel money can buy. Vietnamese noodle salad, gourmet burgers and hotdogs, cheese on toast, Thai curry, pitta breads packed full of whatever you fancy, pizza, tacos, churros, donuts, fries – you name it, they've got it and all of it includes VEGETABLES, as well as vegetarian and vegan options! No need to feel guilty!
Plus, if you upgrade to RIP you can enjoy a full three course dinner in a restaurant-tent complete with taxidermy decor and real wine glasses. The epitome of luxury!
Over in the campsites, the fest is sponsored by 7Eleven, so they can offer you a variety of greasy foods, fresh pastries, chilled salads, wraps, fruit and even fresh fruit juice. You no longer have to return from a festival with scurvy – bonus!
3. Destroy A Car!
Yes, you heard right.
Do you have some surplus frustration you could do with letting out? Then go down to Smadreland ("Destructionland"), a post-apocalyptic looking fenced off area where black metal blasts from the stereo and you can smash an old banger into smithereens. No wonder everyone is so happy, calm and polite when you are allowed to blow off some steam in the most metal way possible.
4. Attention to Detail
When you read the slogan for this year's festival, "10 years in hell", they aren't lying. "We go to great lengths to give the audience a completely unique, total experience from the second they enter through the gates of hell," it reads on Copenhell's website and they really do.
There's a pentagram bar selling Royal beer, a black metal Nordic style church structure, guarded by giant shadowy druidic figures, where you can buy shots of your choosing, a giant light-up upside down cross that glows red and food vendors adopting names like Big Bad Wolf, Creature Comforts, Damned Donuts, Deadly Churros. Devil's Rack and When Hell Fries Over, with some even renaming their yummy treats to appeal to the most darkened souls.
Plus, spot the on-site art work and band logos!
Another unique area offered by the incredible organisers of Copenhell is the Biergarten – a ginormous tent full of rows of benches, food vendors, a stage and an enormous bar. Standing on tables is encouraged, and the area is open into the early hours. But that's not all, there's a live band who take the stage every evening between 20:00 and 21:00 offering up the spot of lead singer to anyone who wishes to participate... yep, it's heavy metal karaoke, or "Openhell" if you will.
Let's start with the campsites before moving on to the cleanliness of the actual festival site and arenas. Two campsites are available at Copenhell: Sønder Head and Kløverparken.
Sønder Head offers the fancy Tenhouses and pre-erected tents, as well as room for pitching your own tent. Free laundry service and showers mean that you can keep yourself smelling good – this is particularly important with such fantastically warm weather! Plus, if you are brave enough – why not jump in the salty (but cold) waters of the surrounding Øresund?
In Kløverparken, you can park up motorhomes, caravans or just your old tent and pay an extra 30DKK for a hot shower. There's also a free bus to take you to and from the campsite to the arena!
Aside from personal hygiene (and it should be mentioned that toilets are NOT port-a-loos, and aloe-vera infused soap and running water are available too by the way!) the campsite is nice and clean too. Their deposit scheme means people can hand in all of their deposit and exchange it for drinks or money during the festival, combined with Hus Forbi (an organisation for homeless people) collecting trash in all the areas around the site: at the festival entrance area and on campsites, the entire festival is kept clean as a whistle.
7. The Stages
Copenhell has three very large stages, and they are all super close together – meaning you can easily watch half a set if you experience a clash between set times of your two favourite bands.
Plus, there are no great big barriers to try and make your way around and little to nothing to obstruct your views of the stage.
Both Helviti and Hades are also opposite a convenient hillside, so you can sit down with a beer or two and enjoy the act of your choice from the perfect vantage point!
8. Great Drinks
The festival has some fantastic sponsors. There own black IPA, blackened with charcoal, is particularly decadent, but they also have a light lager available in customised cans adorned with their wolf branding.
As well as the usual shots and spirits, they have special cocktails in both red and yellow (both are divine although they won't reveal the contents), the burning church offers up exclusive schnapps, a wine bar opposite sells genuinely decent wine and there's a saloon for the Whisky drinkers, complete with metal on vinyl.
9. Unique entertainment
A full scale skate hall featuring the best of Denmark's pro-skaters displaying their skills? Yes please! Grab a beer, and watch them do their thing!
Lurking behind the big bag wolf (a huge mural with glowing red eyes that is visible as you fly in to Copenhagen airport) there's a space to retreat and play your favourite boardgames, grab some refreshments and of course, a nice cold beer.
And of course there's the aforementioned Openhell, destroying a car, Viking shenanigans, oh and this year's haka dance with Alien Weaponry!
10. The merch
Copenhell fridge? Sure. Washing machine? Of course. Copenhell's iconic wolf logo is plastered on pretty much anything you could ever want.
There's an exclusive partnership with Dickies, so you can purchase a good quality shirt, a crewneck and a Torrence raincoat – all featuring Copenhell typography.
Plus, t-shirt designs come from some incredible artists including Joe Petago (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Motörhead, Sodom), Dan Seagrave (Morbid Angel, Benediction, Suffocation, Entombed), MonkeyMouth (Amon Amarth), Brent Elliot White (Megadeth, Lamb of God), Arik Roper (Sleep, High On Fire, SUNN O)))) and many, many more.
... AND OF COURSE, THE BANDS!
This year's festival, held from June 19-22, featured a line-up that included Tool, Slipknot, Scorpions, Amon Amarth, Lamb of God, Rob Zombie, Clutch, Slash, Alien Weaponry, Dimmu Borgir, Heilung, Orange Goblin, Katatonia, Fever 333, Eluveitie, Belphegot, Candlebox, Uada and a hell of a lot more. So what are you waiting for?!
Copenhell 2020 will take place from 17 to 20 June next year. For more information check out the official site.