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Live: Hard Rock Hell VIII

Live Review

Venue: Hafan y Mor Holiday Park, Pwllheli

A big, loud, hairy family gathering with added caravans and zombies.

Some heavy rock festivals are all about celebrity headliners, hip young talents and backstage star-spotting. Hard Rock Hell is not one of those festivals. Marking its eighth visit to the Haven holiday park near Pwllheli on the ruggedly beautiful North Wales coast, the fan-driven HRH is an annual grassroots gathering for the hardcore, the connoisseurs, the loyal lifelong disciples.

Top-heavy with grizzled veterans including Blue Öyster Cult, Girlschool, Krokus and Diamond Head, this year’s Hard Rock Hell has a “Helloween” theme. There are lashings of blood-splattered zombie and corpse costumes on show, plus a trio of glamorous women on stilts dressed like Freddy Krueger, Leatherface and other movie serial killers. Some of the performers seem to have come back from the dead too, with many 70s and 80s veterans on their third singer, fourth guitarist or ninth drummer. At what point does a classic band regenerate into an entirely new entity, like Doctor Who? Or Frankenstein’s monster? 

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