After a two-year absence due to COVID-19, one of the biggest heavy metal festivals in the world, Hellfest in Clisson, France, returned with two sold-out weekends packed with some of the biggest names in rock and metal music. It also hosted the first international memorialization of the Grammy Award-winning rock legend, MOTÖRHEAD‘s Lemmy Kilmister, with a ceremony featuring former MOTÖRHEAD band-members Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee which was witnessed by tens of thousands of fans.
“It was a very unique ceremony for a very rare and much-loved man,” said MOTÖRHEAD‘s manager Todd Singerman. “Lemmy was a true road warrior, and starting with this historic Hellfest ceremony, we can continue to make sure he remains one.”
The proceedings began when the SCORPIONS — whose current lineup includes Dee — asked Phil to join them on stage, for a roaring end-of-set “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. After the band had taken their final bows, Phil and Mikkey returned to the stage to announce the enshrinement of Lemmy‘s ashes at the huge, 36-foot monument of Lemmy created by sculptor Caroline Brisset on-site, explaining the significance of bringing Lemmy to the fans in this unique way. A tribute video to Lemmy then played on the festival screens as Phil and Mikkey made their way to the massive monument where Lemmy‘s ashes are housed in a miniature replica of the urn used at his funeral at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood, and lead the audience in raising a toast to Lemmy.
The Hellfest ceremony launches what will be a long-term series of memorializations to the legendary front-man which will see portions of his ashes enshrined at various places of great personal significance to Lemmy around the world. Recently, close friends of Lemmy‘s received bullets containing small portions of his ashes so as he could remain close to those he loved.
“You cannot overstate just how much a man of the people Lemmy was,” said Singerman, “which is why it is so important to enshrine him in his favorite places so he can always be with his fans and they can be with him. We have several places already outlined, and all are places Lemmy truly loved on and off the road.”
These ceremonies will continue to allow the fans to congregate and honor Lemmy beyond his central resting place at Forest Lawn, at the same time celebrating Lemmy‘s truly international spirit, presence and immortality. And as was seen by the reaction of both the fans and global media on June 23, this completely unique commemoration will not only see Hellfest 2022 remembered as the year Lemmy finally returned to one of his favorite touring haunts, but also as confirmation that Lemmy lives forever.
The all-new Lemmy statue at Hellfest replaces the previous sculpture of the MÖTÖRHEAD mainman which was erected six years ago but was reportedly falling apart due to the fact that the plaster, of which it was partly composed, was seriously crumbling. A smaller Lemmy statue was unveiled at his favorite drinking establishment, West Hollywood, California’s Rainbow Bar & Grill, in August 2016. Fans raised $23,000 to fund the sculpture. That same year, Rainbow Bar & Grill dedicated its patio to Lemmy and re-named it “Lemmy’s Lounge.”
The upgraded Lemmy statue is the creation of Caroline Brisset, an emerging French sculptor who has exhibited her work in France and Belgium. Primarily inspired by energy over form and viewing the human as a subject of both fascination and fear, she constructs steel works that marry the concrete and the abstract to achieve a dreamlike effect. Brisset was approached by Hellfest organizer Ben Barbaud last November about creating the Lemmy sculpture and she immediately agreed to get involved. “I said yes because it was a great project,” she told Ouest-France. “And it was also quite a challenge to make such a big statue in such a short time.”