The festival was the successor of Fury Fest, which was held in 2002 and 2003 in Clisson and Nantes respectively, and 2004 and 2005 in Le Mans.
In June 2009, religious and right-wing groups asked the festival sponsors to disengage from Hellfest. Coca-Cola announced a few days later that they will no longer support the festival.
In March 2010, two days before local elections, Prime Minister François Fillon and the leader of the MPFPhilippe de Villiers came to support Christophe Béchu, candidate of the UMP for the regional elections of the Pays de la Loire. In front of 1,500 people Mr De Villiers reiterated his support for the candidate and attacked the metal music festival Hellfest: "Our values are not like those of the Regional Council (PS); to be funding a satanic festival!". The same month, former minister and leader of the Parti chrétien-démocrateChristine Boutin wrote to Kronenbourg asking them to stop supporting the festival. The 30th March, questioned by deputy Patrick Roy, the minister Frédéric Mitterrand declared to the Assemblée Nationale that the detractors of the festival should calm down. During the 2011 edition an homage was paid to Patrick Roy who died two months before.
On June 9, 2010, the AFC (Associations Familiales Catholiques) sued the Hellfest, asking them not to allow people under 18 years old to attend the festival and to give them the titles of the songs to be played during the 2010 edition. On June 14, the judge refused their demand.