Is there such a thing as vintage music? Not exactly. But Frédéric Roy-Hall, the chief executive officer of the Anachronik Festival and co-head of Jaune Prodz is about to change that. “There’s no such thing as vintage music, but we’re trying to create this scene,” he says. “We’re inspired by the rockabilly scene. They are the first rebels of rock and roll. But vintage music is not just rockabilly music. Vintage is what’s pure, what’s a little rebellious, and what has a vintage sound.”
The first Anacrhonik Festival, held last year, was a surprise success. Roy-Hall and his partner Benoit Trottier put together a two-day event around rockabilly and vintage music. People were impressed with their organization and professionalism. “Everyone was looking forward to a second edition,” he says.
The result is this year’s festival – 36 bands in 7 different venues over 2 nights. While the first festival had around 2,500 attendees, this one will likely double in attendance. The two headliners are well-known Montreal bands: indie-primitive-punk We are Wolves and back from retirement the Gutter Demons.
The Gutter Demons are quite the coup. “It’s their reunion show,” Roy-Hall says. “Their first show in six years.” Fans are coming from as far away as France and Mexico to see them play. “It’s a once in a lifetime show.”
I prodded Roy-Hall as to how he convinced the Gutter Demons to return. They were still in the music scene, he tells me, but in different bands. “We have wanted to work with them for years,” he says. They refused several times, but Roy-Hall and Trottier didn’t give up. Now, the Gutter Demons are coming back not just for the Anachronik festival, but to tour in Europe and on the West Coast as well.
Roy-Hall raves about all the bands expected to play, and he tells me about some of the smaller bands that he’s thrilled to introduce. “Prieur & Landry are a two piece band, a mix between Black Keys and Nirvana. They have a lot of talent.” He also advises me to catch Hey Sugar. “They’re doing heavy rock and roll and so intense,” Roy-Hall says. “I explain them as a mix of the Cancer Bats and Jerry Lee Lewis. They’re insane on stage.”
In addition to the bands, Roy Hall tells me that dancing is a major part of the Anacrhonik festival. “10% of the rockabilly crowd are dancers. Since 2012, the dance schools have tripled the number of people dancing [in these styles]. So, there are free dance lessons to learn how to jive or do steps.”
Dancing isn’t the only thing that sets the Anachronik festival apart. Roy-Hall and the organizers make sure they create unique ambiances and creative events in the venues themselves. “Every venue has a team. Every stage has a different atmosphere for the bands,” he says. These include animal masks for the audience or toilet paper to allow for a crazy toilet papering of the venue.
“Every single venue, every single night, we have a crazy idea,” he says. “It’s so much more than what people think.”
The Anachronik festival takes place May 2-3 with the largest shows in Club Soda. Festival passes are $25-37. Click HERE for details.