Every year since 2005, Amnesia Rockfest has been granting music aficionados a few days of concert bliss and camping spirit in Montebello, a small town in Quebec. Created by a 17 year-old local, Alex Martel, the festival has drastically expanded since 2005 – attracting over 200,000 people every year. Rockfest’s amazing annual line-ups have helped it reach the status of the largest rock festival in Canada.
At first glance, it may seem discouraging that the event is situated in what could be archetypically defined as the middle of nowhere. However, the Amnesia Rockfest website suggest several practical travelling options; apparently, Montebello is accessible by buses, boats and even space shuttles. And staying there is a breeze: camping amongst thousands of fellow rock fans can only be an amazing experience – think of all the friendships, drinking binges and crazy partying that must unravel amongst the tents. Those afraid of being overwhelmed by the grungy crowds have to remember that camping is crucial to having a true festival experience. Festival escapism cannot be complete without a solid sense of community and a prevailing sense of freedom.
Amnesia Rockfest’s 10th anniversary will be celebrated with a particularly eclectic line-up. A great variety of genres will be present, from classic punk rock (Rancid, Descendents, Bad Religion), all the way to thrash metal (Slayer). A lot of the bands from Heavy Mtl 2014 will actually be returning to Quebec for Rockfest this year, including Slayer, Bad Religion, The Offspring and Hatebreed. Mass appealing Linkin Park will be appearing alongside the raw Rob Zombie (keep an eye out for his elaborate sets). And how many girls will pass out of hyperventilation upon seeing Serj Tankian from legendary System of a Down? Moreover, even if many Sublime fans are not too enthusiastic about the presence of Sublime with Rome (how can Sublime ever be the same without Nowell?), it should definitely be fun to hear the old band’s greatest hits sung anew. To enhance the diversity of the festival, Pixies will be adding a more psychedelic vibe with their strange lyrics and alternative voices. Sadly, the latter will be playing at the same time as the Quebec folk rock group Les Cowboys Fringants… This francophone band will really stick out with their talented string section and humane lyrics. Although both bands are incredibly different, huge fans of both will find it quite challenging to choose which set to attend. Besides a Quebec folk group, Rockfest will be hosting a Russian folk band – Gogol Bordello, notable for their klezmer and punk fusion involving both English and Russian lyrics.
The Offspring will be crowd-pleasing with Americana, an album memorable for the “whitest” song in the universe: Pretty Fly (For a White Guy). Additionally, for those who missed The Planet Smashers’ show at PouzzaFest (Montreal punk rock festival), Rockfest will be a good time to catch them. Alternative metal band Deftones will be playing Around the Fur, an album noteworthy for its exhilarating transitions from sexy and soft-spoken verses to screamo choruses. And while Tenacious D will be bringing a more humorous tone to the event, industrial fans will go completely crazy over Skinny Puppy. The lineup even includes a couple tributes – one to Operation Ivy, one to Rage Against the Machine. Although tributes are often a hit-or-miss endeavour, it will definitely be interesting to see how the bands pull it off. Additionally, despite his name being followed by an invisible question mark (this is Amnesia Rockfest, after all), Snoop Dogg will give festival-goers the most glorious excuse ever to light up their joints. Finally, keep your ears open to the chime of The Real McKenzies’ bagpipe and do not forget to bring your whiskey to Flogging Molly – this Irish punk band will have you moshing with leprechauns in no time.
All in all, the variety of this year’s lineup will keep viewers on the edge of their toes (and spines, in the case of all the adamant crowd-surfers). I recommend anyone attending to figure out whom to prioritize, because with over 100 bands present, the show itinerary options can be endless. Naturally, prior to the event, immersing oneself in all the music planned for Rockfest is a question of whether or not one will be able to passionately sing-along to the tracks. Get ready to scream and shout and mosh about.
Amnesia Rockfest will be happening at Montebello, June 18-21. Click here to purchase the last tickets available.