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POTW – Amnesia Rockfest 2013

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Who: Alice Cooper, Rise Against, The Offspring, Rancid, Lamb Of God, Marilyn Manson and tons more
Where: Montebello, Qc
When: June 15th & 16th, 2013

It’s finally mere days to the most anticipated show in Canada!

The small town of Montebello quite literally has a larger population of cows than it does humans. With just nine hundred residents, it may be a little difficult to imagine the scene as a hundred thousand music fanatics descend upon the community for one weekend each year, literally drinking the town dry. For the eighth consecutive year, the small rural town will once more host the masses as its residents rent out their yards to campers and the more entrepreneur minded folk fire up their barbeques, fencing hot dogs to their invaders. In every direction, each nook and cranny, for as far as the eye can see, tents flap in the breeze and thoroughly transform the community into something of a refugee camp.

Started in 2005 by Alex Martel, who was just seventeen years of age at the time, the festival has grown in leaps with each summer season. Garnering sponsorships along the way, and attracting some of the biggest names in alternative, punk and metal circles; this year’s line-up is boiling over with talent. As the expression goes, the proof is in the pudding, and if that is the case, one needs look no further than the ticket pre-sales that have erupted in the few days since the official line-up announcement was made. For the first time in its history, the festival might become a sold out affair.

This weekend is the greatest source of income for the small, rural town’s entrepreneurs for the entire year. Not surprising, as the line-up leading into the town’s only grocery store never once abated. Beer sales, especially, must have tallied numbers beyond comprehension. At one point, the town was dry, and supplies had to be trucked in and sold warm to the thirsty masses. Local residents seemed to be enjoying the circus as much as the outsiders. I have never experienced anything like it.

This year’s edition has a little of everything. One of the areas that separates it from the many other music festivals that take place in the near vicinity, is that it brings in fans from multiple musical styles and blends them all in seamlessly and in harmony. From big name punk rock acts like Rancid, Social Distortion, Rise Against and The Offspring, to shock rockers such as Marilyn Manson and the legendary Alice Cooper himself, to the more abrasive metal bands such as Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage and Anthrax. Ska fans can get their dancing feet kicking to the trumpets of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Less Than Jake. Then there’s the reunion of Quebec’s folk heroes, Groovy Aardvark.

What really drives this weekend home, though, is the amount of older bands making the trek up to Montebello, especially on the Hardcore front. Legends, Black Flag will be in attendance, alongside Agnostic Front, H20, Madball, The Adolescents, Cro-Mags, 7 Seconds, Discharge and the Subhumans.  Truly astounding! Unfortunatly, the Bad Brains had to pull out, though.

Most impressive of all, is that the festival costs are still extremely reasonable, indeed. Grab your tents and join the insanity!


The Scene