Montebello is a quaint village in Western Quebec, that approximately 1 000 people call home 51 weeks of the year. That outlying 52ndweek takes place in June, and the people of Montebello welcome festival goers into their village increasing their population to over 200 000. I was fortunate enough to attend Rockfest 2018 and I have left a changed man … for the better of course.
I have been to many festivals over the past two summers and had begun to think that I had seen it all, until I stumbled into Rockfest. This past weekend was one of the best experiences of my life and I cannot recommend attending this festival highly enough. From the moment I stepped into Montebello I felt a sense of liberation come upon me as this was one of the most accepting environments I had ever witnessed. I could not believe how friendly and helpful the people of Rockfest were. My head blogger and I arrived in the dark on Thursday evening greeted by a warm Quebec rain. As we entered the festival camp grounds we soon realized our overall packing skills were rated subpar, at best. We had clearly pack too much gear and there was no way the two of us were going to transport it all to our campsite alone. This must have been obvious as fellow rocker Paxton came over and helped carry our belongings to our campsite over a kilometer away. We were beyond thankful and thought the rock Gods must have been looking out for us. Once on site we had the challenge of setting up our tent in the dark and in the continuing rain. This was our own fault as we had made an unnecessary, but worthwhile pit stop at the Lac-Leamy Casino, in Gatineau along the way. Needless to say, head blogger made a significant donation to the province of Quebec. Again, our struggle must have been apparent as our neighbours popped out of their tents to help us in the darkness and pouring rain. We soon realized that these two breaks were not by chance and that was just how the people of Rockfest behaved. No matter your background, career, appearance or nationally everyone was there to let loose and have a good time.
Rockfest presented an unbelievable lineup this year featuring the likes of Five Finger Death Punch, Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphy’s, Sum 41, Godsmack, Prophets of Rage, Tenacious D, Lamb of God, Weezer and many others. Atmosphere Medias monitored the decibel levels at the Budweiser Stage on the Friday of the festival and the results were rather surprising. Our original expectation was to see a linear trend starting low with Flogging Molly and peaking at Prophets of Rage. However, we identified the Dropkick Murphys with having the highest reading (113.7 dB) with Godsmack coming in a close second (113.2 dB). It is also no coincidence that these were two of my favourite shows beating out many of the other headliners.
It is difficult to describe Montebello Rockfest to someone who hasn’t attended. It is unlike any other festival that I have been to in the sense that as an attendee one is not confined to a festival area. I am not exaggerating in saying the entire village of Montebello becomes a playground for rockers. You can drink alcohol in the streets, tents and campsites were set up wherever space existed, and the locals were selling snacks and beverages on their front lawns. The best comparison I can make is that for one weekend a year Montebello becomes a Canadian Las Vegas.
Montebello Rockfest is a necessity for anyone’s music festival bucket list. I cannot praise this festival enough and I know I will be attending next year. Montebello Rockfest has officially been Atmosphere Approved!