Photography / Words by: Alicia Montague
Crowds had gathered within the small town of Montebello, QC, well before dawn the morning of this year’s Rockfest. The thirteenth edition of the hugely successful festival was packed full with a promising lineup, and patrons were eager to get their tents set up and their weekend started. As seems to be tradition, people battled through the mud and rain to get to their sites before getting completely soaked. But trekking through the mess does little to dampen the spirits of the crowd settling in the fields.
This year’s Rockfest featured an extra cluster of bands on opening day, a nice change from prior years in the festival. The music wasted no time getting started, kicking off with performances from bands like GBH, Mustard Plug and Rockfest founder Alex Martel’s own Deadly Apples. DJ Yella of NWA stopped by to give us our daily dose of hiphop.
The evening brought on some of the more metalcore bands on the roster. Audiences went ballistic in the moshpits for We Came As Romans and A Day To Remember. Closing out the night on the mainstage were Las Vegas heavy hitters Five Finger Death Punch, whose sound could be heard bellowing through the campgrounds. The Tony Sly Stage was treated to back to back performances by punk bands Comeback Kid and Propagandhi.
The music was alive and well before noon on the second day, starting off with Montreal’s punk group The Horny Bitches. The rain from the previous night had stopped and the heat was finally starting to creep in. The festival grounds were still muddy but were beginning to dry. Audiences cheered, moshed and crowdsurfed aplenty throughout the afternoon, delighted by performances from American metalcore bands like Unearth and Every Time I Die.
The pace of the crowd only accelerated as the evening went on, with Celtic punk rockers Flogging Molly and Canada’s own Sum 41 keeping the grounds heated. Black metal fans wrecked havoc in the moshpits for Cannibal Corpse and Dimmu Borgir. The night wrapped up with some phenomenal rock sets from Godsmack, Stone Temple Pilots and Prophets Of Rage. Like the previous night, every note could be heard clearly far beyond the sights of the stage.
The sun wasn’t shy about making itself known on the third and final day of Rockfest, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees. But that didn’t stop concert goers from heading out in the masses back to the festival grounds for another day of killer nonstop action. The afternoon saw a blend of tech metal and rock bands. Canadian shredders Insurrection and Beyond Creation laid waste to the crowds, delivering on the hype behind their names.
The Used and Jimmy Eat World battled through the heat with their crowds, and with the help of some of the stage crew, we were pleasantly doused with water from hoses and bottles. Audiences screamed along with Atreyu and made some of the rowdiest mosh pits of the weekend during Lamb Of God’s set.
Jack Black’s Tenacious D and American rockers Weezer polished off the festival’s main stage, the music even louder than before and rumbling through the ground well beyond the campgrounds.
Although this year saw a cut from five stages to three, the move allowed for the bands to perform longer sets and gave audience members more of a chance to catch even more shows. Improvements were made to the campgrounds that were noticeable to anyone that set up a tent there last year. The sense of community within the chaos that is Rockfest continues to grow as the festival goes on, and we can only hope it continues to stick around for many more years to come!