Amnesia Rockfest 2016 in Montebello, Quebec

The 11th installment of the Amnesia Rockfest took place over the St.Jean weekend in beautiful, scenic Montebello, Quebec. And was again the mecca of loud abrasive music.

For as far as the eye could see, tents and campers made the small rural town look more like a refugee camp than a farming town. With a population of just nine hundred residents. There are more cows that live in Montebello than people. You can imagine the scene when the Punks roll into town. An estimated two hundred thousand people attend this festival every year, which is really quite remarkable. Traffic is essentially none existent. As the roads are over crowded with pedestrians in full swinging party mode.

Every inch of grass, be it the designated camp sites, the church yard or the front and back yards of the residents, is filled with tents. The locals, who themselves cash in by allowing weary travelers a place to pitch camp for a few days, are in party mode. Every square inch of Montebello was covered in people.

On the festival grounds, sat five stages. Simultaneous sets filled the air waves, making it impossible to catch all that the festival had to offer. Fans made mad dashes across the terrain, attempting to gain optical spots to view and hear the next bands on their itinerary. Organized chaos. Flavored by beer and poutines from the many food vendors on site. Many sporting costumes in the sweltering heat. Thankfully however, this was addressed by the security crew. Who endlessly hosed down the crowd in an attempt to keep everybody cool and safe.

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And on the stages, a plethora of artists from a multitude on music genres. Some of them very respected in their own rights. From Ice Cube to Korn and Limp Bizkit. NOFX to Streetlight Manifesto and Bring Me The Horizon. Amnesia Rockfest had something for everyone.

The musical aspect actually takes a back-burner to the ambiance of the weekend. This is about so much more than live music. This is a lifestyle. People make the trip from all over. From halfway around the world. This is the place to be. This is a party and everybody that came to town, came to get down. People come to meet people. Old friends. And to make new ones. Given the chance, most of the people would never leave. This is a dream, It has to be.

The stages are rocking hard, too. Mostly with Punk rock tunes, but there’s metal and hip hop too. Anthrax played a ferocious set. As did Millencolin, and Guttermouth. Although it is physically impossible to see all the bands, people still try. Dashing from stage to stage. Amnesia Rockfest is incredible. The line-up is unreal. Seriously. To gathering this many quality artists, in one place, is… almost too good to be true.

It is estimated that the town of Montebello makes more money over this weekend than at any other point of the year. The local shops have all sold out and shelves are bare by the time everybody has packed up and headed home. Many of the more entrepreneurial locals also turn a slick profit. Firing up their barbecues and fencing hot dogs and burgers to the hungry zombified masses. This is truly a sight to be seen. Personally, I hope it is around for many more years to come. I will remember this for a long, long time.

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