Montebello Rockfest 2015 Interview With Mathieu Marcotte
"As for people in upstate NY...well you’re all welcome in Montebello!"
1. Alex Martel, a local 17-year-old rock music lover, is the founder of Montebello Rockfest. What inspired him to want to create a rock festival of this magnitude?
It started as a small show. At first, he just wanted to put together a rock show in our hometown with some local bands and an established Montreal underground band called Grimskunk. There were 500 people at the show and it was a great success! After that Alex kept on making it bigger and bigger every year. I’m not sure at what point he realized that he could make it one of the biggest festivals in the world. That wasn’t his initial intent. Alex is not a businessman. He’s a rock fan that just wants to put on the best show possible. It’s his passion for music that drives him and inspires him to continue. At 17, he was probably already dreaming about bringing all of his favorite bands to Montebello, but it was still just a dream. It’s absolutely amazing that we've gotten to this point!
2. Many music festival-goers create lasting memories by bringing their families along. Is this something Alex considered while pursuing his dream of creating Canada’s largest rock festival?
We try to create an environment that’s safe and enjoyable for everybody. Sure, it’s a rock festival filled with rockers, punks, metalheads and everything that comes with a huge festival. As long as people know what they’re getting into we're happy. People of all ages attend the show and we welcome rock music enthusiasts, young and old, with open arms!
3. What advice would Alex and/or Montebello Rockfest organizers give to adults who want to bring their children to a massive gathering of this nature?
I would not necessarily recommend bringing a newborn to the show (even though I did it when my daughter was 6 months old). It’s important to keep in mind that the kid’s safety needs to be the #1 priority for the parent, not seeing your favorite band, not your own experience. Then it’s pretty much basic safety advice for any large gathering: always keep your kid by your side, stay hydrated, put a lot of sunscreen on and bring ear plugs (for the kid AND the parent, it’s LOUD!) When you make sure your kid is safe and having fun, Montebello Rockfest can provide memories that last a lifetime. Every year I hear stories from parents who had a great bonding experience with their children at the festival.
4. Are the acts aware that families of all ages attend Rockfest? Perhaps you have an example of an artist embracing an all-ages atmosphere?
Some bands will adapt their show when playing a festival, some bands will not. So as a parent you need to be aware that some artists like to entertain the crowds while using a rather crude language. In the past few years I’ve seen so many artists who brought their own kids to the show. Sometimes when you look to the side of the stage you’ll see a kid pretending to play guitar or just rocking out with the earmuffs on. Those artists surely embrace the family atmosphere!
5. Is there something about rock music that brings communities near and far together?
This festival brings everybody together and that’s an amazing feat. For example, metal fans are not always too fond of punk fans, and vice-versa. But Rockfest seems to blend in all the different styles. Rock music has always had a “Us vs. Them” mentality that makes the bond between fans that much stronger. I think in the past, and even still today, some rock fans are labeled as outcasts and don’t necessarily fit in with the popular crowd. This happens in Canada and the US, but also in Australia, Brazil or Japan. So when you put all those fans from different countries together, they feel like they belong to the same crowd. Rock and roll also has always been a great excuse to party!
6. What is the future of Montebello Rockfest? Is their anything you’d like to say to upstate NY residents who plan on attending this year and/or in the coming years ahead?
I don’t know what the future holds for Montebello Rockfest, but I can tell you our goal is to keep on putting together an incredible festival. There are still a couple of bands that haven’t played our festival yet, and we’re working on it. As for people in upstate NY...well you’re all welcome in Montebello! Come meet the residents (all super-nice people) and the fans from all around the world! It’s also a nice little town to visit all year, but during Rockfest we’re turning on the ROCK for a fun-filled weekend!
7. This producer and his young video journalist son are looking forward to soaking in the sights and sounds of Montebello Rockfest. Thanks for your time. See you soon!!!
Great to hear! It’s great for a 12-year-old. Some parents bring kids that I feel might be a bit young...but if I had the chance to go to a festival this cool when I was twelve, I would’ve thought my parents were the coolest in the world!!! Plus it’s in a small town and I feel it’s not as intimidating as other festivals I’ve been to in Montreal or Toronto. Hope to see you while you’re in my hometown!
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