Heavy Montreal is redefining what “heavy” means to Montrealers this year with its sixth edition of the festival. As I’m sure you’re all aware, Montreal is iconic for its wide array of unique music festivals and its capacity to please crowds and fans of all genres. From indie music, to pop music, to house/electronica, to hip-hop and heavy metal, there is a flavour for everyone. This August, from the 8th until the 10th, Heavy Montreal is headlining bands of the heavy metal variety (obvious, right?) for three consecutive days in the city and at Parc Jean Drapeau. Jean-Francois Michaud, one of Evenko’s high level bookers for the festival this year, was kind enough to give me the rundown for this summer’s show.
What’s new to Heavy this year?
“The festival is constantly evolving; notable updates this year include the RFID (radio-frequency identification) bracelets to get fans faster access to the site. We’re also cooking up some nice food options with Montreal’s best food trucks. In terms of music, we’ve added a fourth stage to be able to bring more bands and reach out to different genres of ‘heavy’ music. People that have been supporting Heavy Montreal for years will notice that we’ve added a few punk rock bands, some of which include The Offspring, Bad Religion and Dropkick Murphys.”
Montreal talent is also a highlight and an important part of what makes this festival successful, Jean-Francois explained.
“As far as metal goes, the pioneers of Montreal heavy music are Voivod. We’re really excited to have them on our festival line-up this year. Some other homegrown bands include Grim Skunk, Beyond Creation and Beheading of a King. One band to keep an eye on is most certainly Eagle Tears. The band won the En Route Vers Heavy contest and their 70s sound has been getting them a lot of attention recently.”
When I reached out to Eagle Tears for their response to this heavy compliment, Hal, one of vocalists and guitarists, emphasized that “recording a full-length record in late 2013 and early 2014, landing opening slots for Fu Manchu and Monster Truck, as well as winning the En Route Vers Heavy Montreal competition, are the band’s biggest accomplishments to date.”
What makes a band, like Eagle Tears notable for such an event?
“Every year, we bring the best possible line-up to Montreal. We try not to have the same bands every year and maintain a cohesive schedule that will make the festival’s die-hard fans stoked. Over 80% of the bands are making their festival debut this year and this year’s Thrash Metal tendencies have been noticed by fans from all over the world.”
According to Jean-Francois, Evenko is expecting between 70,000 and 75,000 people at Heavy Montreal this year. Organizing a large event of this nature requires up to 500 people on the production side of things as well, and that’s not including the bands.
What has made Heavy Montreal such a success in the past couple of years is their desire to listen to their fans and constantly perfect an already winning recipe.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)
Cover image from: Heavy MTL