June 14th was Day One at Amnesia Rockfest. The first thing we noted when we rolled into the small tranquil community of Montebello, Quebec, was the number of people. Bumper to bumper cars lined the road leading into the town. Temporary parking lots were made of farmers’ fields. Tents crammed the yards of residents. Pretty much the same of what we saw last year, however, there seemed to be more fest goers than the estimated 75,000 who attended last year.
Despite Day One consisting primarily of a punk lineup, which is usually accompanied by a crowd that’s a little more carefree (you know, dancing, singing, mischief, etc.), the crowd had a sullen atmosphere. I’m not saying that people were’nt happy to be there, I mean, we had good weather and good music to be had. I’m just saying the atmosphere compared to last year was a bit more sedated. Perhaps people were expecting more than the good fortune that they had.
Another thing that changed from the previous year was the arrangement of the stages. My partner in crime, King Hazard, and I are in disagreement about the effect of the new stage setup – I liked it, he hated it. In my opinion, the setup opened up the venue, allowing for more fans to attend and for different bands to play simultaneously without interferring with the others’ show.
And the mud, so much damn mud. Mud warriors wore the mud like war paint, along with their cuts and bruises. Not as much mud as Woodstock ’94, but plenty of it. Thank god there was no rain, otherwise Amnesia Rockfest could have become Amnesia Septic-fest. But the sun was out and it was hot, and yet the bands that played, they played with vengeance. True, bands have played in hotter, more humid conditions, but hot is hot.
Like I said, Day One was dominated by punk bands, and because of that, the best of the day was Killswitch Engage, Kataklysm, and Deftones. I also enjoyed The Offspring and made it a point to see Screeching Weasel. I was also looking forward to seeing Trapped Under Ice, not just because we had an interview lined up with them, but because they are a kick-ass Baltimore-based NYHC band. Unfortunately, they got held up at for five hours at the border and missed their set.
If you’re unaware, the Canadian border is particularly hard on bands and musicians. I think it has something to do with work permits and maybe trying to not let vagrants in, but it’s not a rare thing for Canadian customs to detain musicians. I had a friend, not in a band or anything, but just visiting family up there. He happened to bring an accustic guitar with him in his car, and customs made him pull over and answer some questions inside. It’s a bit ridiculous and it happens far too often.
So, that was pretty much our take on Day One at Amnesia Rockfest. Post a comment below and let us know what you thought of the fest, if you happened to be there.
Rock Hard \m/