Rock Festivals Canada

October 8, 2015
Color photo of 3 musicians on

The 10th Annual Amnesia Rockfest kicks off on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 in the small town of Montebello, Quebec, located between Montreal and Ottawa. Our young video journalist Colton Clement will be on the scene to capture the sights and sounds of Canada's largest rock festival. Scroll through the carousel above to see his interviews with some of the performers from last year.


The 10th Annual Amnesia Rockfest will be held on June 18th-21st in the small town of Montebello, Quebec, located between Montreal and Ottawa. Festival spokesperson Mathieu Marcotte says, "...Amnesia Rockfest can provide memories that last a lifetime!"

Alex Martel, a local 17-year-old rock music lover, created the Amnesia Rock Fest. 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 was not really the 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 got to this point after only 10 years!

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 are happy that people of all ages attend the show and we welcome rock music enthusiasts, young and old, with open arms!

After 10 years, what advice would Alex and/or Amnesia 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, Amnesia 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.

Are the musicians aware that families of all ages attend Rockfest? Do you think this is something that is embraced as many artists have families themselves and are often unable to entertain such a diverse audience?

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. But in the past few years I've seen so many artists who brought their own kids to the show. And sometimes when you look to the side stage, you'll see those kids pretending to play guitar or just rocking out with the earmuffs on. Those artists surely embrace the family atmosphere!

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. And rock music 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!

What is the future of Amnesia Rockfest? Is there anything you'd like to say to upstate NY residents in the Mountain Lake PBS region who plan on attending this year and/or in the coming years ahead?

I don't know what the future holds for Amnesia Rockfest, but I can tell you our goal is to keep 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 the Mountain Lake region...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! See you there!

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