I love music festivals.
They make me happy.
They make PLENTY of people happy.
Heavy Mtl is one of my favorite music festivals, and is rapidly defining itself as THE Heavy Metal Festival of the summer in North America, bringing in some the biggest, heaviest bands from around the world.
The venue itself is unique in its beauty and layout. Parc Jean Drapeau is on a small island just South of downtown Montreal. Surrounded by water and picturesque views of Montreal and the South shore, it successfully marries the business of a music festival with a natural environment. A concert goer can wander from being 8 feet away from the stage, to sitting at the water’s edge under one of the park”s ubiquitous trees, resting on a bench, laying down in the grass, or walking in the woods.
Two big, beautiful stages stand side-by-side towering high over the gravel expanse that separates them from the grassy hill. Concessions selling food and beer line the outskirts of the gravel pit.
Behind the stages are a network of roads, gates and fences that promise to keep the artists well separated from the general population, unless, of course they choose to mingle with the crowd.
Security is everywhere, and appear to be friendly, well-trained, well-organized and focused.
A third stage can be found by following a path through the woods—a smaller stage, but a venue in and of itself, complete with its own security, concessions, and gravel pitch. A much more intimate setting than the two main stages, it offers a great opportunity for qualified local acts, as well as bands that are on the rise.
The two main stages provided non-stop music from 1pm through 11pm, with no more than a ten minute break between bands. I was awed by the seeming flawlessness and efficiency with which this was executed. This is concert engineering at its finest…and it’s the concert enthusiasts who benefit.
I believe that most of the festival’s attendees arrived at the venue by taking Montreal’s subway or “le metro” as we did.
On our way to the metro, we were stopped by a group of young men, all proudly donning their favorite band shirts asking if we were on our way to Jean Drapeau. How did they know we were heading to the same place? Our ear-to-ear grins? Our camera gear? Or maybe it was the LOUDGUITARS.COM shirts….Yeah that’s likely it.
We told them “Follow us!” By the time we got to the park – I think we’d pied-pipered all of the metalheads out of the downtown core. We watched the trickle of concert-goers morph into a raging river of black tshirts, pumped up and determined to have a great time. The excitement was palpable. Amazing.
When thousands of people gather with the intention of having a great time, it creates an almost electrical energy. The air is charged. It’s almost nourishing on some levels. It’s powerful.
Before the first band even played its first note, the spirit of this unique and wonderful festival had me smiling humbly at my good fortune to be lucky enough to be there.
The rest was pure magic.
To read more about Ashton click HERE