Shorter, smaller, muddier: Pared-down rock festival returns to Montebello

Shorter, smaller, muddier: Pared-down rock festival returns to Montebello

The annual rock festival that descended on Montebello, Que., on the weekend was shorter, smaller and a good deal muddier than in years past, garnering mixed reviews from concertgoers and residents alike.

The two day, 25-act Montebello Rock — even the name has been abridged — replaces Montebello Rockfest, whose promoter declared bankruptcy last year.

This year's headliners, MXPX and Black Flag, were lower-profile than in years past, when acts such as blink182, Iggy Pop and the Wu-Tang Clan attracted big crowds to the sleepy western Quebec community.

Rain on both Friday and Saturday turned the site north of the village into a mud pit.

"I tried to be prepared, I brought changes of clothes and it was not enough," Marc Brodeur, who was taking in his fourth Montebello festival, told Radio-Canada in French.

"We were all disgusting. There was almost a foot of mud in some places."


Alex Martel, who founded Rockfest and worked to restructure it, said it was the worst weather in the event's 14-year history, but wouldn't let that dampen his optimism for the festival's future.

"I feel like it's the beginning of something," he said Sunday.

Some local businesses complained about having fewer customers this year.

"I was expecting maybe 50 per cent of last year's traffic, [I got] maybe 10 to 20 per cent of it," said Christian Thériault, owner of the Valentine food truck.


In previous years, there had also been complaints from the community of about 1,000 regarding the crowds, noise and mess Rockfest brought to the village, so some preferred the pared-down version.

"It was better because the main street wasn't blocked, so we could still have our regular customers and tourists," said Alain Larivière of Les Brasseurs de Montebello pub and brewery.

Everyone who spoke to Radio-Canada on Sunday said they hoped the festival would return.

Martel said he wants to look at the finances before confirming that, but said he believes Montebello Rock will be back.