It’s headbanging heaven at Heavy Montréal

Jamie O'Meara

There are as many variants of metal — black, death, doom, industrial, sludge, speed, grindcore, progressive, hardcore, metalcore, melodic, thrash and so on and so forth — as there are types of metal fans, and nowhere pulls them all together for a wilder ride than Heavy Montréal. Indeed, Quebecers’ unconditional love of both making and supporting heavy music is of wide renown, and after a one-year hiatus, Montréal will once again be the epicentre of the hard rock universe this summer.

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Hard rock made easy

Taking place over two days, July 28 and 29, Heavy Montréal is the premiere destination for fans of hard rock and metal. Since its first edition in 2008, the festival has welcomed almost 300,000 attendees for heavy rock royalty like Slayer, Metallica, System of a Down, Iron Maiden, Korn, Mötley Crüe, Slipknot, KISS, Mastodon and many, many more. This year the all-ages event returns to Parc Jean-Drapeau — located on Île Notre-Dame just minutes by metro from downtown Montréal — on a special new site straddling the hairpin curve of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve F1 racetrack. The new locale features two alternating main stages and a third smaller stage.

Monsters of metal

This year’s lineup, as is unfailingly the case, has a lot of something for everyone. Nearly 50 bands are slated to play, including mega fan faves like inimitable horror rocker Rob Zombie, prog metal heavy hitters Avenged Sevenfold, French technical death metallists Gojira, shock rockers Marilyn Manson, veteran metalcore/hardcore outfit Underoath, L.A. rap rockers Hollywood Undead, stylistic mixologists Trivium, Canadian heavy metal legends Lee Aaron and Helix (most famous for their 1984 radio hit Rock You) and, with a career spanning 30 years, Québec’s very own metal icons Voivod.

All that headbanging works up an appetite

Peckish metalheads can whet their appetite and slake their thirst in the YUL EAT Brasserie, which is the fest’s premium food and drink garden. There will be a selection of food vendors providing vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options, and many of Montréal’s famous food trucks will be onsite offering a range of festival food, including burgers and poutine, subs and sandwiches, pizza, sushi and more. Festival goers are also allowed to bring their food for personal consumption (e.g., a sandwich, fruit, granola bar, etc.). Coolers or lunch boxes are not permitted onsite.

United under the banner of loud music

Uniquely, Heavy Montréal will take place immediately following the second edition of burgeoning punk rock festival '77 Montréal, which happens on the same site the day before (July 27). The two fests have teamed up to offer music fans a Weekend Warrior 3-Day Combo Pass which allows festgoers to attend both events. Pass info can be found here, and the parental units of mini metallists will want to take note that children aged 10 and under are admitted to the fest for free (but must be accompanied by an adult). Now that rocks.

Jamie O’Meara

Jamie O’Meara, blogger

Jamie O’Meara is a writer for The Montreal Gazette, C2 Montréal, Moment Factory and more. He also manages the PR Team at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and is the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.

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