Rockfest 2015: Bands! Grounds, VIP, Food & Camping

Rockfest 2015

It’s all about the bands!

This year was the 10th anniversary of Rockfest in Montebello, Quebec, and wow, did they ever stack the lineup. It was perfect for metal-heads, hard-rockers, punks and ska-lovers. It was hard to pick and choose who to watch. I’m more of a fan of punk and ska, so the highlights for me this year were: Propagandhi, Mad Caddies, Big D and the Kids Table, Story of the Year, Satanic Surfers, Sublime with Rome, Bad Religion, and the list goes on. So far, this festival easily has the best lineup of any that I’ve been to. Other headliners this year were: The Offspring, System of a Down, Linkin Park, Slayer, Snoop Dog, Pixies, Rob Zombie, Deftones, Rancid, and many more. Check out the full list.

Here are some clips from the weekend:

Festival Grounds

The layout of the festival is pretty much the same as last year with the addition of a ferris wheel. There are two smaller stages near an entrance, and the three large stages in a big open area.

Rockfest Ferris Wheel

Saturday when it first opened

Saturday when it first opened at noon. Jag girls ready to sell some shots!

Looking toward the hotel from the VIP stage

Looking toward the hotel from the VIP stage

Rockfest Stage Layout from Hill

Rockfest stage layout from the hill in the smaller area

This video shows what it’s like to walk from the smaller two stages toward the open area with the three stages:




VIP – Is it worth it?

Rockfest 2015 VIP

VIP Area near main stage

Since this was the the third year that I’ve attended Rockfest, I’ve seen some significant improvements over the years, so we figured it would be worth buying VIP to see what it would be like.

The VIP area beside the main stage is pretty large and I think they only let in a certain amount of people at a time, so it always felt like there was lots of space. We could get as close as we wanted without having to navigate through thousands of people to get a good view. Seeing Mad Caddies open up Saturday’s lineup in VIP was an incredible and fun experience!

Although the amount of space is perfect, there are a couple areas for improvement. For instance, there were toilets in VIP, but only five and there was water gathering in front of a few of them, which made it hard to use those ones. Laying down some mulch to make that area more usable probably would have helped. Also, the lineup got pretty long for those few toilets, so it was often quicker to leave VIP and go to the main ones.

They had a bar in the VIP area, which was super convenient, but unfortunately they didn’t sell water, so we had to leave the VIP area to grab a bottle refreshing h20. A suggested improvement would be to offer free bottles of water or a water refill station in the VIP area. It would create more of an exclusive feel.

Since only one stage had the VIP area, we were still battling with the rest of the crowds to see bands on the other stages. If the other two main stages had a VIP area, that would be a significant improvement. If that’s not possible, then it should be clear when selling tickets that it only covers main stage access.

So what about the rooftop?

Rockfest View from the Hotel

View from the hotel rooftop. Linkin Park ending with the Dookies about to start

We were lucky to gain access to the rooftop this year. The view is absolutely incredible. To see thousands of people from that vantage point really put a new perspective on the festival for me. There was a bar up top, but unfortunately no access to the washrooms unless you were staying there. For the short time we were up there, it was fairly quiet, but it was nice to sit back, drink a brew and enjoy the bands from high above.


Food

Overall, the food within the festival grounds was pretty typical and tasty. Pizza, hot dogs, noodle truck, and lots and lots of poutine, but would you expect anything less in Quebec? There was a carnival setup at the church this year that had some more food options. I had a delicious veggie wrap from the vegan truck one day and I also tried a salad from one of the local caf├ęs, which had a tasty balsamic dressing with fresh baked bread on the side. There are also lots of vendors lining the streets, which is such an improvement since the first year I attended. That year the only food options were from the local restaurants, and it often was at least a half hour wait to even be seated. It’s so great to see the locals getting involved.

Street vendor in Montebello

Street vendor in Montebello

Streets of Montebello at night

Vendors still going strong after dark

Camping

We camped on the same lawn as last year, which worked out great. Our hosts were super friendly and accommodating. Lawn camping sure beats the general camping! We were able to park our vehicle with our tent for the price of $250 per lot. Definitely worth it. They also had real toilets and a cold shower on site, with improvements to the facilities this year.

Lawn camping at rockfest

Lawn camping at Rockfest

Conclusion

This festival seriously rocks. With 200,000 people it’s becoming one of the biggest festivals in North America, and the logistics and bands are getting better every year. Will I attend next year for the fourth year in a row? Only the lineup will tell :)

Have you been to a music festival before? If so, what did you like most about it?