Montreal is blessed to have so many great festivals. Our big weekend long extravaganzas on Ile Ste-Helene, then the myriad of fests at Place des Festivals of the Jazz, Comedy and Franco varieties. This year, Pouzza Fest took a big leap in becoming a major player on that scene also.
Big names such as Less Than Jake and The Planet Smashers drew huge crowds with free outdoor shows, while lesser known acts such as The Dreadnoughts and Flatfoot 56 put on memorable performances for those who arrived early.
For those who purchased passes, you had the choice between seven other venues to catch some great shows. Notably, Foufounes Electriques was packed for performances by the legendary hardcore outfit Sick Of It All, the Suicide Machines and local heroes The Sainte Catherines. Brutal Youth put one of the angriest performances of the weekend, turning Foufs into their own personal playground of aggression.
There were some standout performances to be discovered in some of the smaller venues. Colour Wheel and Full of Hell brought it at Katacombes. Bottle Kids and Brand New Lungs brought a great vibe to TRH Bar. There were some stellar acoustic sets at Frites Alors. ATD and Oh My Snare! brought some killer late night jams at Piranha Bar. Bostonians In The Meantime played one of many great secret shows at Pub Ste-Elizabeth. And these are just the highlights. The tragedy of this fest is that it’s impossible to take it all in.
I think what distinguishes this fest from the rest is the atmosphere and the creativity. On the weekend, festivities kicked off with Yoga for Punks, a good way to decontract after a night of partying. I learned a great new pose called “birds in a tree,” where you stand in tree pose and then extend your middle fingers to either side.
Then there’s the family friendly portion of the fest, where punk musicians played kids songs while children (of all ages) frolicked about in bouncy castles. The amount of kids at the outdoor shows was incredible, Less Than Jake even bringing a kid and his dad on stage to dance with them.
There was stand up comedy at Theatre Ste-Catherine. Some great up and coming local comics waxed philosophically about the punk scene and life in general.
There was a baseball tournament where you could watch some of the artists performing show off their athletic skills alongside former professional athletes such as Georges Laracque and Expos legend “Spaceman” Bill Lee. A great and unique day in the park.
If you’re not having fun at Pouzza fest, you’re really not doing it right. Honestly, have yourself checked out. All weekend the vibe was incredible. It’s the friendliest festival I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. People are in the moment rather than in the selfie. You may not be able to see it all, but when Pouzza Fest 7 comes around, get in there and get as much of it as you can.
Review – Richard Brunette
Photos – Kieron Yates