It’s now less than a month until Armstrong Metalfest flings its doors open to the gathering masses, welcoming in another round of Canada’s longest running camping festival. All ages and fully licensed, with a strong lineup featuring international artists and the cream of Canada’s crop, AMF looks set to have the best and biggest draw yet.
Co-founder Jesse Valstar is understandably enthusiastic. “Bretton [Melanson, the other co-founder] and I started this when we were 19, and it was a large undertaking. Now we’re 26 and it’s grown beyond us! But now we have the necessary reputation to put on a hell of a show.”
And what a show it is: 36 bands in two days, topped off with Californian deathgrind stars Cattle Decapitation and Canada’s own extreme metallers Anciients. The rest of the bill is a feast of Canadian and US metal, from the vicious deathcore leanings of Angelmaker to the technical heavy metal leanings in Caveat, the power-infused melodeath of the hotly-tipped Crimson Shadows to the blackened death metal roar of Xul.
As well as a stellar lineup, there’s plenty of other forms of entertainment to keep a metalhead amused. Not least, AMF have announced a full-sized wrestling ring, kindly provided by BC’s very own Thrash Wrestling, who will stage a 2-hour show, the winner receiving a custom-made AMF Championship belt! There’s also a farmer’s market on the Saturday, “perfect to get blueberries for a hangover,” quips Valstar, and a long-standing tradition of a Beer Helmet March, where the creator of the most inventive beer case helmet gets two free passes for the next year. Random participants also get merch donated kindly from various bands of the festival, so it can pay off to slap a beercase over your head and walk!
Armstrong Metalfest runs from 17th to 18th July. Camping is included in the price. You can pick up tickets here: https://armstrongmetalfest.ca/tickets/
Jesse Valstar and Bretton Melanson, festival founders and organizers, are available for interview both via e-mail and on-site.
The full line-up is as follows:
DISCIPLE OF DECAY
EYE OF ODIN
NECK OF THE WOODS
OUT OF THE RUINS
THE HALLOWED CATHARSIS
THE ORDER OF CHAOS
THE PRESS GANG
VALE OF PNATH
Armstrong Metalfest Online
Website – https://armstrongmetalfest.ca/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/armstrongmetalfest
Twitter – https://twitter.com/amfcanada
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/c/ArmstrongMetalFest
Campsite photograph credited to Andrew Barker.