There are over 60 major festivals held in Montreal every year, with the number of “celebrations”, somewhere North of 144/year. Considering the positive effect this has on city-wide tourism and revenues, it’s not hard to sympathize with organizers who recruit top international entertainment to sell the tickets. There are good push and pull reasons why they do this, but as a Montreal native— and a fan of live music, generally, it’s just as important to me that there be health in the local scene. And where we can, we try to highlight the festivals, shows, musicians, organizers (and even amateur journalists) that help keep the beat going.
For its third year now, Basin Fest, “an independent music festival started by artists who practice at 1725 Basin Street. No application fees, pay the artists, love the fans.” has given platform to some of Montreal’s up-and-coming outfits, such as The Nils, The Barrelheads(rip), Mooch, The Costanzas, and Pussy Stench. And of course, over the two years, many more have showcased their own rhythms of Art Rock, Alt Rock, Punk Rock, Thrash, Hardcore, and more.
Reaching out for an interview, we met up with Philip Shearing, Tanya Nock, and Matthew Anderson, the organizers, at their HQ, the aforementioned 1725 Basin street. As we enter and take a tour, one is struck with just how many bands are tucked behind closed doors, screaming and laughing, chilling and jamming. During the tour, we meet some friendly faces, all seemingly interested in each other’s project.
Shearing animates the tour, sweeping by the rooms with excited and detailed knowledge of what band X is recording, and how band Y’s intensively preparing to tour, and so on. While not a musician myself, I’ve seen the insides of a few jam spaces—RIP 1180—, and always, listening to these anecdotes of band life, music, booze, more than booze, members going blotto, fights, epiphanies, and whatever else, there’s this nexus of friendship and artistic craft. It’s those 10 000 hours that musicians spend, together or alone, hidden in basements and garages all over the West Island, Laval, Atlantic Canada, wherever…, playing, creating, and repeating together, that make a band—and where else but at festivals like these, do you plan on hearing them?
To these organizers, what matters the most is the empowerment of artist. They don’t care to make a personal profit, and over the years they’ve tied themselves pretzel-like figuring out how do DIY a festival from scratch. There’s a sense of musical kinship here, and that comradery, love of music, opportunity, has pushed over 50 bands to apply for only 15 spaces over the three-day span of October 11th, 12th, and 13th, at Bar L’Escogriffe in the heart of the Plateau.
The bands playing over the three days include :
Thursday, the 11th of October:
Friday, the 12th of October:
Saturday, the 13th of October:
Tickets are 10$ at the door