Tuesday, June 27, 2017

where you belong

so here's the rest of my montebello rockfest 2017 weekend, in recap form! (here's the full rammstein recap, if you missed it yesterday)

i got outta town on thursday, and even though we were an hour late getting into ottawa, i didn't stress it too much (i wasn't heading to rockfest til friday anyway). this was my first time being back in ottawa since, like, probably 2002? i really had no idea where i was going, but fortunately the backpackers inn i was staying at was right near byward market, which isn't hard to find. (i'd booked the private single room for a bit extra, mostly because i was conscious of the fact that i'd be tromping in at 3-4 a.m. each night.)

the proximity to byward meant good choices for thursday-night eats, too:

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

(this would end up being one of the only actual meals i would eat all weekend. festival beers do not count as a meal.)

tried to get a decent amount of sleep on thursday night but ugh, so excited. friday morning meant getting up early enough to fight off the other hostel inhabitants for the shower, then gearing up in my gothy best for day 1 of rockfest. (if i were to do it again, i probably would have worn my rammstein ketten tank top rather than a plain black tank, but i'm still not sure where i stand on the debate of wearing a band's own shirt to their show) the shuttle bus pickup/dropoff point was conveniently down the street from where i was staying, which was a positive, since i didn't want to walk through town in a harness and hot pants.

also worrying was the weather report for the weekend:

but i mean, there wasn't much you could do, you know? umbrellas weren't allowed on site, so i just had to make sure all my makeup was waterproofed and to not give a fuck about my hair. at least it wasn't going to be stinking hot. (a couple people later told me that it had been 40 celsius at last year's rockfest, so we got off lucky this year) plus, this meant i had a good excuse to wear my tall black lace-up boots rather than the chucks i'd bought - one was far more waterproof than the other, and looked a lot cooler with said hot pants.

so about an hour later, our humble school bus pulled into montebello, and so began my first time experiencing rockfest.

the old train station where we pulled in, very rustic

picture this: a small quebec village with one main drag, and it's swarmed by rockers, skids, crust punks, half-naked dudes, half-naked girls, people in costumes, people carrying props, music fans, and more tattoos and facial piercings than i've ever seen in my life. up and down every side street were tents where people were camping. the main street was lined with booths selling everything you'd need: food, deep-fried snacks, sunglasses, bongs, patches, harnesses, bootleg shirts, masks, blow-up sofas, belt buckles, $2 shots, and more. the regular local businesses were open with rockfest specials (one laundromat was charging a few bucks for showers and toilet facilities) and packed to the gills, especially the convenience stores with lineups down the street. there were midway games, and loudspeakers blasting constant rock music, and a general carnival-party atmosphere to the entire place.

i loved the shit out of it, obviously.

i mean, the last time i went to a proper music festival outside of toronto was lollapalooza in 2006, and that was different because it was big-city chicago. montebello is a tiny village with a population of like 1000 people, so the entire place was overrun by rockfest-goers. like, every single one of us was there for the festival. it made for such camaraderie and so many good vibes.

also the inhabitants of montebello seemed to be taking the invasion in stride, at least the seniors:

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

it was extra handy having a rented locker on site, so i stored a bag with a change of clothes (i didn't take my top off, but i did go braless all weekend - might as well show off the outlines of my $150 piercings - so i at least packed an extra one), some extra makeup, deodorant, sunscreen etc. (and later all the merch i bought) and took off for the fest. it was only drizzling a bit at this point and i honestly should have sunscreened up, but i was definitely psyched to see the rest of montebello and to get to the actual festival grounds. go go go!!!

speaking of drizzling, the rain definitely impacted the, uh, firmness of the grounds. that's a nice way of saying that everything was a muddy swamp by friday afternoon, and a gigantic smelly bog on saturday.

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spoiler alert: it didn't rain nearly as much as the weather forecast predicted, and there were no thunderstorms that i saw, but i was still pretty, pretty okay with not camping in the mud pits, thanks.

as i mentioned in the previous blog post, i hadn't planned on sticking around front stage zone at the budweiser stage for the entirety of friday, but uh, that's what i ended up doing.

this means i didn't see too much else of the fest, but it did mean i saw the entire sets of six bands (and rammstein at the end) on the main stage. i saw soulfly first, and watched as the pent-up crowd went absolutely insane (it was still so early and everyone had a lot of energy), then moved into front-row position just in time for pennywise. complete with hot dog man!

this was probably one of the most fan-involved sets i saw, given that they had their fans swarm the stage for "bro hymn", there were about a billion circle pits, and i saw a guy crowdsurfing in a wheelchair. seriously punk rock.

after pennywise's riot of a set came wu-tang clan, a band i never thought i'd see live but was pretty, pretty happy i did:

i'm very certain i got a contact high just from being in that crowd. wu-tang ruled.

then came afi, another band i was super excited to see in the lineup. i love a ton of their singles, and was thrilled to see that they've got a crazy high-energy set with a lead singer that sounds (and looks) just as good as he ever has:

you bet your ass i howled along to "silver and cold" and "love like winter".

bad religion was up next - actually my second time seeing them, after reviewing them for nxne 2012 - and it's always amazing to see that they honestly just look like a bunch of high school teachers. also, their bass was so frigging loud i thought my eardrums were going to pop. (this was around the time when my fatigue began setting in, too; it was about 8 p.m. at this point, and standing for so long - with only a single very quick bathroom break - was starting to wear on me, along with the lack of hydration, so i made sure to at least grab a beer from the roving beer tray guys)

the offspring hit the stage at 10 p.m., playing the ixnay on the hombre album as well as other hits and putting on a great show. they can all still go, for sure, and their stage banter was casual and funny. when i was 16 and blasting "all i want" in my bedroom, i never thought i'd be seeing it performed live when i was 33, but it happened, and life is weird and amazing.

and yep, then rammstein's crew of like a hundred people hit the stage to set up for their set at midnight, and i already wrote up all the details here. greatest. ever.

they finished promptly at 1:30 a.m., which gave me only half an hour to get through the massive crowd, get off the grounds, and get back to the bus dropoff stop for 2. suffice it to say, i basically fucking ran through the mud and down the main street in order to catch my shuttle back to ottawa. we ended up pulling back into the city just after 3 a.m., and i stripped off my caked-on makeup (it survived the rain at the expense of sinking into every one of my pores) and crashed into bed close to 4.

insert something that was less sleep and more disco nap. three fucking hours, baybeeeeeee. at least i made it back with everything intact, save for my remaining half-pack of cigarettes that fell out of my pocket sometime during rammstein (probably for the best, though).

smash cut to the next morning:

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at least i wasn't alone in my suffering:

but whatever, i could deal. my exhausted self winced through a quick shower, tossed on my day 2 outfit - a bit more covered up, thankfully for my poor chest - and procured a gigantic coffee before climbing on board the shuttle bus again. (the bonus of knowing that i didn't have to stand in one place all day: i could actually drink fluids because i knew i could take bathroom breaks!)

the crowd for ensiferum on saturday morning (circle pit in the middle)

because saturday didn't have the goal of being front row for a favourite band or else, i had way more freedom to explore the grounds and really get the full rockfest experience. this also meant getting some decent food in me for the first time since thursday:

A post shared by Caitlin H. (@mylovesubliminal) on

i pretty much snarfed this down in like two minutes. best lunch.

so from there it was going to and from various stages - and squishing my way through the mud pits, thank youuuu giant waterproof boots - to see whatever i could see. there weren't really any "must-sees" for me in the saturday lineup; it's true that i basically came to rockfest for rammstein and rammstein alone, and i don't think i was the only one. at the end of it, i only saw full sets of eagles of death metal and alexisonfire, but i did see at least a few songs from ensiferum, teenage bottlerocket, pup, the birthday massacre, anti-flag, good charlotte, sham 69, meshuggah, grimskunk, megadeth (during which the skies actually opened up for about 15 minutes and i hid in the front stage zone beer tent with a ton of other people), and queens of the stone age.

photo break!

people told me to see pup, so i did

someone offered eagles of death metal's jesse hughes a smurf!

he was very grateful.

he is also very rock n' roll. (i danced through their entire set.)

saw alexisonfire from outside the vip zone because i was too lazy to get back in line to go in. still a good show!

the view of alexisonfire from the other side of the grounds (i was lurking near the headrush stage, standing in deep mud, waiting for grimskunk)

queens of the stone age! i could have been closer, but i'd had my fill of front row on friday, so i backed off a bit

but yeah, saturday...was a long day. we got dropped off at 11 a.m. and wouldn't get picked up until 2 a.m. (though i ended up grabbing the earlier 1:30 a.m. shuttle because i was dead on my feet so sorry, no iggy pop for me), which meant i had fifteen hours to kill by myself. and though seeing all the above bands was fun, a lot of my time was spent wandering the grounds and aimlessly walking up and down the main stretch of montebello. that got a bit old by hour eight, basically.

at least it made for good people-watching and observations:

as for the former tweet, i realized that my brain can only handle english + one other language, and my german is far better than my french right now, so i kept scrambling for words when french people tried to talk to me (this happened a lot) and only coming up with deutsche, haha.

as for the latter, i made plenty of quick friends, whether it was on the shuttle bus, just hanging around the crowd, waiting in line for the portapotties, or waiting in line for beer. two of the better compliments i received this weekend: that i look 25 (yesssss) and that i've got talent if i can take such good photos with an outdated iphone 5s. additionally, i heard at least three audible "wow"s at my friday outfit (full-on harness bra, the shortest shorts i own, and my spiked crown), and hopefully not of the scandalized kind. plus i've never been so aggressively hit on by french guys as i was at rockfest, haha. my harness, my crown of spikes, and my gigantic sunglasses may have all been huge hits, but it's also hilarious that i got a lot of attention on saturday night when i was just wearing a crappy oversized hoodie. what.

weekend looks:

and honestly? that money belt (fanny pack, whatever) was such a good investment. it actually managed to hold all the stuff i really needed on hand - phone, passport, cash, credit/debit/health card, some makeup, my hostel keys - and stay in place, and look super cute, and keep both my hands free. will definitely be using again for future events.

speaking of future events, things to remember next time:

- bring hand sanitizer
- always choose the portapotty line with the fewest girls (we take foreverrrrrr)
- don't wear sticky lip gloss because it will get filled with dirt bits

so as i mentioned, i peaced out early that night so i could grab the 1:30 shuttle bus rather than waiting until 2 a.m.; although that meant i wouldn't get to see iggy pop (he was on at 1:30), i really, really needed to get off my feet and get some rest. i was done drinking, i was tired of people, and i had walked the festival grounds and the street of montebello a thousand times. it was a day, and finally done at about 3 in the morning. (i was and still am so very grateful that this was only a two-day festival. i may have died if it had been three days.)

i didn't even get a very long sleep-in on sunday either, since my bus to toronto was leaving at 11:30 and i needed to get to the station for 10:45 or so. up at 8 a.m., another quick shower to get the dirt and dust off, packed up all my shit, put on my rammstein tour t-shirt, and walked back through downtown ottawa to get to the greyhound. i hopped on the bus back to toronto - along with three other people also in rammstein shirts, hah - and headed homeward. all things considered, it probably would have been cheaper or equal in spenditure to have just gone to see rammstein in chicago on the 27th, but i don't regret getting to see them (from front fucking row for my very first show) and also a ton of other great bands right here in canada. best of times. supporting the community!

logistics: all the thanks and gratitude to the staff and crew of rockfest for an unbelievable weekend, the ottawa backpackers inn for putting me up for the three nights, spectrasonic for the super convenient shuttle buses to and from ottawa/montebello, locketgo for the also super convenient onsite locker-and-phone-charging service, and the smoque shack for feeding me the only two actual meals i ate all weekend (both at their ottawa location and at their food truck in montebello!). also budweiser for sponsoring my liver.

so that's one summer adventure in the books and we'll see what the next few months hold. (hint, hint. i have some plans in the works.) à la prochaine, rockfest!

[ music | the raveonettes, "forget that you're young" ]