Metalheads rejoice! Heavy Montreal is one of the largest metal festivals in North America. After taking 2017 off, the festival came back in 2018 and had an attendance of around 30,000 people, which was smaller than previous years. The lineup was officially revealed yesterday (even though Slayer accidentally leaked it last week) and I must say, the 2019 edition has a very strong lineup.
Taking place on July 27-28 and being back at the newly renovated Jean Drapeau park, the festival will have a fresh experience. I haven’t been to the festival since 2015, but a lot of people I know weren’t fond of the temporarily relocated festival grounds, so being back to where it started is a huge plus. The renovated area will now have larger areas, we won’t have to deal with mud and being in a more open area enhances the guest experience.
The Lineup: The lineup is much stronger this year than before, not only from the supporting bands but even the headliners. When it comes to supporting bands, the ones I’m excited for are: Stick to Your Guns, Counterparts, Terror, All That Remains, Despised Icon, Kataklysm, Hatebreed, Beartooth, Killswitch Engage, Godsmack & Slayer. I’m also excited to see Slash and Evanescence for the first time as well, and it’s great that it’ll be their first performance as well. The lineup has everything from Orange County Hardcore, to Montreal death metal, to Thrash Metal and everything in between.
Headliners: Thrash metal Gods Slayer and the extremely popular Ghost are the headliners for this year’s edition. This will be Slayer’s last show in Quebec as they are still on their last world tour until they call it quits. Having seen Slayer three times before, they always put on a killer show. Ghost, on the other hand, is a band I’m not too familiar with honestly, but from what I’ve heard, they put on a great show and have a diverse sound to their music. I’m still excited to see this band anyways since theatrics enhance the show experience. This will also be Ghost’s only appearance at a North American festival.
What to expect: Bands where people will get destroyed in the pit: STYG, Terror, Hatebreed, Despised Icon, Killswitch, Anthrax, Slayer.
Bands to crack a beer and enjoy: Godsmack, Evanescence, In This Moment, Ghost
Comedy: Steel Panther
What gets older people excited: Skillet, Quiet Riot, Anthrax, Slayer
Expectations of the show: I’m definitely thinking when it comes to future bands added to the lineup, it’ll be bands on the Summer Slaughter tour. That tour should be announced within a few months, but don’t be surprised to see bands in the same vein as Veil of Maya, Born of Osiris, Dying Fetus, Between the Buried and Me, Cannibal Corpse, etc..
Attendance: 2018 recorded about 27,000+ attendees, which again is smaller than other years (usually averages 40-45,000, except 2014 when it was 75,000). With this lineup, I’m going to guess at least 40-45,000 will attend this year, mainly because of Slayer and Ghost, in addition to the strong supporting band lineup. It was also estimated that 39% of festival-goers last year were from outside Quebec and I’m expecting this number to be in the 43-45% range for 2019.
Benefits of more out of town attendees: Besides increasing the repertoire of the festival, out of towners contribute to millions of dollars a year for the city and festival. If the festival gets the same amount or more out of towners as last year. Let us presuppose they spend an average of $250, it adds up to $2.6M. This will contribute to the city, the festival and local businesses.
Verdict: Easy! I’ll see you in the pit.
Tickets are on sale at https://www.heavymontreal.com/en/passes