Organizing a music festival has been every man’s dream since the dawn of civilization. Even Cro Magnon promoters fought to the death for the rights to book The Rolling Stones and commemorated their victories by painting indecipherable pictures in caves. (Thats a joke about how old The Rolling Stones are, not an “inventing the wheel” gag.)
In modern times the strong continue to thrive, and Pouzza Fest stands as a formidable contender in the North American festival scene. Part of the team responsible for Pouzza is a gent by the name of Matt Collyer, who has given his blood, sweat, and tears so that we could give our blood, sweat, and tears to hear some awesome tunes. Matt took a few minutes to gives us some insight into the rising megalith that is Pouzza Fest.
Given that this is the (lucky) seventh installment of Pouzza, what’ve been some of the more unlucky incidents that have happened in the festival’s history ?
Rain. Making deals with US bands in US dollars and then having the exchange rate change by 30% (oops!). Setting off fireworks in our office. Having to do clean up Monday morning.
Pouzza seems to have grown exponentially in recent years, and that kind of growth has to have come with its fair share of pains. What have been some of your biggest challenges you’ve faced in adjusting for the festival’s success?
Money worries. We’re really, really, really DIY. There would be no Pouzza if it weren’t for our super awesome punk-rock ticket buyers, our über wicked volunteers, and our sponsors like Beau’s, Trou du Diable, and Sailor Jerry.”
The festival’s layout is more similar to South By Southwest than a typical music festival. I love the way shows are spread out through the downtown core, [forcing] you to walk about the city a bit rather than have to stay stuck in a specific venue or festival ground.
Was this something you had always envisioned for the festival, or did it happen more by circumstance?
Hugo and Hélène always wanted it to be a multi-venue festival. [It’s] definitely a big reason why I fell in love with the festival; it’s awesome jumping from one venue to another to catch as many bands as possible. Doing the outdoor stage just sorta happened…now it’s become a huge part of the fest.
If you ever thought Pouzza could be held on a festival ground, would you change it in lieu of the existing format?
The festival’s rough exterior is nicely juxtaposed by its family-friendly activities, as well as its overall inviting atmosphere. Was this an effort to expand your market more to the general public, or to accommodate fans with families and to start indoctrinating the next generation of your festival attendees?
It’s a bit of both. The minute we moved outdoors, we really had no choice but to make it friendly to everyone, but at the same time tons of our Pouzza fans have Mini-Mes and -Shes, and their kids love to go nuts at Pouzza Bambino, it’s hilarious. Who doesn’t like bouncy castles and punk rock???? Ninja Turtles and cotton candy??? Fields of lollipops and a piñata??? Woo!
Who are the bands you’re most excited to see perform this year, and which bands have you always wanted to book but have alluded you thus far?
Ok, everyone should go see Sammy Kay. And Mustard Plug! Personally, I can’t wait to see all the Stomp bands, especially the ones with new music like The Real McKenzies, Raygun Cowboys, Isotopes, and Penske File. Red City Radio, RVIVR, Pup, Joey Cape and of course Lagwagon. It’ll be a blast.
What music festivals are left on your Bucketlist, to see or play in?
The 2017 edition of Pouzza Fest will take place at venues around Montreal from May 17th – 21st. Check it out!
Written and Compiled by Paul Ablaze
*edited by Kate Erickson