Messtival Dares To Be Different

Wet Grow Light Photo by Kate Tadic
Wet Grow Light Photo by Kate Tadic

Messtival isn’t your run-of-the-mill music festival. But then again, its beginnings weren’t exactly run of the mill either. Over the course of the last seven years, it has grown from a house party in Dieppe to one of the province’s most highly anticipated summer events.

Messtival has been anything but your conventional music festival. From its self-deprecating ads to the lineup of music planned for its stages, attendees are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in non-conventional festival events such as live art, visual projections, laser tag and fire spinning.

Music continues to be a central part of Messtival’s mandate, however. The festival has consistently prided itself on booking a diverse range of artists covering multiple genres of music.

While previous editions of Messtival have hosted acts ranging from Moncton rock band The Motorleague and country music act The Divorcees, the festival has also welcomed jazz-fusion band Les Paiens and Halifax electronica duo Scientists Of Sound.

Keeping with their tradition of offering a glimpse into some of the best underground music being made today, this year’s Messtival lineup includes American acts The Hornitz and Durians as well as Montreal rapper Xania.

And while it is certainly a coup for festival organizers to be able to attract national and international acts, there is also much in the way of homegrown Atlantic Canadian talent as well: Indie-rock band Coyote and the uniquely named Disco Rockin’ Llamas call Prince Edward Island home, while Wet Grow Light, electro DJ Marco Logik, Art>Dance>Party and more are proud New Brunswickers.

This year’s Messtival is the seventh edition albeit with a slight modification from previous years: the one-time three-day festival has been condensed into one day, hence organizers are dubbing it “Messtival 6.5.”

“Messtival is 6.5 this year due to the fact it is only one day as opposed to the three days that we have undertaken in years past,” Messtival organizer and performer Jonah Hache says with a laugh. “The festival is only half the time but double the disappointment.

“This year is the first time it has been a one-day festival since 2011.”

Despite needing to offer a more streamlined festival this year, the progress and growth that Messtival has otherwise seen over the course of the last seven years astounds Hache.

 “When Messtival started, it was a festival dominated by live music from around the area. Since its beginnings though, Messtival has grown into a multi-platform show with music, live art, projection installations and late night DJ dance parties along with non-conventional festival activities like duck races, laser tag, yoga, costume competitions and more,” Hache says.

Over the last few years, the number of music festivals and events taking place throughout the Maritimes has grown exponentially. Although Magnetic Hill has been quiet for the past couple of years, smaller scale events such as Messtival, the Codiac Music Festival and events at Plan b Lounge and Casino New Brunswick have ensured that the beat goes on for Metro Moncton music lovers. Beyond Moncton, Fredericton boasts two high-profile festivals, FredRock and the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, while the more rural areas of the province host events such as the Larlee Creek Hullabaloo.

In the face of all that competition, Hache says that Messtival has been able to maintain a dedicated fan base thanks to organizers’ dedication to seeking out non-mainstream artists .

“We have been very fortunate that the people who come to Messtival seem to be waiting for it every year,” he says. “We have always booked acts for the festival based on who we believe will be the most fun or the most interesting for those who come.

“Supporting local talent has always been a priority for both Messtival as well as the TBA Collective with whom we coordinate the festival. Because the festival is only one day, this year’s edition just happens to have an equal amount of bands that are local (and bands from) Central Canada and the United States.”

What: Messtival 6.5, featuring The Hornitz, Durians, Art>Dance>Party, Disco Rockin’ Llamas, Coyote, Xania, Gay Poutine, Roxy & The Underground Soul Sound, Wet Grow Light, Marco Logik, Daryl & His Boogie Buttons, Taco Supreme, The Torinos, Wobble Wallah, Metro Gnohm, Jedis of Funk
When: Saturday, Aug. 9, beginning at 1 p.m.
Where: 333 Windmill Road, Anagance
Tickets: $55 in advance, $70 at the gate. Advance tickets are available at Spin It Records (467 Main St., Moncton)