If there’s one way to describe the upcoming Montreal Ska Fest, it’s welcoming. Now on its 4th installment, the festival brings musicians and fans together in a weekend-long affair. It kicks off at Petit Campus on Oct. 11 and culminates in a breakfast concert on Sunday at the Ye Olde Orchard Pub.
Ska traces its roots back from Jamaica in the late 1960s and is known for its constant rhythmic beat, infused with a diverse array of flavours.
“Ska touches so many musical forms that you can have ska meld with almost any culture and you’ll come up with something a little bit different,” explained Lorraine Muller, the festival’s official spokesperson. “It’s always really interesting to hear other people’s take on ska music. There’s J-ska (from Japan), South American, East Coast, West Coast and Canadian ska sounds.”
After hearing “Lorraine” by the English ska band Bad Manners at a bar, Muller fell in love with the genre and formed her own band, The Fabulous Lolo. Muller places a lot of emphasis on how music can inspire people, and says that’s why she has continued to be involved in Ska Fest all these years.
The Montreal Ska Society, the organization responsible for the festival, is completely volunteer-run and sends all festival proceeds to the bands.
“We don’t get paid for what we do, we just want to make sure we put on a great festival,” said Muller. “We want to give them the rock star treatment and make them feel that Montreal is the greatest place on earth for this style of music.”
“The main mission of the Ska Festival is to give a venue to the local bands and to give them a place in which they can play alongside bigger acts so that they can become inspired,” she said.
Muller’s positive outlook reflects the essence of ska music; it’s out there to welcome us and embrace us with that same euphoria that greeted her when she heard that life-changing song decades ago. In terms of local acts to watch out for, check out Danny Rebel and the KGB and The Fundamentals at the Ska Fest’s launch party.
For more information, visit www.montrealskafestival.ca