Meet Metal Fest Co-Organizer Jesse Valstar


Jesse Valstar

What is Armstrong Metal Fest all about?

Jesse Valstar: Armstrong Metalfest is all about having a great time watching bands with new and old friends from all over North America!

What inspired you to start Armstrong Metal Fest?

Wacken 2008. I attended that year to see At the Gates, Carcass, Iron Maiden and Van Canto! During the festival, I asked a friend of mine Jeff Black (Guitarist of Gatekeeper) why we did not have anything like this at home? That’s kinda when the wheels got turning. Once I got home from the trip the festival bug was planted. When spring came around in 2009 cofounder Bretton  Melanson went to a bush party where a bunch of bands played and when he returned home he expressed how he wanted to do something like the event he attended. I asked if he had a place in mind and he suggested his parents farm… and off we went!

How long has Armstrong Metalfest been running? 8 years strong!


West of Hell – Photo Credit – Chris Geistlinger

What’s your favourite part of Armstrong Metal Fest?

The festival has given me the opportunity to have all sorts of life experiences and the chance to meet people i otherwise would not have met! Not even just at the festival, but also at other events!

A good example of that was an opportunity to go to the first ever whammy awards in Vancouver (The Whammys are an independant award ceremony for local vancouver music industry people). Armstrong offered a spot to who ever won the best metal band (Unleash the Archers took that one). It was a lot of fun to meet all these wonderful people in the western Canadian music scene!

Dana Zuk

Dana Zuk

Dana Zuk

Dana Zuk

Who are you most excited to see perform this year?

This year’s line-up is a tough one to pick out just one band I am excited to see! Also it varies from day to day because of the wide variety of genres we have at this years festival. If i had to pick though, today would be The Dayglo Abortions, because it’s very different from what we usually have at the festival, also their new album is absolutely stellar.

What’s your favourite thing about metal music?

With music in general, I love how there are no real rules as how you can express yourself, and personally I love hard hitting fast music where I can hear the every ounce of the singers/screamers soul behind what they are belting out. Energy, I love it.

The people in and around metal are one of the biggest reasons why I love it. I grew up with just my momma and my brothers around, and my male role models were guys like ZakK Wylde and Dimebag where I would always be reading the latest interviews with those guys thinking how awesome they were. Now that a few years have past since those days I realize how much that has had impact on my life.

Entrance to Glory - Photo Credit - Chris Geistlinger

Entrance to Glory – Photo Credit – Chris Geistlinger

Where do you see Armstrong Metal Fest becoming in the years to come?

It can only grow! The continued support from all the people who attend the festival will see to that! Maybe one day in the years to come we may outgrow the venue we currently use and move somewhere bigger! I have a few places in mind, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there! For now we have to focus on what we have, which is quite possibly the best collective line up this festival has ever seen!

Where can people find out more about the Armstrong Metal Fest and whose coming?

Any last words?

HUGE SHOUT OUT to all the people who make this happen! The people who act as gears in the machine that is Armstrong Metalfest. If it wasn’t for them the festival would not be what it is. They spend countless hours fundraising, setting up and executing events, planning, editing graphics/website, and loading and unloading gear. If you are at the festival this year and you see them, let them know you’re having a good time! Hell even a wordless high five would do! They do the festival for the main purpose of providing a good time for everyone who attends!





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