While the city of Montreal proper may suffer from a dearth of harvest festivals and fall country fairs, there’s a seasonal punk rock circus –The Harvest Invitational Punk Rock Classic presented by Vans Warped and this year featuring the likes of Pennywise, Face To Face and Alkaline Trio – that makes its way into town every so often, providing the city’s music fans with yet another reason to give thanks.
At the start – The Harvest Invitational Punk Rock Classic began as a self-described “ironic branding idea for a group of up and coming punk bands” in 1994 – it played host to bands such as Blink 182, Less Than Jake and The Vandals. Now in its fifth edition, the fest balances performances by legends such as the aforementioned with many lesser but no-less-worthy names like hard-rocking homegrown acts Dig It Up, Miracles and The BCASA, among others.
That the event – which takes place on two stages situated on the expansive Esplanade beside Montreal’s storied Olympic Stadium on Sept. 7 – is only turning five after 19 years of on-again, off-again existence is perhaps a perfect metaphor for this unapologetic celebration of arrested adolescence for all the punk rock Peter Pans among us. Indeed, the most recent time SoCal stalwarts Face To Face (famous for anthems like Disconnected and I Won’t Lie Down) graced Montreal, fans whose ages spanned four decades filled the city’s historic Olympia Theatre.
For their part, Hermosa Beach, California’s Pennywise, formed in 1988 and much beloved for hardcore-tinged tunes such as Society and Bro-Hymn (Tribute), are still among the most respected and successful (they’ve sold more than three million albums independently) bands to come out of that scene. No slouches either, Illinois emo-punks Alkaline Trio this year released album number 13 after 17 years of existence.
Very appropriately, the weekend concert coincides with The Empire Backyard Party, presented by Monster Energy and Vans Warped, which bills itself as the biggest Pro/Am Mini Ramp skateboard competition in Canada. Thirty top-ranked skaters from across the continent will be at top-shelf indoor Montreal skate park Le TAZ, Sept. 7-8, 2013 to compete for $20,000 in prize money. Empire Backyard Party will be represented at the Harvest Invitational with a mini pro skate ramp, featuring amateur and pro rider demos, located between the two stages on the Esplanade. So put that in your half-pipe and smoke it.