(Another) Interview with Hugo from Pouzza Fest!

I interviewed you before last year’s Fest, how was it?
It was amazing. It was really cool to see all those punks having fun in the beautiful city of Montreal that we love. All the secret shows and the sense of community was overwhelming.

Did everything run smoothly? Or at least as smoothly as you hoped?
It was a bit harder with all the student protests and the aggressiveness of the police but we all stick together and made it fun. We were also victim of our success and there was a little too many people that didn't understand how those festival works and were pissed on missing bands. I think we fixed this problem with the new system, but people gotta understand that they are coming to a festival, not a single normal show. If you only wanna see ONE band out of the 300 playing, you should wait for next time they come around. This is a punk rock buffet we are offering. You don't go to a buffet pay 25$ just to eat the fries right ?

You were super stoked for the ska night at Club Soda, did it live up to your expectations?
Yes it was amazing and it made us book more ska acts this year. Buck O Nine, The Slackers, Mu330, The Planet Smashers. We are stoked!!!

What show are you most excited for this time?
American Steel at Foufs, Cerce, Ann Beretta, Good Riddance, Glocca Morra, Jersey, Laureate, Masked Intruder, Mu330...the whole new outdoor venue and the Pouzza Bambino for the kids will be awesome!

Has the festival grown since its second year?
I think it's getting bigger again yeah, but not in a stressful way like it did from the 1st to the second year. Now we got more venues and bigger venues, but the bands are the same type of bands and everybody seems happy to be playing and be a part of this and we have a super solid staff that is relaxed and cool and we are very excited to see it happening again this year.

Are there even more bands on the lineup again this year?
Yes there's almost 75 more bands than last year.

Do you have way more submissions to go through this time around also?
Yes, i had to listen to hundreds of bands. It's fun though. It keeps me in the loop and i like to discover new bands. Like that band CERCE that i was mentioning above. I didn't know them and i'm a fan now and can't wait to see them.

Can you give me any hints as to what secret shows you’re planning this year, if any?
No. there is a bunch but can't tell you. We also do alot of last minute things where i convince a band backstage to do a smaller show later in the evening.

What has been the biggest problem in the past for Pouzza Fest?
Money! hahaahhaha..also like i said before, people that don't understand the way the festival works...it's a tradition to have those festivals, but if you are not aware of the way it works and you just buy a ticket cuz you wanna see a couple big bands, you might end up being disappointed. You gotta be open to discover new bands, new venues, smaller bands, smaller labels, the real punk scene that's happening everywhere in the world right now.

Would you say you’ve heard of the majority of these lesser-known bands before adding them to the Fest?
Probably like 60% of them. haha

Are there any bands on the bill that you absolutely just do not like? You don’t have to name names.. but do you give those bands the same chance?
Yes, there's alot of bands that i don't like the music. I don't think it's very important really. I look for passion, dedication, honesty, songwriting...and if other people like the bands. I don't do this festival for me, we don't do this whole thing for us, we do it for the fans coming.

Do you have more people helping you out this year so you can party more?
I'm trying...not so much partying more, but enjoying the moment more, meeting the bands, shaking hands, taking the pulse, i gotta be able to get out of the truck and out of the office to check out the scene. Same thing for my partner Hélène, we gotta be out there, talking to the bands and the festival goers.

So you're doing another Pouzza Bambino for kids this year?
Yes we are, and it's gonna be OUTDOORS !! we are super excited. Mike Park is coming back for this, with Dan Potthast of MU330, Masked Intruder are doing a special set for it too and there's a secret artist playing. someone that is very big here in Québec. We are very happy about this.

What show would you highly suggest I make it to?
If you have kids, the kids show. If not, i think the best way to go about Pouzza or any of those other festivals is to go with the flow. You walk around, you try to discover new bands, check the bands playing, listen to them before on the internet, check the program, read the descriptions, discover. listen. meet new people. have fun.