Week of Mayhem – Segment 2.5 – Kinetik Festival 4.0

Kinetik Marquee night 3

My primary reason for going to Montreal was the check out Kinetik 4.0. Kinetik is an annual industrial music festival that brings musical acts from the US, Canada, and Europe together to share a stage for 5 nights. There is no other industrial festival in North America of this scope, and so fans travel from all over North America to come join the party. If industrial music is your scene, this is the premiere event in western hemisphere to go to.

Should you be considering going to Kinetik, here are a few tips based on my experience to help you make the most of it.

The Venue


Assuming Kinetik continues to be held at Metropolis in future years, I think you’ll be impressed. It’s a huge bar with a huge dancefloor. It fits a few thousand people, and it has an upper level balcony that features stadium seating. So you can stand back by the bar and mingle, go out to the floor to dance, and then sit upstairs to relax while still enjoying the show.
Just be wary of the stairs. There are lots of stairs.

Take Friends with You

Everything is better with friends. Enough said.


As I understand it, the festival has a sponsor hotel every year, but it’s not exactly the cheapest room in town. There are plenty of other hotels, motels, and hostels in downtown Montreal ranging from 2 stars to 5. If you want to be as close to the club as possible Hotel Villa is as close as you can get. However, be prepared for a “colourful” neighbourhood with a bit of “character” and a little bit of noise from the club downstairs. There’s also another place of similar calibre about 1 block west that’s in the same price range.

If you prefer to be a little further away, the Econolodge is about 10 blocks away, which sounds far but is actually surprisingly close. There are a few other reasonable places in the area as well. If you want a hostel, Casa del Popol was recommended to me, although I can’t speak for it myself.

If you travel with friends it’s reasonably inexpensive to share a room. If you’re travelling on your own I would pick a nice hostel or a low-rated motel. You probably won’t be spending much time there anyways, so do you really need silk sheets and a chocolate on your pillow? Many places also have in-suite kitchens or at least a fridge, so you can save some money by stocking up on groceries and avoid eating out.

All in all I suppose the key is to gauge how many beds you need, how far you might have to stumble in the very early morning, and then choose a place you can afford that’s in appropriate proximity.

Festival Wristbands

The first night you arrive you will have to get a wristband for the festival. These are colored coded per pass type. If you do the full week – the diamond pass – you will get a “diamond” colored wristband. This must be worn for the entire week. You will eat, sleep, dance, and drink with this thing on. You will shower with it on. It’s kind of gross. You’ve been warned.

The upside is that these wristbands also make it easier to spot other festival-goers as you’re touristing around town.

Also, if you’re not in any rush to get through the doors on the first night, don’t bother lining up early. If you wait a few hours and that line will disappear.

(I’ve heard in previous years that they did pickups earlier in the day, so that may not even be an issue depending on how the organizers decide to run things.)

Frontline Assembly_Montreal

Bring Earplugs

You will be in a loud noisy club for hours on end. If you value your hearing, bring earplugs. Sure they may not match your funky PVC outfit, but you’ll be thankful when you’re falling asleep to the faint sound of tinnitus on the last day. (Rather than the horrible screeching of tinnitus after the first night without earplugs.)

Also, they’re helpful for drowning out the sound of a snoring roommate.

Wear Comfortable Clothing

Let’s face it, this scene is probably about 50% about the fashion. You’re going to plan outfits, and they’re going to be crazy and elaborate because you want to impress. I know, I get it. I do it too. But try to dial it back a bit and be practical with your outfits.

If you plan to do any dancing – and you’d be silly not to – then dress for it. Wear something lightweight, cool, and breathable. Avoid all that leather and PVC if you can. Don’t wear a super-tight uncomfortable corset if you’re going to want out of it 2 hours later. (Unless, of course, being removed from it is part of your evil plan.) Less clothing is probably better than more, but if you tend to sweat then you might want to consider a few light layers to hide it.

I don’t recommend wearing heels or platforms. They’re too hard on your feet for that much dancing, and they make navigating the stairs tricky. Metropolis has lots of stairs. You have to climb them to get to the washroom. You’re probably safer with a good pair of sneakers. Black, of course. We wouldn’t want to let any color show now, would we?

(Actually, I got a fair bit of entertainment out of watching slightly inebriated girls in inappropriate foot attire try to tromp up and down the stairs. )

(Wait, what am I saying? Ladies, you look amazing in all those things. I take it all back. Wear the heels and the platforms and the corsets and the leather and the PVC. However, the “less clothing” rule should still apply. *Wink wink nudge nudge*. )


Drinks in bars are expensive. Hit a liquor store, buy yourself a bottle or two of your favourite poison, and pre-drink in your hotel room before you go. Save yourself some money.

mmm beer


That much drinking and dancing makes lots of water a must. Keep a supply of water on hand, or ask one of the friendly bartenders for some.

Talk to Strangers

The one thing I regret from my trip is that I didn’t chat with any strangers or make new friends. I went, I danced, I listened, and I drank. I had a great time, but it could have been better. So don’t do what I did - do the opposite. Chat with some strangers and make some new friends. If you’re at the festival then you’ve already got something in common with every single person in the room.

This can also be done in your hotel. Just keep your eyes peeled for neighbours wearing wristbands, and then maybe arrange for some mutual pre-drinking.

Be Selective About Bands


With roughly 10 bands per night over 5 days, that’s about 50 bands. Starting at 6pm and going until 3am every night means you’re in the club for 9 hours ever night that you’re there. That’s a lot of clubbing – maybe too much, even. Some bands will be good, some bands will be bad. Some may surprise you, others may disappoint.

Unless you’re crazy hardcore, don’t try to go to see every group. Pick your favourite artists, and maybe research a few others you haven’t heard of before you go. Find out the lineup schedule each night and work around it. Personally, I skipped the first 3 or 4 acts every night and didn’t go in until around 9pm. I still saw plenty of great groups including all of the headliners and I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything.

If you have internet access keep an eye on the festival website every day in case there are last minute changes to the lineups.

Be Prepared to Keep Strange Hours

Did I mention that this festival runs until 3AM every morning? Which means the best case scenario is you’re in bed by 4AM every morning. You could play vampire and sleep all day, but then you’d be missing out on seeing what Montreal city has to offer. But you can still sleep until noon to get a full 8 hours of rest. Just be mindful that housekeeping will probably skip your suite. And that still leaves time to do touristy things in the afternoon, before dolling yourself up for another night out.


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