Metalheads celebrate a decade of gathering in Armstrong

Click to play video: 'The 10th annual Armstrong Metal Fest kicks off with a very loud bang'
The 10th annual Armstrong Metal Fest kicks off with a very loud bang
WATCH ABOVE: Thirty seven local and international heavy metal bands perform at the 10th anniversary of the Armstrong Metal Fest – Jul 13, 2018

The 10th annual Armstrong Metal Fest is coming to the Okanagan this weekend.

About 600 heavy metal music fans will be traveling from across North America to listen to local and international death, thrash and black metal bands.

The event is taking place at the Armstrong IPE fairgrounds. Attendees can bring their RVs or camp on the property.

Headlining bands include Archspire, which was recently nominated for a Juno Award, as well as Kataklysm, which won a Heavy Metal Album of the Year Juno in 2016.

Jesse Valstar is one of the co-founders of the event. He says heavy metal built up his confidence when he was a self-conscious teenager.

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Valstar adds that music has given him everything important in his life.

“It has given me opportunities to speak at international conferences about heavy metal. It has given me the opportunity to travel. It has provided me with so many opportunities to meet amazing people,” he said. “It’s been one of the most uplifting things in my life.”

The 10-year anniversary is special for the organizers, as this is the first year they are providing a scholarship to an Armstrong high school music student.

“The fact that we were able to help out a high school kid furthering their education has always been a dream of ours,” Valstar said, “ . . . and this year we pushed it into the budget and made it happen.”

One of the headlining bands on Saturday night is Xul, which has been performing at the event for a decade. Lead singer Levi Meyers says the event is great for businesses in the Armstrong community.

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“Everyone thinks metalheads are evil and worship Satan and stuff, but we’re actually really nice people,” Meyers said. “I’ve met the best kind of people here and I can’t recommend it enough.”

About 37 bands will be headbanging their way across the stage from 11 a.m. to midnight both Friday and Saturday.

For more information on the event, visit the Armstrong Metal Fest website.

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