Montebello Rockfest declares bankruptcy

Saddled with insurmountable debt from this year's festival, Montebello Rockfest has declared bankruptcy.

Popular music festival owed millions to creditors after this year's event

Fans enjoy The Offspring's set at Montebello Rockfest on June 23, 2017. (Denis Babin/CBC)

Saddled with insurmountable debt from this year's festival, Montebello Rockfest has declared bankruptcy.

The annual festival's organizers were $5 million in debt when they applied for insolvency protection in June. In a statement posted on Facebook Friday, Rockfest founder Alex Martel said the organization has been unable to recover financially.

"Despite everyone's efforts since late June to save the organization — including the KPMG firm, the former majority partners and myself — no agreement was concluded yet and the deadline for the last court extension has arrived," Martel wrote.

In an interview with Radio-Canada, Martel said he'd received positive thoughts from artists, members of the community and even local government officials since the news broke. 

"I really appreciate all the support that's been given to me so far, and it encourages me to keep moving forward, keep my head up and keep going," he said. 

Martel said one of those officials was Mathieu Lacombe, the MNA for the riding of Papineau, which includes Montebello. 

Planning rebirth 

Martel said the bankruptcy doesn't necessarily spell the end for the music festival, however.

"I'm not giving up yet," Martel said. "I intend to continue the festival, and I'm going to keep working on it."

In June, the festival said about 100 creditors including artists and technicians had not been paid. A week prior to seeking insolvency protection the festival had been given $500,000 by the Quebec government.

The June festival has taken place in Montebello, Que., for the past 13 years. During the festival, the western Quebec town's population balloons from about 900 to as many as 200,000, according to organizers.  

Martel said he would reveal his plans in the new year, and expressed his belief that companies would be willing to work with him in future. 

"For 13 years, I built my reputation. I built credibility in the industry and 10 of those years, I was by myself," he said. "I didn't have any partners. And I think those people know me and trust me and they know what I'm about."