Founded in 2009, Armstrong Metal Festival takes inspiration from the European metal festival circuit to bring fans together to mosh and camp in the great outdoors of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. What began as a backyard party with performances from local bands has grown into a two-day extravaganza of internationally renowned metal bands playing alongside the homegrown talent that kicked everything off.
Previous lineups of the festival have included performances from bands such as Cattle Decapitation, Suffocation, 3 Inches of Blood, Rivers of Nihil, Dayglo Abortions, Bison B.C., Holy Grail, Archspire, Cryptopsy, Beyond Creation, The Zenith Passage, Striker, Ninjaspy, Revocation, Anciients, Crimson Shadows, The Kennedy Veil, Neck of the Woods and Kataklysm.
When festival goers aren’t banging their heads or hopping into the mosh pit, they can catch the equally brutal Thrash Wrestling events. The Okanagan-based wrestling promotion has been delivering high-octane performances in the area for over fifteen years with styles ranging from traditional wrestling to the weapons-oriented “hardcore” style. The festival is a highlight for the wrestlers, who say that the event is one of their favourite places to perform since the crowd wants them to really go “all out.”
The festival is also very community minded and aims to provide opportunities for bands of all levels. It’s operated by West Metal Entertainment Society, a not-for-profit registered with the government of Canada, who aim to give entry-level musicians places to perform and chances to play with more established acts.