Rockfest's Alex Martel with some advice for his 19-year-old self

OTTAWA, ONTARIO: JANUARY 15, 2014 -- President and founder of Amnesia Rockfest, Alex Martel, held a press conference to announce the signing of major partnerships and significant structural changes from years past, which should greatly improve the 9th edition of Amnesia Rockfest, scheduled for June 20 and 21, 2014, at the Montebello marina. The event in 2013 was notable for the massive amounts of garbage and overflowing portable toilets left behind. (Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen) 115788 Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa Citizen

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If you could travel back in time and talk to yourself at age 19 — that age of potential, idealism and, oh yes, insecurity — what words of wisdom would you offer? We asked some Ottawans for their thoughts as we start 2019.


Dear 19-year old Alex,

You’ve embarked on one hell of a ride by starting Rockfest two years ago.

You will not only accomplish your dreams, but you will surpass them. Your festival will become the largest rock event in Canada and you will tour the world with your band, Deadly Apples. You will book several of your childhood bands in your hometown of Montebello, Que., become friends with many of them and they will then take you out on tour. You will be recognized and appreciated for your work, with a legion of festival-goers backing your crazy dreams.

But you must know that you have picked the most difficult and risky business. You will go through tremendous amounts of stress and will constantly face challenges. You will make many mistakes, but you will always learn from them. As the founder of the festival, you will receive all the praise when things go well and all the blame when things go wrong. Always keep your head up. You will make countless personal sacrifices in order to focus on your work, including several relationships. But the feeling of accomplishing something massive along with your love of music will make it worth it. You have the drive to make it happen. You have to find a balance between work and enjoying yourself, it’s the key to happiness. The fact that you are introverted, combined with your obsessive drive for success, will often get you misinterpreted, but you will slowly develop these skills as you get older. Also, be extremely cautious of the financers and partners that you’ll be working with, as their sole interest is making money and they do not care about your dreams, about the fans or about the bands — that will cause major issues down the line, but you will get through it. Get ready for a crazy life full of accomplishments! Yessir Miller! (You will understand that saying in a few years.)

Alex Martel is the founder of Rockfest and the lead singer of the band Deadly Apples

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