Parc Jean-Drapeau hasn’t seen this much action since Expo ’67! The Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has wrapped up its 7th summer, but already the anticipation for next year is buzzing. With three sold-out days and over 120 000 spectators in total this year, Osheaga has evolved into an enormously popular festival. Even with an additional stage, the park grounds were simply packed with eager Osheagans shuffling from one site to another. And although one of Montreal’s infamous heat waves was in full effect, the mood was nothing short of festive and joyful this past weekend. Every show, whether it was on one of the main stages or smaller ones, the site was dense with bodies gyrating and singing along. Walking through the forest between stages you might think you stumbled upon some secret and wild commune. Undoubtedly, Osheaga must truly be a performer’s dream. Like Feist said this year, “It’s like Coachella, but the food is better!” (By the way, Chuck Hughes caters for the artists).
This year’s line-up was pretty impressive, in fact, with some bands returning from previous years (Snoop Dogg (Lion?), Feist, The Black Keys, City and Colour, Metric) but many newcomers (Sigur Rós, Florence and The Machine, Garbage, Brand New, The Weeknd) delighted us all. Some of the highlights this weekend: The Weeknd absolutely blew our minds away early Friday evening, Abel Tesfaye delivering an unequivocally virtuosic performance. Friday night ended with the mesmerizing and regal Florence and The Machine who was dumfounded herself by the intensity of the crowd’s reception. Sigur Rós followed with a spiritual and soothing set ending in an ecstatic flourish that had spectators breathless.
Brand New brought in Saturday evening with their suburban punk and fans singing over Jesse Lacey’s vocals. The festivities closed with a little bit of the 90’s – Garbage took over the festival during their set, inciting earth tremors with the crowd’s thumping their feet. Feist showed us that she’s not some cute folk singer with a quiet and raspy voice but wails on her guitar and sings with a raw energy that makes Iggy Pop envious. And though Snoop Lion was late getting on stage, the irreverent rapper was greeted with such incredible cheering it almost blocked out the sound (not sure about the reggae, but the hip-hop is still classic).
Osheaga finished strong with familiar faces – City and Colour might have played in the rain, but that didn’t stop enamored fans; they sang Dallas Green’s endearing lyrics wonderfully. Metric and The Black Keys were perfect finales to the festival. Both bands have such cool and unique yet identifiable sounds and their songs are super-energetic and fun. Both bands are responsible for ending off an incredible festival with a raucous bash.
It’s not simple capturing the diversity of this festival, all of its acts, and the fun vibe pervading. Simply, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival is getting crowded, but the wide-range of music and events are worth the sweat and the dirt. A special thanks to everyone who works the festival and for making it as clean and safe as possible. Bravo gang!! (more…)