My, my, Osheaga! You have grown! Montreal’s little music festival in the forest has become a grand and debaucherous extravaganza, dwarfing its former self and raising the bar for all music festivals around the world (last year Feist claimed that Osheaga was like Coachella, but with better food – pretty good assessment). Osheaga is not just a festival, really – it’s a romping three day bender! And, certainly, one thing must be mentioned foremost – thank you to all the volunteers and workers who kept Parc Jean-Drapeau from transforming into a swamp of garbage and bodily waste and preserved an enchanting park from start till end. Bravo guys! Osheaga (which is a Mohawk phrase that means people of waving hands – fun fact of the day) began in 2006 and saw 25 000 audience members in total that year. The last two years Osheaga has had close to double that number per day, which is about 120 000 people stomping the grounds of Ile St. Helene. When I attended the festival in 2007, the size of the crowds were modest, the food stalls were simple – mainly hot dogs and fries – and you usually bought a couple of beers at a time because you didn’t know when someone would come around again. This year, the size of the crowds were dizzying, the selection of food was beyond expectations (not only did I have dim sum, but I had really good dim sum!), and there are actual bars to sit in. In short, Osheaga is now like a cool little town on the water. But it’s not just the festival that offers more, the crowd itself is a wonderful spectacle, and there is a sense of collectivity and community implicit in every gesture. People dress up in costumes, paint their bodies, and roll around in the mud and gallantly strut around like the emperor in his birthday suit. There are families and large groups of friends, all ages and sizes. People smile as you walk by like we all share some funny secret. In fact, festival enthusiasts are in nothing short of ecstasy and are happiest when they are immersed in the throng of the crowd, blasted by woofers, and covered in dirt. Still, you have you’re more laid back and languorous festival goer who comes prepared with portable chairs and finds a little piece of shade to call his own for the day and blissfully gazes at the madness from a distance in between naps. Now, I heard a lot of guff about the festival becoming overly commercial and too big. Yes, the festival has a celebrity chef (Chuck Hughes) that caters to the artists; yes, H&M has a stall where you can make your own t-shirt; yes, even Air France sponsors the festival; and, yes, you have the opportunity to win a car (more than one, actually). But, on the other hand, most of the food available to people came from small and local food trucks. Moreover, I was never once asked to participate in anything or solicited to buy something. Merchandise and activities are all available but not pushed on you. You really make your own experience. The best example of this I saw was when I witnessed a guy hop on stage at one point and ask his girlfriend to marry him (she said yes). He simply took over Hollerado’s set and the band was very happy to indulge a die hard fan realizing his dream. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed by the magnitude of anything, but it’s even easier to own your own experience, and I loved that the festival doesn’t interfere with that maxim. And though I’ll need a few days to catch up on sleep and rehydrate, Osheaga yet again made my summer!
Words: David Rozon
Photos: Pierre Bourgault
Between SXSW, Sasquatch!, Coachella, Bonnaroo, Osheaga, the Ottawa Bluesfest and Weezer’s touring cruise ship, the festival market seems a bit saturated right? Well not saturated enough for Yahoo! to reconsider entering the game. The internet site and major brand has announced a new festival called Yahoo! On The Road. Unlike most other events, the festival will be a travelling one, moving through 21 international cities beginning in May. Each stop will see a variety of guests perform, including names like Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Frank Ocean, and Kendrick Lamar. Not too shabby for a brand new event. You can have a look at the schedule below, and expect more performer announcements in the coming weeks. (more…)
Montreal’s entry into the major music festival competition, Osheaga, announced its lineup on Monday night. As is expected, people have called it both the best and worst lineup of all time, but we’ll leave that to you to decide. Headlining this year’s festival are The Cure, Mumford and Sons and Phoenix. Joining them will be New Order, Vampire Weekend, The Lumineers, Hot Chip, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Tegan and Sara, Ellie Goulding, Two Door Cinema Club, Big Boi, The Gaslight Anthem, Silversun Pickups, Jimmy Eat World’s, Yelawolf and more. Interesting to note, beefing rappers Angel Haze and Azealia Banks are both performing as well, but on different days. You can see the full lineup online here. Osheaga takes place from August 2nd to 4th at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal.
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…)
Right on the heels of the Heavy MTL lineup, the Osheaga Musical and Arts Festival has announced its 2012 ticket, a list headed by The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg and Justice. Always keeping up with the times, A$AP Rocky, Young the Giant, M83 and The Sheepdogs are some of the newer acts that will be hitting the stage on Aug. 3rd-5th. There are also the Canadian necessities, in the form of City and Colour, Feist, Metric and The Weeknd. And joining them will be a few other bands you may know, like Sigur Rós, Florence + The Machine, MGMT, The Shins, Bloc Party, Garbage, Brand New, Yeasayer, The Walkmen, Black Lips, Dum Dum Girls and Franz Ferdinand. That’s a few right? Check out the full list of acts here.
Summertime in Montreal sees countless festivals and events. In fact, you can hear most of it from your balcony if you live close enough to the center of town. However, a rather young festival, with its wide-ranging line-up of big and small names, is beginning to overshadow the rest. Osheaga has quickly become a staple within Montreal’s summer events, the one you absolutely make sure to book off work to attend.
Music festivals have come a long way since the 60’s. Osheaga literally transforms Parc Jean-Drapeau into a self-sustainable entity, a kind of moveable city of tents. With four stages, there isn’t enough time to breath between acts from noon to about midnight with the festival packing in a foray of acts just under 72 hours (this year’s festival lasted an extra day and so will next year’s), the likes of which you would ordinarily be extremely lucky to see within a year’s time. Every line-up has been mind-blowing to date, making Osheaga so indispensable, but this year was without a doubt very special. Here’s just some of the details. Upcoming artist Janelle Monáe (a contemporary female James Brown) wore her usual tuxedo and dazzled the crowd with her unbelievable vocal range and style (not to mention her deft dance moves), Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta! shared some of their orchestral garage rock for clearly dedicated fans, and Tokyo Police Club incited a spirited sing-along while they sang Wait Up (Boots of Danger).
The good times kept rolling with the acoustic genius John Butler performing a stunning solo that left onlookers dizzy with amazement, while under a blazing sun a baking crowd clapped to the rhythm of the Sam Roberts Band who riled the audience up into sheer joy. Montreal’s very own Karkwa categorically baffled more than a few with their experimental rock, unique sound, and existential lyrics, and Lupe Fiasco, as usual, had the audience shaking a leg with hands in the air, completely absorbed in his adept rhyming.
Death From Above 1979’s brought a little insanity to the festival, their riotous punk-rock perfect for the blazing heat and crowded field of sun-delirious fans. As the sun began to set on the second day of the festival bringing a slight relief of an evening breeze from the nearby river, Bright Eyes took the stage and delivered one of the best performances I’ve seen in a while, with their charismatic tunes and witty lyrics. Then, the great Elvis Costello & The Imposters absolutely threw the atmosphere into a combustible party when they performed (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding (Was that a dancing cage? Did that happen?). To finalize the evening, Fucked Up’s punk tunes rang out into the night to disturb the restless bourgeois in their comfortable riverside condos. Thank you Fucked Up!
Mark Oliver Everett from EELS couldn’t have said it better when yelled out at the beginning of the final day of Osheaga, “I’ve got a good feeling about this.” EELS clearly step up their game when touring because they were nothing short of spectacular. The Sounds followed with their synthesizer rhythmic pop much to the pleasure of dancing and hopping fans. But Cypress Hill was the obvious highlight of the day, with people flooding in from every direction to get high as a kite at 4:20. It was an epic event for this band that developed a cult following everywhere. However, nothing slowed down as Malajube took over with their heavy rock, and Beirut sang mellifluously into the late afternoon, their travelling caravan music turning us all into wannabe gypsies.
City and Colour’s sweet tunes delighted die hard fans (did you notice they threw in a little of Sade’s No Ordinary Love in the middle of one of their jams? So cool!). Gordon Downie of The Tragically Hip must have run into Cypress Hill backstage because he was even more flamboyant than usual in an almost self-parodying escapade, but they played all the classics and the crowd almost took over Ahead By a Century.
Death Cab For Cutie was an obvious sensation for Osheaga this year. The crowd was so joyous and grateful when came up, singing every lyric and anticipating every direction to every song. It’s so rare to see a crowd so in tune with a band – simply magical. But as far as closing acts go, Osheaga couldn’t have gotten a better band than The Flaming Lips (or as I like to refer to them as The Fucking Flaming Lips). What other band knows the importance of lights, theatrics, and humongous confetti shooting canons? Not many, I’m sure. As usual, Wayne Coyne enveloped himself in a giant air balloon and rolled out into the crowd as in some kind of cosmological re-enactment of the birth of mankind. Their psychedelic fiasco was the perfect celebration to mark the end of an unbelievable three days of spectacular performances. Whatever you do, don’t miss next year because this festival seems to only get better.
If you’ve missed every single festival opportunity Montreal has thrown at you this summer, this might be your last chance to enjoy some outdoor tunes! cornershopstudios and evenko are here once again to save the day with a couple of 2-Day Classic Passes to Osheaga. If you’re completely out of the loop, let me bring you up to speed: we’re talking about 5 stages of sweet melodies courtesy of Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Bright Eyes, Death From Above 1979, Fucked Up, The Flaming Lips, Death Cab For Cutie, The Tragically Hip and SO many more! ENTER TO WIN!
- Two (2) 2-Day Classic Passes to Osheaga for July 30th & 31st, 2011 shows at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal
How To Enter:
- Email your name to email@example.com
- Paste “Osheaga Contest” in the subject line
- Emails must be received by 12:00AM EST on July 28th, 2011
- The winner will be drawn randomly on July 28th, 2011 and contacted via email
cornershopstudios contributing photographer Susan Moss is no stranger to the Montreal music scene. She was there when Osheaga started five years ago, and has been there every year since. As a result, for their fifth anniversary, the festival will be hosting a photo exhibit comprising photos taken by Moss at Osheaga throughout its existence. The exhibit will be held at Usine C, near Metro Beaudry, starting with a vernissage from 7 to 11pm on July 21st. Admission will also be free for the exhibit until the 28th. This is no small accomplishment and we give our biggest kudos to Susan for the hours spent snapping such amazing photos. You can see the flyer (complete with an awesome projectile beer photo) on her website here.
Osheaga has joined the ranks of some of North America’s biggest festivals, adding a third day this year to accommodate some extra talent, headlined by Mr. Eminem himself. The Detroit rapper will be joined by his genre-mate Kid Cudi, Canadian icons The Tragically Hip, Elvis Costello & The Imposters and The Flaming Lips atop that list. Other names to look forward to are the reunited Death From Above 1979, Death Cab For Cutie, MSTRKRFT, City and Colour, Bright Eyes, Ratatat and more. The schedule, aka the who’s playing when, hasn’t been released yet. Early bird tickets will be on sale as of this Friday, the 15th at noon, with general admission three-day tix setting you back about $200, twenty bucks less than the non-early bird variety. More info on two-day and single day tickets will be coming in the near future. Keep updated with all your Osheaga info here.
Thousands upon thousands of elated Osheaga attendees flooded Parc Jean-Drapeau as audio reverie courtesy Weezer, Devo, Metric, Sonic Youth, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Snoop Dogg, The Cat Empire, Charlie Winston, The Black Keys, Ariane Moffatt, The Gaslight Anthem, Ian Kelly and Seu Jorge and Almaz and more tore the day & night limb from limb… We’ll have images from all the moments that made your eyes sparkle and words from all the moments that made you shiver.
T’was a site to behold. Sprawls of festival goers filling Osheaga’s lungs during a warm and loving Saturday. A day of music and grandeur with that oh so lovely Montreal flavor… Today… Robyn, The National, Pavement, Keane, Stars, K’NAAN, Jimmy Cliff, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Sarah Harmer, Owen Pallett, Rich Aucoin and The Walkmen… Tomorrow the world!
With the festival season well under way over in the US and UK, cornershopstudios brings you the third and last part of the Music in the Sun series focused on first-rate Canadian events. This year Canada will rock harder than ever with amazing acts such as Billy Talent, Alexisonfire, The Dead Weather and Beastie Boys. Have a look below to see what’s in store. (more…)