The seventh edition of the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival combines the height of summer, sun and fun in Montreal with rocking out in the great outdoors with thousands of music lovers – it’s pretty much a guaranteed good time for fans of all those things. Especially if you’re also a fan of beer and beautiful people…
Among the many summer festivals to be found in Montreal, Osheaga, August 3-5 at beautiful Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène, might just pack the most into its three days, with five stages of full-blown, all-ages, genre-spanning musical entertainment. And while thousands of people flock to the festival, there’s still plenty of room to move, find some shade and chill out.
The biggest crowds are at the two main stages (the Montagne and Rivière stages), located side by side, seamlessly alternating between the biggest names at the festival: among others, on Friday see Justice, Florence & the Machine, Sigur Ros, Franz Ferdinand, The Weeknd and Amadou & Mariam; on Saturday, Snoop Dog, Feist, Garbage and Plants and Animals; on Sunday, The Black Keys, The Shins, City and Color, Santigold and Metric.
Further into the park’s greenery, the Verte Stage is where music that skews to electro-pop is found. On Friday, loosen up with party makers MGMT, Classified, Gary Clark Jr. and more. On Saturday, witness awesome classic (if the late-80s and 90s is classic now?) noisemakers The Jesus and Mary Chain, Yeasayer, A$AP Rocky and The Raveonettes. And on Sunday, indie-electro-dance away the evening to M83, Bloc Party, Austra and Woodkid.
Over the years, Osheaga has also been a true source of discoveries for me, from on-the-cusp-of-famous musicians to local bands to side projects – one of the benefits of being a consummate stage hopper. The bands that’ll keep us hopping around to catch run the gamut, electro-pop to country-tinged rock, including Deerhunter offshoot Atlas Sound, Poliça, Sandro Perri, Dum Dum Girls, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Airplane Boys. Montreal’s music scene has been hot for years and isn’t letting up, so be sure to check out locals Young Galaxy, Les Breastfeeders, Wintersleep, Half Moon Run, Asexuals, Kandle, Karim Ouellet, and many other great bands giving it their all on the Arbres stage.
If you’re looking for a dance break, Piknic Electronik takes up a weekend-long residency in its regular Sunday home at the Calder sculpture, with DJs changing the beats up by the hour. With so many music choices to make throughout the three days, it’s a good thing Osheaga has an app, at least for us app users – everyone else can rely on the good ol’ paper schedule, which I will admit works pretty well too.
In anticipation of August’s main event, several Osheaga music and arts events set the good-times tone throughout July. The Osheaga Arts poster show, Music on Paper 2 (July 5-22), curated by graphic design artist Pat Hamou, features work for viewing and for sale at Galerie le 4220. In music, Montreal electro band Plaster plays July 13 at Theatre Corona, Andrew Bird with the Philippe B & the Molinari Quartet head outside to Théâtre de Verdure in Parc La Fontaine on July 18, and DJ Food returns in full form with immersive audio-visual show The Search Engine, July 19-20 at the SAT Satosphere.
Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, August 3-5, 2012