Posted on March 23rd, 2010 by .

Now in its fifth year, the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival has firmly planted its flag in the Montreal summer concert calendar. No doubt many people will say that this year’s edition, taking place July 31st-August 1st, is “the best one yet”. But that’s actually true this year and I’ll tell you why…

Let’s starts with this: to the excitement of many music aficionados, Arcade Fire is headlining the fest. With a new album on the way, the Montreal band with an international following could have played anywhere, at any time, and sold it out. Given that the band’s last Montreal shows were held in the intimate (read: tiny) Ukrainian Federation building, it was a surprise to see them on this bill. But who cares about any of that really, because if you can imagine how incredible it will be see them playing as the sun sets over Old Montreal, you’ve already put aside your ticket money.

There is, of course, entirely more to talk about. The line-up seems to pretty much beyond reproach to even the snobbiest of snobs. Here’s what I’m most anxious to see: Pavement, Weezer, The National, Beach House, Jamie Lidell, Black Keys, Robyn, Cat Empire and the legendary Jimmy Cliff. As always, there will be more names added to the bill as we get closer to go time, so come back to this little corner of the internet for updates…

I say it every year, so no reason not to repeat myself: half of the appeal of Osheaga is its location on Parc Jean-Drapeau. The two main stages are situated, side-by-side, in front of a natural amphitheatre, while the smaller side stages are tucked off in the woods a short walk away. Being positioned on an island in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River means that you feel like you’re rocking out in some wayward musical bubble, despite being just a quick metro ride away from the city.

There are also some changes this year- the partnership with MEG is shifting gears. Though they’ll still present their concert series in the city, the Osheaga-based MEG stage will be replaced with an environmentally-oriented “Green” stage. There will also be a new Industry Pass, which will grant access to the fest, as well as Industry lounges, meetings, roundtable discussions and more, if you feel like getting all SXSW on things.

The only problem I foresee is how to pass the time between now and July 31st. Luckily, this blog has got you covered.

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