Posted on August 1st, 2011 by .

The 2011 Osheaga Music and Arts Festival drew record numbers of people to Parc Jean Drapeau to see everyone from Eminem to The Flamings Lips. But while the musicians that play a festival grab most of the headlines, it’s the fans that make it amazing. We got the wonderful Montreal photographer Susan Moss to capture it all…

Day 1 of Osheaga featured great bands like Broken Social Scene and Timber Timbre, the infectiously upbeat Janelle Monae and legendary talents like funk and soul singer Charles Bradley. But the scalper who asked if anyone wanted “Eminem tickets” summed up the main reason for the record numbers of fans: Marshall Mathers. Who did not disappoint. But whatever the reason they showed up, the fans had a blast and looked good doing it…

Though the super young and sexy crowd on Day 2 may not have made the trip for Elvis Costello, there were enough enraptured fans in the audience to start with, and he pretty much won over the rest. Always a consummate showman, he studded his set with extended versions of his beloved numbers (Every Day I Write the Book, Alison, Watching The Detectives) while accompanied by go-go dancers and sweating buckets. It was the wrap-up to an epic day: from an energized set on the Trees stage by The Mountain Goats, to a searing mainstage set by metal-hipster duo Death From Above 1979, a jocular and poignant Green Stage set by Sia, followed by epic robot music by crowd-pleasers Ratatat, the day was one of the most enjoyable in Osheaga’s six-day history.

Sunday was one of those perfect summer days meant for hanging out in Jean-Drapeau Park, a blissful breeze taking the edge off the incredible heat. But the mid-day sun beating down on the two main Osheaga stages hadn’t deterred the crowds from gathering to hear the Glaswegian singer-songwriter pop of Frightened Rabbit and Eels’ range of rockabilly, blues and full-on dad-yacht rock. There was a melange of dance-pop, big-stage indie-rock, hip-hop from the old-school to the new, and all kinds of electro-dance beats thanks to Piknic Electronik. Canadian classic The Tragically Hip put on a high-energy show that brought their brand of ‘90s rock back in full form and Death Cab for Cutie did a similar, poppier thing for the ‘00s. MSTRKRFT, Galaxie and The Flaming Lips ended the day on different sorts of high notes, the latter, with nothing less than playing the whole of their album, The Soft Bulletin, marrying a couple on stage and following it up with a glorious rendition of Do You Realize. Ah, the sounds of summer.

Check out the complete set of Osheaga 2011 photos by Susan Moss on the Montreal Buzz Flickr.

Text by Robyn Fadden, Melora Koepke and Brendan Murphy

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