Spring has just begun, but thoughts already turn to Osheaga, Montreal’s biggest summer music festival, complete with sunshine, hot weather, beautiful people, and more music than you can shake a rain stick at (because yes, sometimes it rains, and everyone loves it anyway)…
This year, over the weekend of August 2-4, Osheaga turns beautiful Parc Jean-Drapeau, a quick metro ride away from downtown Montreal, into one big three-day party, headlined by Grammy winners Mumford & Sons, French pop-rock band Phoenix, stylish indie-rockers Vampire Weekend, and, in keeping with Osheaga’s penchant for bringing genuine legends of the 80s and 90s back to the music fest stage, none other than The Cure and New Order. Whoa.
The Osheaga site sprawls across the park, with two giant main stages at its open-air heart and smaller stages – usually set to a theme, from folk-rock to electronic dance music; yes, there’s something for everyone – surrounded by trees and views of the St-Laurent river and the city. Among the big names hitting the main stages are folk-revivalist act The Lumineers, British electro-pop makers Hot Chip, Canadian danceparty makers Tegan and Sara, and hip-hop’s latest and greatest, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, plus Big Boi and Azealia Banks.
The latest across-the-pond sounds of pop sweetness and light comes with 2012 Mercury Prize winners Alt-J, pop singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding, Jessie Ware and Ireland’s Two Door Cinema Club, sharing stages with American bands like Beach House, Explosions in the Sky, Jimmy Eat World and The Head and the Heart, along with Canadian faves like Diamond Rings, Misteur Valaire and A Tribe Called Red. Dozens more bands play the festival, with many acts still to be announced – see Osheaga’s site for the most up-to-date info.
August truly does seem far away right now, so in the long lead-up to the Osheaga weekend, the festival presents some big-name, not-to-miss shows in Montreal (for great deals on concert tickets check out La Vitrine): on May 24, see Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men, a huge hit at last year’s festival; The XX and Grizzly Bear on June 7; The National and The Barr Brothers on June 13; and The Tragically Hip and Sam Roberts Band on June 22. In the spirit of the fest, all show are happening outdoors during what we all hope will be sunny days at the Esplanade Du Centenaire du Canal Lachine – also a good reason to explore Atwater Market and the neighbourhood of St-Henri, just south of downtown Montreal. Now let’s get summer started early!
Osheaga, August 2-4, 2013
Photos by Susan Moss