Summer in Montreal is meant for being outdoors, one of the reasons Piknic Electronik started up in the first place 11 years ago: the weekly event, held every Sunday afternoon from May 19 to September 22, combines the natural setting of Parc Jean-Drapeau, complete with a summer breeze coming off the St-Laurent River, with electronic dance music from some of the world’s top DJs and hundreds of happy, dancing people….
This year, the highly anticipated Piknic Electronik starts once more on a long weekend, meaning not one but two days of fun on two stages, one centrally located under the massive Calder sculpture and the other a little further into the park among the trees.
On the main stage on May 19, hear house-label Leftroom producers Jay London and Laura Jones and UK disco and house master Matt Tolfrey, and livening up our holiday Monday afternoon is Montreal’s Casbour Records showcase on the Guru stage while the main Moog stage begins the afternoon with Creatures of Habit and ends the day with none other than Detroit house legend Carl Craig.
Holiday long weekends continue to get the celebratory Piknic treatment: on St. Jean-Baptiste Day (Quebec’s national celebration and always a party), Jun 23, get a glimpse of what Montreal 90s afterhours clubs were like – an inspiration to Piknic and definitely part of its success – with a Sona Nightclub-themed party, and on Labour Day weekend, August 31-September 2, get in on three days of music, with Misstress Barbara, Eats Everything, Dusky, Dave Allison and more.
Every weekend brings a new musical vibe and international stars to Piknic Electronik: on May 26, UK techno pioneer Dave Clarke, on July 7, Israeli DJ Guy Gerber, on July 14, French disco-edit man Pilooski, on August 25, it’s Berlin’s M.A.N.D.Y. And on September 8, Terminal M tech-house DJ Monika Kruse, followed by Radio Slave on September 22.
Montreal is known for its innovations in electronic music, so each weekend features music made by talents living right here in the city, as well as music makers from the U.S. and elsewhere in Canada. Festival season aligns with Piknic too: cutting-edge electronic music festival Mutek is on board on June 2 with Sweden’s Axel Boman, the Netherlands’ San Proper and Germany’s DeWalta, plus surprise guests); the Sound In Motion Festival comes to Piknic on June 30, as does Osheaga, MEG and Pop Montreal.
Labels also celebrate their success: on June 24, Turbo Records’ puts on a show for its 15th anniversary, with Tiga, Bordello, Thomas Von Party, and Mike Mind, while Microzoo Records’ Nathan Burns, Elio Krass and Smash TV play on August 18.
Piknic also collaborates on free events too! The Piknics on July 6 and 13 are part of Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Weekends du Monde, weekend-long celebrations of cultural diversity, featuring performances, food, artisanal fairs and more. Of course, there’s always food and drink every Sunday, with more added to the snack bar this year, including food from Pas de cochon dans mon salon and vegetarian restaurant Chu Chai. And yes, as long as there are smiles on Piknic people’s faces, rain or shine, the bar is always open.
Piknic Electronik, May 19-September 22, 2013, at Parc Jean-Drapeau
Photos by Susan Moss