MONTREAL — Wanna have some fun? Feel like a teenager (or younger adult) again? Or are you currently a teenager looking to have an amount of fun that your parents would disapprove of?
Go to Montreal during Osheaga, a 3-day festival during the August long weekend every year in Canada’s beautiful Belle Province (Quebec). If you’re out of town and want to experience it without spending all weekend at the fest, go for a day and then spend your other days doing other things. It’s a nice detour into the festival world and will make you rekindle your love for live music. The music, atmosphere, and (usually) weather can be amazing, and for afestival of this calibre, the price is right (especially compared to some comparable festivals in the United States). Osheaga can be likened to, say, Canada’s Coachella or Lollapalooza (which happens just a week or two apart and features many of the same acts).
We flew to Montreal from western Canada for just one day – just to experience a day at Osheaga – and flew to Philly the next morning. Less than 24 hours in Montreal made for a hectic adventure and lots of buses and planes (and lack of sleep and a cold when returning home) but it was a hell of a time. Being Osheaga veterans now (just kidding – we’ve been twice now, for a grand total of 2 days), we are prepared to share our secrets.
Osheaga: What to Love
- Super-varied lineups. Everything from hip hop to rock to electronica to … everything. You’re bound to find something you like. I was able to schedule something of interest for almost every block of time… although many of these were missed due to other things to do, things like:
- So much non-musical stuff! Relaxation areas a-plenty. There are leafy green areas to hang out and relax in, there are hammocks (lots of hammocks), there are food trucks and free food amongst the marketing areas (we got free chocolate milk drinks from a Quebec milk producer, bottles of Vitamin Water, prizes from the Air Miles tent; a previous year had unlimited coke cans).
Did we mention free stuff? I love free stuff. Make your rounds between sets. My only suggestion for Osheaga? More free stuff. Spoil me harder.
Osheaga: What to Hate
- No-show artists. In my first two years of Osheaga (2016 and 2017), I can remember a few artists that didn’t make it due to issues like not being able to cross the border, etc. For instance, in 2017, both Solange and Lil Uzi Vert, two performers I was most excited to see, didn’t even show. It can be hella frustrating when someone you’re paying big-ticket prices to see doesn’t even show up and you’re left idling. No refunds!
- You’re bound to miss a few of your favorite acts. The many stages, some of which can be quite a ways away through a thick crowd, make it highly likely that you’ll miss something even if your schedule is non-conflicting.
- Advertising out the ying-yang. Every stage is sponsored. Advertising hits you from every direction. Try to stay calm. You are the Target Demographic, after all.
- Crap beer. Being sponsored by Big Beer Conglomerates means good beer is hard to find. It’s around
Osheaga Tips & Tricks
Bring: a hat, sunscreen, water bottle (which you can fill up), a poncho (in case of rain)
Plan: use the Osheaga app to plan your musical schedule. You’ll get updates by-the-minute for your selected artists, and hear about any cancellations or time changes so you can weep in your beer without delay.
Note: this article was written in 2017 so a few things might’ve changed but like all good things, probably not a whole lot!