Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Osheaga Music Festival 2012

The Osheaga Music Festival kicked off in Montreal last Friday with top headliners like The Black Keys, Snoop Dogg, Feist, Metric, Florence + The Machine and Justice rocking out to a sold-out crowd of 40,000+ people/daily. We hit up all three days of crazy festival action and bring you our Osheaga wrap-up! With cell service cutting in and out and virtually no data acess on day one (ironic because the event was sponsored by Virgin!), finding your friends in a crowd like the one above was a bit of a miss. The one thing I loved about Osheaga? All the performers went on stage ON TIME - well everyone except for Snoop Dogg who rolled on after about a 45-minute delay. We can only guess what he was up to. No matter, there was no generally waiting and lots of hustling to get over to the next show.
Who did we see? Of Monsters & Men, Garbage, Franz Ferdinand, Metric, Florence + The Machine, Snoop Dogg, MGMT, The Shins, The Weeknd, City & Colour and Brand New. With five different stages, it was really difficult to decide on which band to see. My all-time favourite was Snoop Dogg - he knows how to put on an entertaining show and you forget that he sings a verse in virtually every major hip-hop and pop song out there. Watching him do his verse in Katy Perry's California Gurls was hilarious and after he did his verse, the song stopped. Oh Snoop.
Chilling out with our Osheaga sponsors at The Coca-Cola tent! They had an interactive mural wall, photo booth and of course, lots of free mini cans of ice cold Coke.

The Coca-Cola Mobile Truck!
The Hill - view from the top. It was a great place to just chillout on a blanket and enjoy the show. The two mainstages rotated quickly between acts, never missing a beat. I was seriously impressed with the reasonable food + beer prices - hot dog ($3), beer ($6) pizza in a cone! ($6). Lineups were never more than 5-10 minutes. They even had 'Beer Guys' running out beers to the crowd, before they got swarmed of course. I've waited 45+ minutes at Downsview Park in Toronto in a beer line before and it sucks. Props to the 'Beer Guys' who take a festival from good to great.
Getting There - The festival is held at Jean-Drapeau Parc which is located on an island just one Metro stop off the island of Montreal. I was seriously dreading the mass exodus getting to and from Osheaga. The line-up to just buy a transit ticket was pretty horrendous on day one. Everyone had just arrived in Montreal and there was one ticket booth open at Peel station. Once we finally got on the Metro, the crowds were a breeze and the Metro became more organized as the festival progressed. I had a great experience getting out at the end of the night, never waited more than 10 minutes to get on to a train. I would leave before the last 2-3 songs to beat the crowd. However, some of our friends who stayed right until the very end faced a 45-90 minute wait to just get on a train. So it was really hit or miss.
Day Two: How to keep cool in 40 degree weather while dealing with the body heat from thousands of other people? With a fire hose of course! Indeedy, organizers sprayed everyone that was smushed together at the front with cold water to keep us from passing out from the extreme heat alert. With barely a cloud in sight, the sun kept blaring down on Jean-Drapeau Parc. Here I am post-fire hose (above, left). We also bumped into super-cool Toronto bloggers, Hawley & Tristan (lookin' fine) from Sidewalk Hustle.

The Green Stage (side stage) was the size of its own mini-festival after crossing a bridge and then a series of stairs with thousands of other people to get there. Getting to the Green Stage was sort of a pain in the ass. It's the site of the 'Osheaga expansion' and from what I'm told - didn't exist in this way last year. 
Poncho party! Day three was so windy, that the umbrella we bought from Simons was pretty much useless. It rained hard on and off all day. It was only when Metric hit the stage did the rain finally stop for the night and a summer breeze came sailing in FTW. Lead singer Emily Haines brought her A-game and killed it with sing-a-long favourites like Stadium Love, Dead Disco and Gold Guns & Girls. She capped off her set with an acoustic version of Gimme Sympathy that had the whole crowd swaying and singing. It was the perfect summer concert moment. Metric was easily my second favourite show of the festival - after Snoop Dogg/Snoop Lion, of course.
Thank you again to our sponsors - Coca-Cola Canada for our Osheaga weekend and to Tourism Montreal and Tourism Quebec for hosting our stay. Montreal - I've fallen in love with you. Goodbye to Osheaga 2012! We'll see you next year...

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