The summer has arrived in Montreal and the premiere hub of trendy electronic music – Piknic Electronik has kicked off its eleventh season. Featuring cutting edge music, fantastic art displays, great drink deals, and an amazing venue on Jean Drapeau Island, Picnik is the total package. The venue offers an escape from the city, but is really only 10 minutes from downtown. DJs from around the world come to play the weekly party, and this year’s program highlights include Thugfucker, Eats Everything, Dusky, and Guy Gerber. The brand has been so successful that last year it expanded across the ocean, and Barcelona enjoyed it’s debut Piknic season.
I attended part two of the kickoff weekend on Monday May 19th. Driving in from the city into the nature oasis that is Jean Drapeau Park it was amazing to see how close it was to the downtown core. Arriving around 2 pm the crowd was still starting to form around Maher Daniel and Amir Javasoul’s new collaboration Creatures of Soul. The underground sounds and bass reverberated through the parc. One of the first things I noticed were the affordable drink prices: 15$ for a bottle of wine, 20$ for champagne, and 20$ for a bucket of rum lemonade. This year marks the first time that Piknic has not allowed outside alcohol into the event, and to offset loyal fans Piknic accordingly dropped alcohol prices. The Guru stage was a great scene during the day – located deeper amongst the grass, it is surrounded by a wine bar, burger shack, and BBQ pork and chicken truck. This are is a hub of activity that allows you more of an organic feel. I took in both Gone DeVille and NOTV’s sets who were representing Casbour Records. Gone DeVille presented his twist on the deep and french house while NOTV’s unique live flair provided a welcome change from the bass heavy music of the day.
As the sun set Carl Craig took to the main stage where a large crowd had formed to watch the Detroit techno ambassador do his thing. His expertise showed as he dove into an eclectic set of melodic techno and dark, deep house. His track selection got darker as the sun set, as a metaphoric way of closing down the long weekend and leaving Montrealers hungry for more. Luckily for them, Picnik will be running all summer long, every Sunday and holiday Monday.