Osheaga Music and Arts Festival celebrates 12 years of consistently delivering quality and diverse music to their dedicated fan base. For 2017, over 135,000 attendees set foot on the new location at Notre Dame Island, right beside the traditional home on Parc Jean Drapeau. The reason for the change is Montreal's 375th anniversary, which means the original location is having a serious make over, installing a new permanent amphitheater at the location of the main stages.
While the new site and harsh weather on the first day may have dampened some spirits, the excellent music selection, artists' enjoyment, and management's communication via multiple screens made for an easier experience. With over 115 artists, 7 stages, over 30 hours of music, 14 pre and post events, and 1 festival experience, Osheaga out did themselves again. Check out some of EARMILK's favourite sets and photos to help you remember an incredible three days of headliners.
Friday, August 4th
London Grammar is a trio originally from Nottingham, England. Their set at Scene de la Montagne came just after the major thunder storm. The music seemed to push away some of the harshest clouds. Hannah Reid's voice stuck out among those early enough to catch this amazing performance, guided by musicians, Dan Rothman and Dominic Major, on either side. Together all three played perfectly Friday mid-day.
Rag N Bone Man's performance came later on in the night just as the rain stopped, leaving open a beautiful sky and happy crowd that put away their hoods. The cheeky British singer offered his commentary throughout the set, garnering a few gags and cheers from the audience who played along and knew a majority of the material.
MIJA kept the entire audience at the Barcardi stage dancing throughout her impressive DJ set. The mix of light hearted chillwave electronic sounds and heavy bass installments made for a sonic adventure, while the sun was fully out.
MGMT's stunning show led right through the later part of the evening, as the sun set above Montreal's Rivere Stage. The powerful nostalgia of hearing this band back in action had a definite effect on the attendees that first day who ran away cheerfully after hearing major hits like "Electric Feel" and "Kids".
Justice put on an incredible display of lights, lazers, and audio visual delights that complimented their discography with precission. These two French legends standing back to back and face to face made an amazing show on the first night, which had the entire crowd singing along to classics like "DANCE" and "DVNO".
Zeds Dead's set on the weekend nearly sank the Barcardi island due to the frenzy that Zach from the group started with banger after banger of head thrashing bass music. The Toronto duo made a serious impression for a packed crowd afloat on the Saint Laurent over top of a bouncing floor. During the set, at some point Dylan, the other half of Zeds Dead, made an appearance igniting a roar from their fans.
Saturday, August 5th
Petit Biscuit brings his French touch that draws upon soft summer synths and light vocals. The young and upcoming producer provided Osheaga's audience with a relaxing set on the second day that had everyone feeling joyful, as they slowly grooved to the melodic soundscapes. Considering that Petit Biscuit is just one person, his various equipment and musical knowledge on stage show his confidence and prove that he is an artist to keep your eye on in the future.
Major Lazer put on a high energy set during Saturday at the main stage, greeted by thousands of cheers of approval. The trio composed of Diplo, Jillionare, and Walshy Fire have an elaborate performance budget with pyrotechnics, dancers, streamers, and several other surpises that make their show a must-see. They did not disapoint at Osheaga playing singles like "Lean On" and "Jah No Partial".
Cage The Elephant's energetic and vibrant music easily makes a highlight of the entire weekend, especially following their latest album release, Unpeeled. The band on the stage built off each other's attitude, with a synergy unseen in comparison to previous performances.
Nicholas Jaar's set was nothing short of spectacular, taking a new twist for the Barcardi stage on the second night. His live sets are notorious for being mystic and experimental, which he delivered with a cunning edge to a crowd moving slowly in the dim lights. The spooky set fit well with the crowd who seemed to appreciate his unique style of sound.
Muse knocked out Osheaga fans with a smashing performance that maintained chaotically constructed through each song. The band's hypnotizing visuals and ecstatic behaviour on stage made for quite the spectacle during the second evening at the Scene de la Rivere. Honourable mention to the bassist and back up vocalist, Chris Wolstenholme, who performed on a double instrument, combining traditional and digital media.
Sunday, August 6th
Run The Jewels led the last day at the Scene de la Rivere where they played a large selection of their old and new material. Despite being earlier in the day, they still managed to fill out space with die-hard fans who came to hear El-P and Killer Mike go back to back with their lyrical genius.
Foster The People brought a large amount of people to their set during Sunday's sunshine at the Montange main stage. The upbeat performance and lead vocalist Mark Foster helped define the band's sound from other artists performing that day. One of the most memorable moments of their set is when Mark took to the mic to announce how the world needs more love, before leading into their single, "Pumped Up Kicks".
Die Antwoord always put on a wild performance watching Ninja, Yolandi, DJ Hi-Tek, and their back up dancers. The music is on a darker note than the other musicians booked throughout the weekend, yet they filled out the entire Valley Stage with no problem. One guest even brought a stool to stand on to see the entire show. Highlights include the opening track, "Fatty Boom Boom" that instantly grabs attention.
The Weeknd stole the weekend away, including thousands of hearts from his fans, who could be heard singing over classics like "High For This", "Can't Feel My Face" and "Sidewalk". The last day easily had the largest amount of attendees, which speaks volume to the young Canadian's growing fame.
The Weeknd's opening with "Starboy" featuring Daft Punk set the audience in hysterics and caused a rush of people to the main stage for one of the largest performances all weekend. In his own words, "Is this the biggest fucking party in Quebec right now? Make some noise Osheaga!" What an unbelievable final show.
All in all, Osheaga in 2017 saw a huge amount of talented musicians from all sort of genres come to perform, helping define the event's unique position in Canada's summer festival market. Evenko consistently proves that they are capable of attracting dedicated music fans, who will come dance no matter the weather conditions, location, or price.
Osheaga remains one of the most popular music festivals for a range of genres, arts, and overall experience. The Play addition this year to collect points, Vans games, art installations, and smaller stages all add to what people expect year after year. I feel safe to say that Osheaga Music and Arts Festival fully lives up to it's name.