Osheaga celebrated its 10th anniversary this past weekend at Montréal’s picturesque Parc Jean-Drapeau, and with a decade of the massive Canadian festival in the books, it’s apparent that the organizers have created a well-oiled music machine. What’s more, the festival does its best to erase significant scheduling conflicts by placing its major stages in pairs.
There were the two main stages (Scène de la Rivière and Scène de la Montagne) side-by-side, alternating sets so there was no down time for sound checks and setup for major artists. There was also the other major stage, Scène Verte, and the smaller Scène de la Vallée, for more up-and-coming talent, in close proximity.
The park itself is beautiful, with sweeping views of the rivers that surround the island and the Montréal cityscape. While the grounds did get crowded, especially on Saturday, the venue never felt suffocating, and there was usually a space to find a seat or grab some shade. The weather held up for most of the weekend, with warm but not stifling days and breezy nights (save for a brief, torrential storm on Saturday evening).
Osheaga also shored up its artistic installations, with boards that attendees could draw on, a tent full of beautiful screen-printed artwork for past and present musicians, and various colorful signs. The one downside to this gorgeous locale was leaving the grounds, with only one train station serving the island for public transportation. This resulted in a claustrophobic slog through massive crowds on the way out, although this was basically out of the festival’s control.
The festival’s dining options were also varied, with a ring of food trucks in a certain section serving up all the different kinds of poutine you could ever want. (The winner in my books was the chorizo and bacon poutine, by a long shot.)
And music-wise, great performances could be seen from the small stage (Leikeli47, Twenty One Pilots) to the main stage (Florence and the Machine, Kendrick Lamar with a great surprise appearance from Yasiin Bey). So raise a glass, preferably filled with Molson, to the best moments of the festival’s 10th anniversary.