SW Goes To: OSHEAGA 2016
SURFING WORLD MAGAZINE | REVIEWS + FEATURES
Surfing World Goes To: OSHEAGA 2016
Why Your Next Big Music Festival Trip Could Be Canada’s Osheaga
Here’s the thing, Montreal is in Canada, but it’s not really a Canadian city.
That’s not to say that the people aren’t super nice, or that the city isn’t obsessed with ice-hockey, or that the winters aren’t wildly cold (really fucking cold), it’s just that it doesn’t feel like Canada. More like, I dunno, a North American version of a European city. Like, if Brooklyn somehow floated away and docked itself just off the coast of France. Yeah, something like that. It doesn’t matter if you can’t speak French, everyone here speaks both French and English and switches between the two freely, often mid-sentence, without any of the disdain that the French from France might show you if you asked for directions, and the menus come in both.
The girls are pretty. The houses and streets and parks are pretty, and everything else is pretty pretty pretty cheap. It’s also the sex capital of North America, so if that’s a thing you’re into, you can do that with people here too. I’ve heard it’s fun.
In summer, it becomes a completely different city. One full of humid heat bouncing off the bitumen, a street festival every weekend, and sunny, shiny, happy people trying really hard to have a good time, and succeeding. It’s a party. And there’s no better party than the one that goes for three days over a weekend at the end of July: Osheaga.
The 2016 instalment Osheaga had a stellar line-up of bands. The opening day of the three day dream of a summer festival was closed out by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on one stage, and our very own Flume on another. The Chili’s set, which had the thousands of salivating, inter-generational fans screaming for more, proved that they’ve lost none of their revolutionary verve in their decades of being one of the world’s leading bands.
Those that managed to pull away from Anthony Kiedis and co and caught Australian dance act Flume were happy they did, the rising star bringing a brilliant day to a close with all his hits, including his huge summer anthem, “Never Be Like You”.
Day 2 of Osheaga started a little later than it should have for this reviewer, caught up in the festivities of night number 1, made for a slower than average morning. Unfortunately, Melbourne’s grammy nominated R&B act, Haitus Kaiyote, who graced a more intimate stage, were nearly missed. The last two tracks of their soulful set made punching through the hangover more than worth it.
Then it was time to relax in the sun and get some of the excellent food and drinks on offer, hunting down some of Montreal’s famous poutine, a hangover food as good as any in the world (we didn’t find some, but we did find beer, which more than sufficed as a liquid breakfast, lol). After walking around the beautiful parklands and taking in the wonderful setting of the festival site on Parc Jean Drapeau for a couple of hours, it was off to bustle through the crowd and see the amazing Kurt Vile & The Violaters, who swooned the crowd through his long locks. “Pretty Pimpin” a real highlight. The rest of Day 2, was a blur, as big and excellent festivals tend to be. A big beautiful blur.
Day nombre trois opened with indie up and comer Alex G playing to a sombre, yet appreciative crowd, still waking up after two days of hedonistic party mayhem. Those that made it to his opening set were a dedicated, if hungover bunch, who were stoked they made the effort. It was a funny old Sunday, day three, as most of it was spent in anticipation of the closing act being a legendary and iconic British band ummm, Radiohead. Ever heard of em? Haha. The waiting was offset by some excellent musical acts in the afternoon, however. From Foals, followed by Leon Bridges, to Canada’s own indie songstress, Grimes, who got the party flying despite being under the weather.
It was around then that rumours started swirling about Disclosure missing their flight and not being able to make their set time, and the possibility of a bigger, longer Radiohead set. For Disclosure fans, it was a bummer, but for Radiohead fans of which there were many, it was the best news possible, and the best way to bring an epic weekend to a (Radio) head.
Radiohead didn’t disappoint either. Sounding every bit the world class act they are, hitting the crowd with a bevy of classic tracks like “Creep” and “Karma Police”, of which they usually are more hesitant to play. When it came time to get a train back to the island of Montreal, no fan felt unsatisfied, and many, like us, began planning our return trip to Quebec, Canada, and Osheaga, for the following year. It’s the perfect festival for the travelling surfer who wants to offset a North America trip with a bit of non surf, music fest ethereal joy. Ten thousand stars!
Find more information and plan your trip by first heading to Osheaga.com
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