Photo Credit: Rebecca Hollman
Written by: Rebecca Hollman
Osheaga is a massive 3-day multi-genre festival located in the heart of downtown Montreal, Canada. One of Canada’s biggest festivals, Osheaga spans six stages and features huge artists from all genres of music like the Arctic Monkeys, Post Malone, Florence + the Machine, Kali Uchis, Billy Kenny and more.
Not only did Osheaga bring incredible talent to this year’s lineup, but they also had top-notch production, tons of food options, unique art installations, and different pop-up areas. One of these areas was a Vans area, which featured a half pipe, Vans skaters, skating workshops, design your own custom vans workshop, and a sack toss game to win a pair of free Vans. Another area was the Perrier tent, which also doubled as a stage. This tent had an incredible vibe- with people dancing to funky throwbacks, Perrier mixed cocktails, white leather couches to lounge on, seesaws, and most importantly – air conditioning. Only a certain amount of people were allowed in at a time so it never got too crowded and was an awesome way to refresh after being in the heat. This year’s Osheaga took place on 3 beautiful, extremely hot, and talent-packed days.
Check out more below to see photo galleries of the people and the vibes from all three days of Osheaga 2018.
Friday kicked off the infamous Osheaga Music Festival. Music started with early sets from Leon, Sir Sly, Rainbow Kitten Surprise and Manchester Orchestra. Later in the afternoon, the genres bounced around all over the place from the electronic pop of Sylvan Esso to house beats from Chromeo to rap from Smokepurpp and Rae Sremmurd. As the chill rock vibes were happening on most the stages, the EDM stage was pumping tech house all day long. Starting with the Dirtybird duo, Walker & Royce, and then going straight into Billy Kenny, and straight into Yotto. All three sets threw down and had everyone dancing and sweating. Thankfully, Osheaga had a water hose that moved from side to side and sprayed down the crowd. With the outrageous heat of the weekend, the water system at all the stages probably saved lives. I really give props to Osheaga for this, and for their multitude of water refill stations and water misting stations. More festivals should make access to water/shade a higher (if not the highest) priority.
As the sun started to set, we were graced with an incredible performance from Portugal. The Man. An eclectic band from Alaska, their set at this year’s Osheaga was no less eclectic than themselves. With interesting BDSM and glitched out visuals plus the lead singer John Gourley’s wide vocal range and falsetto, it really made for a unique set. They closed out their set with their most famous track “Feel It Still,” which won the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2018 Grammys. Following up the awesome set from Portugal. The Man, was an even more over-the-top set from ODESZA. The duo from Washington, USA really blew away the crowd with their visuals, live drumline, confetti, fire, and theatrics. This was the best theatrical set of the weekend. ODESZA not only played an amazing musical show, they also put on a performance and were one of the few bands to do that all weekend.
Click below to see more photos of Friday at Osheaga:
Saturday started right off the bat with some heavy hitting bass music and bass house from Ducky, AC Slater, Tokimonsta, Ookay, and A-Trak. A huge name in the EDM scene, AC Slater is known for his fusion of bass and house and for kick-starting the creation of the Bass House genre. His record label, Night Bass, releases music from tons of other talented bass house artists around the world. His set at Osheaga lived up to expectations, with him throwing down banger after banger on the Island Stage during the hottest point of the day. To break up the heavy sets on the EDM stage, there were some more mellow alternative sets from the Bahamas, Blondie, Calipurnia, and Anderson.Paak and the Free Nationals. Calipurnia is a chill rock band composed of Finn Wolfhard (or Mike from Stranger Things) and two other band members who are also around 15 years old. Regardless of whether Finn was the lead singer, Calipurnia still put on a really chill down-to-earth vibe and really had the crowd feeling it.
Later in the afternoon, San Holo played a sunset set on the EDM Island Stage. San Holo has essentially created his own subgenre of future bass mixed with chill, ambient vocals but also sometimes with heavier bass beats. During this set, he even got out on stage with his guitar and played along with some of his tracks. His record label, Bitbird, releases music by other artists like DROELOE, Taska Black, and Duskus and produces “good, emotional music regardless of genre.” San Holo played a high-energy set, jumping around back and forth across the stage, playing his guitar, and really engaging the crowd. He played crowd favorites like “One Thing” and “We Rise” but also dropped tons of new music and new collabs with other artists, including two new singles he released last week.
Listen to San Holo’s two new singles – “Worthy” and “Lift Me From the Ground” here:
After San Holo, the day wrapped up with sets from space mom REZZ, Tyler the Creator, and the Arctic Monkeys. The Arctic Monkeys closed out the headlining set on the main stage, and put on a lovely, suave British performance. At the back of the main stage was a water fountain that was lit up at night and synced to the music. So many people were playing around, running back and forth across the fountain as the water shot up from holes in the ground randomly. The water fountain was a huge hit, not only during the Arctic Monkeys set but all weekend long because of the ridiculous heat. The fountain was another smart move on Osheaga’s part- putting in a fun, interactive way to help people stay cool and safe during the hot weekend.
Check out more photos of Saturday at Osheaga by clicking below:
Sunday kicked off bright and early at 1pm with sets from LAF, Langston Francis, Lewis Capaldi, LA Bronze and Milu Milpop. From there the music shifted into an upbeat, funky vibe with LAUV and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Trombone Shorty is a vocalist and brass player from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA and was accompanied by backup singers, a drummer, guitarist, trombone player, saxophone player and trumpet player. This was one of the highlight sets from Sunday because of the interaction between the band members on stage. They joked around with each other, danced, started a breakdance circle, and really created a high-energy, funky, stand-out set.
From there, the music shifted into minimal house/techno sets from Gorgon City, Modeselektor, Kölsch and Chris Liebing on the EDM Island Stage for the rest of the day. Kölsch played an awesome techno set that really stuck out because of the positive energy being reciprocated from the crowd. While the techno vibes were pumping on the EDM stage, other killer sets were being performed by Post Malone, Børns, Tash Sultana, Franz Ferdinand, Blood Orange, and Florence + the Machine.
Florence just recently released her new album High as Hope. Osheaga was the first date in North America since Florence’s release of her critically acclaimed new album, which features songs like “Hunger,” “Big God,” and “Sky Full of Song.” Florence was the last set of the last day of the weekend but still managed to create an absolutely captivating performance that drew every single person in. Wearing a long, flowy white dress and no shoes, Florence really was an ethereal sight to see. With minimal LED and lighting displays, all of the focus was on Florence herself and her out-of-this-world voice. She created such an other-worldly, yet playful vibe on stage- running and back and forth across the stage, jumping around, and pointing out directly to fans. With the white background lighting, her white dress, her being barefoot, and her fluid dance movements, she looked like an angel. On top of all of that, her unreal singing voice is just the icing on the Florence cake.
Listen to Florence + the Machines’ new album High as Hope here:
Check out more photos of Sunday at Osheaga by clicking below:
Osheaga 2018 more than exceeded my expectations and is the biggest and best produced festival I have been to in Canada thus far. I’m excited to see the festival keep growing and improving over the coming years. Keep your eyes out for dates and information about Osheaga 2019 at their website.